Children’s centre volunteers offer one-to-one or group support with:
- BABES breastfeeding support group
- Under ones group
- Stay and play group for under fives
Qualified workers also offer one-to-one or group support with:
- preparing for a baby
- children’s development, including listening and communication
- playing with your child
- the emotional health of you or your child
- children’s behaviour
- feeding your child
- increasing your confidence to help you get a job
- domestic abuse (in partnership with Women’s Aid services)
"I'm really happy with the service received. My child developed better playing with other children, having the best chance to interact with others.”
We can give you information about other services and our groups are a great place to meet other parents and carers with young children. There are also lots of volunteering opportunities. To find out more please visit our volunteer page, or ask at your local children's centre.
Early access to support services, Antenatal Babes, supports families to understand their changing relationships, provide information on breastfeeding and feeding choices, increases knowledge on safe sleeping and preparation for becoming a parent.
The course is targeted to:
All parents-to-be from 28 weeks gestation
Key elements include:
- Norms of new-born behaviour.
- The importance of keeping baby close. Feeding cues.
- How breastfeeding works. Positioning and attachment. The importance of skin-to-skin contact.
- Benefits of breastfeeding. Hand expression. Milk storage.
- Caring for baby at night. Safe sleeping. Responsive (pace) feeding.
Virtual (If access to a computer or wifi is a barrier, individual needs will be considered).
BABES is a weekly group to support and maintain effective feeding including:
- Relevant themes and topics identified through consultation with service
- Communicating and connecting with
- Responding to baby’s needs and responsive
- Practical, social and emotional
As these groups are led by trained parent volunteers, they are open to all breastfeeding parents.
A weekly session for a minimum of 1 hour and maximum of 2 hours
This group focuses on building a positive relationship between parents/carers and their new baby. These groups are available to all parents with a baby from 0 to 6 months old.
It is designed to:
- Promote positive interactions between parent and child. Improving bonding and attachment
- Increase knowledge or early child development of their baby
- Promote play, stimulation and interaction of the parent and infant
- Promote safe sleep practice
- Identify the issues and concerns of the parent and provide support around this (directly or by referral on where appropriate)
- Provide new parents with an opportunity to meet others, to reduce isolation and build support networks
Length of session:
1.5 hour per week
The programme includes:
- What to expect - adjusting to parenthood
- Play and development 0-6 months
- Getting to know your baby
- Promoting bonding and attachment
- Safe sleep and caring for baby
- Early communication
These groups target parents/carers of babies age between 2 and 6 months old who need additional help.
Weaning groups are social networks and learning with a programme focusing on:
- Signs that your baby is ready to start weaning
- What time of the day is best to offer first solid foods
- How much should I feed my baby
- When to introduce cow’s milk
- When to introduce a cup
- Baby- led weaning
- New recipe ideas
- Comparison of shop bought versus homemade food, including looking at nutritional values
- The Eatwell guide
- Portion sizes
4 x 1-hour weekly sessions (three sessions cover weaning and one additional session Save a Baby’s Life, currently provided by the Royal Life Saving Society UK.
Time limited support group for parents-to-be and parents who have a child aged 0 to 5 years, where a parent is experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties. The group offers a safe environment to talk and gain support.
For parents and carers who are experiencing low mood, anxiety, finding being a parent difficult, struggling to cope, social isolation and/or loneliness.
- To help parents currently receiving or seeking support around their emotional wellbeing
- Reducing social isolation, building confidence, and encouraging support networks
- Help parent build their resilience and provide strategies for coping mechanisms
- Support for families to access community resources
- Exit plans: support to reintegrate into universal service or to access specialist services if needed.
Weekly or fortnightly sessions, depending on need, for 6 weeks
Length of session:
1 ½ - 2 hours
Dealing with a feeling would benefit any child with an identified emotional health and well-being need.
