Our stories

“I have my boy back!”: Playgroup helps mum engage with her son

Our Playgroups for mums in custody across centres in the Greater Brisbane area are always buzzing, but lately, there’s been a significant increase in the number of children attending.

Our local team also supports families during visits, which have become busier, with many gratefully using our Activity Packs to make the visit child-friendly. Our team was particularly excited to receive some new Indigenous resources for children and said they can’t wait to see them used!

As always, supporting the mums in managing their children’s behaviour has been a focus. That’s where sensory activities are great, as they can help with emotional regulation.

Mum in custody Belinda and her son Teddy*, 3, recently moved into a new mums and bubs unit briefly while she waited to be sentenced, and the pair joined our Playgroup.

At their first Playgroup, Belinda was teary and shared that she was finding Teddy challenging and said that he was, in her view, misbehaving a lot.

Our team observed Teddy and noticed that he was being destructive and might need to be challenged and engaged more in his play.

With that in mind, Belinda and our team set about brainstorming activities that she could do with him back at the unit after Playgroup, with the more limited materials they have available there.

“I have my boy back!” she told our team when she saw him playing happily again.

While they did this, our team set out tubs with sensory activities, including sand, water, shells, leaves, glitter and cups, so that Teddy could explore and begin to use his creativity again.

“It worked, and he was immediately drawn to the objects and was so absorbed in tipping, stirring, shaking and floating that he didn’t notice when mum was talking to him!” said our team.

While Teddy played, our team gave Belinda ideas for activities she could do with him in their unit, including making paper planes, playing simple games like noughts and crosses, adding water to dirt and making mud pies, and using paper and pencils in a bath to play around with floating objects.

Children love to experiment, and our team reassured Belinda that given a few basic items, Teddy would get creative and test things out.

Belinda was so relieved to have some ideas to get them through the time they’d be at this different centre.

“I have my boy back!” she told our team when she saw him playing happily again.

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All children have a right to play. 

“I have my boy back!”: Playgroup helps mum engage with her son

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