By Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer, Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership
“Childhood trauma such as grief or domestic violence is heart-breaking and unless addressed properly, can lead to psychological problems, subsequent mental health issues which we know can be a contributory factor in young people taking the wrong path when they’re older.
Getting adults to open-up about their feelings is difficult enough but imagine how much more difficult it is when you are dealing with a small child, not yet fully conversive and/or mature enough to express their worries and concerns and name their emotions.
A friend swinging by
Enter Monkey Bob, a colourful, loveable fun character whose stories engage and entertain, and whose play materials and books gives young children the tools and confidence to express their emotions and feel comfortable enough to confidently share their experiences.
Thanks to funding from the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, practitioners who work with our youngest children can now use our simian friend to lend a helping hand.
Monkey’s already sorted one puzzle
Bob has already made a superb job by spearheading the Do You Feel What I Feel Drive? This is a resource whose simple messages, include:
It’s not ok for anyone to hurt or frighten you or anyone in your family.
It’s always ok to tell someone you trust if you’re worried or frightened.
It’s always ok to keep yourself safe if you’re afraid.
Our Early Years work at the Merseyside VRP also includes paying for a book on how to tell children about a tragic death in the family – O.L.L.Y – distributed to police family liaison officers. Then there is a new scheme called “Reading to the Bump.” This invites parents to share stories and songs with their unborn children, as research reveals that from 24-weeks they begin to hear sounds and voices from outside the body and this is something both parents (and any other family members) can be involved in.
When it comes to encouraging young children to share their feelings though, we reckon the Monkey will be “Bob” on!”