Children with an adverse childhood experience would benefit from this intervention. It can provide support to children who have experienced bereavement, children with low self-esteem and low self-confidence and anger management. However, this list is not exhaustive and can be made bespoke to support individual children’s needs.
The intervention is aimed at children aged 2 to 5 years of age
Key elements of the programme include:
- Recognise, acknowledge, and understand the difference between a range feelings, emotions, and behaviours
- Turn-taking and social skills development
- Develop own techniques to help regulate a range of feelings, emotions, and behaviours
- Building a child’s resilience
- For boys to learn and understand that it is ok to talk about their feelings from an early age
- Develop their self-awareness and identity
- Supports children to communicate to significant others how they are feeling
- Develop their own strategies to help with self-regulation and relaxation
- Increased self- confidence and self-esteem
- Encourage the child to show some understanding and empathy towards others
- To have fun in a safe, non-threatening environment where no child fails.
Duration: 6 sessions to be offered either weekly or fortnightly
Length of session: 1 ½ - 2 hours
Aimed at all parents and carers with babies from 8 weeks old and not yet crawling.
Babies need to be touched in order to thrive. Massage gives parents the opportunity for positive touch which helps with bonding and attachment and building those early relationships. Massage also encourages early communication from parents towards their babies through using nursery rhymes during massage. Baby massage is something parents do ‘with’ their babies, not ‘to’ their babies, and encourages parental awareness of their baby’s responses and needs.
The programme will give parents/carers the knowledge to practise massage safely with their babies. They will also learn how to understand their baby’s non-verbal cues, when it is the best time to massage, oils to use, how affects babies stress, how they deal with stress, and how babies self-calm.
Baby massage is a powerful form of communication that can strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child. Other benefits include:
- Relaxing, soothing and calming
- Increases and improves circulation
- Improves the general functioning of the immune system
- Reduces the discomfort of colic, wind or constipation
- Empowering for parents/carers
- Improves parents’ confidence in handling their babies
Baby massage has shown to improve a range of outcomes for parents and carers from low income groups and these families are actively targeted to engage in these programmes.
1 x 1.5-hour session a week for 5 weeks
To increase learners' understanding of the importance of leading a healthier lifestyle and to educate families different ways in which this can be achieved.
This course is particularly useful for families who want to improve children’s eating habits, creating healthy meals on a budget, families who require support / advice with healthy lifestyles or where families want to reduce the risk of obesity. This course is particularly useful for families on a low income.
The programme focuses on:
- Learning with a small healthy meal being prepared each week
- Eatwell guidance and portion sizes
- Sugar, salt & fat content in foods
- Cooking food safely (potential to complete food hygiene course)
- Shopping for value & food labelling
- Meal planning & budgeting
- Cooking a meal together and celebrate
Length of session:
2 hours per week (12-week guided hours)
Sleep workshops are for parents who have a child aged 1 to 4 with a poor sleep pattern caused by environmental factors. The workshops are for all children who find it difficult to sleep inclusive of children with additional needs.
The workshop aims to help parents:
- Establish why their child may have a sleep difficulty
- Develop an understanding of sleep cycles
- Have an understanding of what makes a good bedtime environment
- Plan a good bedtime routine
The course includes:
- The importance of sleep
- Sleep deprivation effects the whole family
- Sleep cycle
- Sleep diary
- Night wakening’s
- Checklist for good sleep
- Developing a good routine
- ‘Sleepy’ foods
5 weekly sessions – 1½ - 2 hours in length (4-10 parents per course)
To support parents with their potty-training/toileting journey. The workshop is based on the principles and advice provided by ERIC (The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity).
The workshop is for parents and carers with children 18 month to 3 years (recognising that it is more about the readiness for toilet training than it is about the age of the infant).
Key themes covered:
- Thinking about getting ready to toilet train
- Choosing the right time for your child
- Off We Go – the building blocks to beginning and establishing a routine
- Tuning into your child’s communication and understanding their cues
- Introduction of pants
- Praising and positive reinforcement
- What to do if it doesn’t go a planned
- Becoming dry at night time
One off workshop
Delivered by parents for parents, gives families peer to peer support and space to share the challenges of 'being a parent'.
