Our Baby and Toddler Online Community has been meeting together each month throughout October 2022 – March 2023. The group includes babies and toddlers aged 0–3 years living with CMN and their siblings. Our time together consists of singing, stories, and a themed craft.
This term we’ve had the privilege of welcoming Jackie, an experienced Early Years worker, who has kindly donated her time to facilitate our Baby & Toddler sessions. Jackie has led the singing every month, including songs that matched our monthly theme. Thank you, Jackie, for giving your time to volunteer in this way!
Each month siblings have joined our session alongside babies and toddlers with CMN. It’s been wonderful to see our siblings getting stuck into the activities and confidently singing and speaking within the group.
For most of the event, families prefer to stay on ‘mute’ as the slight delay on Zoom can be disorientating as we all try to sing along! We have also learnt that being on ‘mute’ can paint a romantic picture of what kind of morning our members are having… as you can imagine this age group are pretty noisy! There is a lot of movement within the group as children jump, climb, run, and dance in the comfort of their own home environment- often leaving parents left on alone on camera!
Alongside the noise and the movement, we get to know the personalities of our members who attend. We’ve had ‘up close’ faces showing off their CMN, notes being shown by siblings, proud crafting, and soles of feet pointed to the camera showing off their ‘spots.’ Our young members and siblings have really used this space creatively.
Having seen the success of our Baby and Toddler Online Community, we launched our Infant Online Community for 4–6-year-olds in December – we had a full screen of children attending this first session! Santa visited both groups for a Christmas extravaganza- with thanks to one of our Trustees Rob who put a lot of time and preparation into his role!
As well as giving our members the opportunity to meet peers, our online communities have also welcomed some special guests! Our families have thoroughly enjoyed meeting adult members who are a bit further along the journey of life with CMN, staff members who gave an insight into how the charity operates day-by-day, and trustees who shared wonderful stores of how support events have had such a positive impact on many lives over the years. We also welcomed ITV presenter, Charlotte Hawkins, who kindly read the children a storybook. Thanks to all our special guests who added to the depth and diversity of our programme!
The primary aim of our online communities is to build organic relationships amongst members who are in similar seasons in life! For the first 45 minutes of our hour-long event, we spend time getting to know each other through the fun activities planned. Then the final 15 minutes of each session, we dedicate to any CMN related questions or thoughts amongst the group. Our members glean from each other’s experience. We have found ourselves covering topics from surgery, itch, dry skin, treatments for CMN, Regional Gatherings, the CMN BIG Weekend, the Databank initiative and raising awareness within our local communities.
Over the past six months, our online communities have been a huge success, achieving far more than we could have ever imagined. Our hope is that meeting each other in this way will make it easier for our members to continue building relationships at our Regional Gatherings and BIG Weekend during the spring and summer months.
We look forward to seeing you online again in the Autumn. In the meantime, we hope to see you at one of our upcoming ‘In-Person’ events!
“Thank you so much and thank you for organising it. My daughter absolutely loved the session yesterday. She’s taken her love bug to school to tell her friends all about it.”
Mum of 4-year-old daughter with CMN.