Our Youth team at Kira House have just welcome a new baby into the world! But don’t worry, it’s not a real baby. Here’s the full story…
Research tells us that teenage mothers are more likely to be a lone parent, live in areas of greater disadvantage, smoke and have lower levels of education. Young parenthood can sometimes act to further entrench some of these problems and continue a cycle of disadvantage for both the young parent and their child. To help young people who come to our safe house, we decided to buy a ‘virtual baby’ which is designed to give a real life experience of what it’s like to have a baby.
The virtual baby will be used to provide a simulated parenting experience for young women who are considering pregnancy or who are pregnant. This requires the young woman to respond to the needs of an infant, as they would in reality. A computer inside the baby will record the young woman’s responses to the virtual baby, which can be examined at the end of the experience.
During the simulated experience, staff will educate the young woman about child development, parenting skills, pregnancy and maternal and child health. This increase in knowledge will provide young people with more confidence and the ability to access appropriate support and services. It will also provide young people with a parenting experience so that they can make a more informed decision about whether parenthood is for them.
One of the residents at Kira House who was asked about the idea said
A virtual baby is a good way to teach the girls that come in and out of Kira House, how to look after a child, and what changes when you become a mother. Like, you can’t go out as often as you would’ve. It also teaches you how to handle a baby. It will bring more responsibility into Kira House, having all the girls prepared and organised. For example, being more cautious of things on the floor so that the baby won’t pick it up. Also, it will prepare the girls for when a young mother actually comes in the house with her baby/babies, to acknowledge the communal areas and to be aware that a child could come into a communal area at any time.
Look out for more news and updates about how our young women get on with the baby simulation experience.