The programme targets new parents and carers with children aged 2 to 5, for families who need additional/extra help with an emerging identified need for behaviour management and families who have received previous parenting programme intervention with little or no impact.
The 'being a parent' parenting programme will focus on:
- Session 1: Being a parent, getting to know each other, goals for parent and child ‘good enough’ vs ‘perfect’ parent, Taking care of ourselves
- Session 2: Feelings, remembering what it was like to be a child, Acknowledging and accepting feelings, expressing feelings
- Session 3: Child led play – special time
- Session 4: Valuing my child, avoiding ‘labels’ and describing behaviour, using descriptive praise to change behaviour
- Session 5: Understanding children’s behaviour, understanding children’s needs and their behaviour in response to needs, discipline, commands, consequences, rewards and star charts
- Session 6: Discipline strategies, understanding what we mean by boundaries, 'time out' and saying ‘no’, household rules
- Session 7: Listening, communication styles, helping a child when upset, ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions, reflective listening
- Session 8: Review and support, coping with stress, reviewing the course & knowing where to get support, ending and celebration
1 x 2 hours session a week for 8 weeks plus welcome week (crèche induction & course intro week)
Delivered by parents for parents, gives co-parenting couples peer to peer support and space to share the challenges of 'being parents together' and working as an effective co-parenting team.
The programme targets co-parents and carers with children aged 2 to 5, for families who need additional/extra help with emerging identified need for behaviour management and families who have received previous parenting programme intervention with little or no impact.
The 'being a parent together' parenting programme will focus on:
- Session 1: Being a co-parent, getting to know each other, goals for parents and child ‘good enough’ vs ‘perfect’ co-parents, Taking care of ourselves and each other
- Session 2: Recognising and expressing feelings, remembering what it was like to be a child, acknowledging and accepting feelings
- Session 3: Expressing feelings and child-led play – special time
- Session 4: Valuing our child, avoiding ‘labels’ and describing behaviour, using descriptive praise to change behaviour
- Session 5: Understanding children’s behaviour, understanding children’s needs and their behaviour in response to needs, household rules and consistency
- Session 6: Discipline strategies, giving clear instructions, encouraging and rewarding positive behaviour
- Session 7: Time out and saying ‘no’
- Session 8: Listening, communication styles, helping a child when upset, ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions, Reflective listening
- Session 9: Review and support, coping with stress, reviewing the course & knowing where to get support, ending and celebration
1 x 2 hours session a week for 9 weeks plus welcome week (crèche induction & course intro week)
Baby incredible years
This is aimed at parents who are pregnant or with a child aged up to 6 months. The key areas the course covers are:
- Parents' wellbeing
- Safety in the home
- Brain development
- Learning and development of your child
- Increasing confidence and awareness of bonding and attachment
- Responding to babies needs
The course is run with the baby and parent/carer together and is based on interactive learning which includes use of practical demonstrations and observing techniques on DVD. The size of the group is about 10 families per group. Each attendee is expected to complete a weekly journal and carry out home activities
Toddler and pre-school incredible years
Toddler incredible years and pre-school incredible years are aimed at parents/carers of children aged 1 to 4 years 11 months, where support with parenting is required and this has been identified as the appropriate programme for the parent/carer. The key areas the course covers are:
- Strengthening parent-child interactions and attachment, helping toddlers to feel loved and secure
- How to establish clear and predictable routines
- Setting clear limits for the child
- How to support parent and child to manage separations and reunions,
- Reducing harsh discipline and increasing positive behaviour management
- Promoting parents’ ability to support children’s social, emotional, and language development.
- Supporting age appropriate child development
- Encouraging school or preschool readiness
- Baby incredible years – 6 weeks (2 hours per week and parents are expected to attend all the sessions).
