Back in October 2015 I did some consulting work for Helen Maier and Sally-Anne Donaldson on their Creative Homes project.
This is a wonderful initiative to bring creativity into some of the poorer homes in London – in a bid to ease household tension through playful routines. Helen visits toddlers at home, in character, and brings with her some creative activities to share. Then she talks to the parents about what’s causing stress in their relationships with their kids and introduces ways to make routine tasks more fun for everyone.
Helen does a lot of work with local authorities and housing projects. These children don’t have a lot of creative space in their homes so the colour and character brought about by a visit from Helen and the team makes a vivid and lasting impression.
She tackles everything from cleaning teeth, to getting dressed for pre-school, to… toilet training! And that’s where I was able to get involved.
When I spoke to Helen, ‘Sam The Sailor’ was already making visits to local toddlers. She arrived in costume with Polly The Parrot puppet squawking away and searched for Toilet Island in the child’s house. The event was focussed around the child – making them feel comfortable in the bathroom and keen to go there to find the potty.
One of the things I suggested, was addressing the parents’ worries at the same time. To ease the stress that parents feel when potty training, by modelling a relaxed but practical attitude to accidents and cleaning up. Now The Toilet Sailor’s visit shows parents and children how to react when things don’t go without a hitch.
Helen says: “Your suggestion to include Polly the Parrot having an accident has been really great! All the children love scrubbing the deck to clean up after her.”
The Toilet Sailor is already having a positive impact in the homes she visits, and just looking at the photos on Helen’s blog brings back how much fun it was to see her in action! She ran through her script with me to show me how she could incorporate my ideas and the experience was thoroughly engaging (the blog takes you through a visit, so you do have a look if you want to see how she uses songs and modelling to win over kids and adults alike).
I’ve never had any dramatic leanings, so to see Helen transform from ‘normal person’ into a delightfully amusing sailor with a hilarious parrot puppet was a real treat. I can see why she gets such a great response from the families she visits.
Head over to the Creative Homes website to learn more about their services.
Happy Pottying, peeps!
– Born Ready Jenn.