- Toddler incredible years - 8 weeks (2 hours per week and parents are expected to attend all the sessions) plus little learner induction week
- Pre-school incredible years - 12 weeks (2 hours per week and parents are expected to attend all the sessions) plus little learner induction week
The course is aimed at parents/carers with 2 to 4year-olds. Each programme will be delivered to a specific age group. It is an evidence-based behaviour programme based on behavioural principals and child development.
The programme targets parents and carers of children aged 3 years plus and at Level 2 to 4 on the pathway to provision, where this parenting group tool has been identified as the appropriate programme for the parent/carer.
This programme also supports families with children who have a diagnosis or are undergoing assessment with a consultant paediatrician for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which includes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or higher functioning autism or a learning disability.
The programme involves:
- Thinking straight
- Controlling behaviours
- Managing kids' testing and manipulation
- Encouraging good behaviour
- Strengthening your relationship with your children
- Sibling rivalry
- Out in public
123 Magic focuses on the following outcomes:
- Help children grow up to be self-disciplined
- Helps children manage own feelings as well as understanding and responding to the emotions of others.
- Strengthen parents and child
- Gives parents appropriate behaviour management strategies by reducing harsh discipline and increasing positive behaviour
- Supports establishing appropriate
- Gives tools for supporting challenging behaviour of children who are showing signs of or had a diagnosis of ASD or
- Gives parents the opportunity for peer support
5x 2-hour sessions plus little learner crèche welcome / induction week
This targeted intervention is for parents/carers and the children aged 18 months up to the age of 3. The focus of the programme is to promote stimulation and play for families who are concerned about their child’s development and families of 2 year olds who are not able to access funded childcare.
The following groups are also targeted for this programme:
- Children who lack play opportunities and stimulation
- Children’s whose physical gross motor and/or fine motor skills need additional support to aid development
- Children who need support with understanding boundaries and behaviour
- Children who need support to manage their emotions and to support their emotional health and well-being
- Children who need support to develop their personal and social skills
- Children who need support in developing their self-help skills
- Those who require support with toileting
- Children not accessing their 2-year funded childcare
The course includes:
- Improved physical development
- Improved speech, language and communication
- Family support - toileting, sleeping, behaviour etc
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Information, advice and guidance about 2 year funded early education places
- Information, advice and guidance on a range of child development topics / themes
- The importance of the home learning environment
- Low cost play and interaction ideas to do at home
1.5 hour weekly sessions (5 sessions with the children and parents and week 6 to evaluate)
If you would like to access the Children’s Centre Service please talk to your local Children’s Centre Service Team or complete the Request for Service form. Once you have completed the form, you can drop it off at your local Children’s Centre or email it to us using the email address for the district you live in.
You can use these email addresses to contact the relevant children’s centre service for all other queries about the service or call customer services who will direct you to the relevant team 0300 500 80 80.
- Ashfield: CC.Ashfield@nottscc.gov.uk
- Bassetlaw: CC.Bassetlaw@nottscc.gov.uk
- Broxtowe: CC.Broxtowe@nottscc.gov.uk
- Gedling: CC.Gedling@nottscc.gov.uk
- Mansfield: CC.Mansfield@nottscc.gov.uk
- Newark & Sherwood: CC.NewarkandSherwood@nottscc.gov.uk
- Rushcliffe: CC.Rushcliffe@nottscc.gov.uk
Additional help and support
Notts Help Yourself
Notts Help Yourself has a range of local information, including childcare, money advice and other support for families.
- Families information service: includes advice about preparing for a baby, breastfeeding, weaning, behaviour, child development, information for dads and much more.
- Childcare: includes information about funding for childcare places, eligibility for funded childcare, application processes, childcare provision across Nottinghamshire, including all Ofsted registered childminders, nurseries, pre-schools and schools.
- Things to do out and about: includes information on lots of activities, like community toddler groups.
- Work and volunteering: includes training, getting back to work, job opportunities, advice about benefits and childcare.