This post was inspired by a tweet I saw from The Best Start twitter account (@thebeststart) announcing their 2015 show in Halifax (The Shay Stadium) and I had not realised that it was a year since I went with H and given the impact it had on the last 12 months, I had to talk about it.
Rewind 12 months ago – H was 15 months old and we spent the weekend going for a walk to the park on a Saturday and then spending Sunday going somewhere. We didn’t have any particular plans and we didn’t go to any classes or groups or anything really as there is very little on a Saturday/Sunday for working parents. However, as a result of going to the show, we picked up a leaflet and saw that one of the exhibitors had a class on a Saturday relatively near – fast forward 12 months and H has come on so much as a result of the classes, she has got the best friend in the world and I have other ‘mum and dad’ friends to talk to and share the parenting experience and these classes are the highlight of the week.
I would not have got this if I hadn’t “plucked up the courage” to go to the Best Start Show. I use that phrase because going into an exhibition as a single dad, carrying a child is a bit unusual! There are either mums carrying/pushing children, mums/dads to be or mums and dads with children – which is what you would expect and so it feels a bit strange (NB – these are internally generated feelings, everyone was lovely there!). Anyway, part 1 of this post is to encourage everyone, regardless of circumstances, to go to this event (or similar) it might just be the best thing you ever did!
Part 2 is actually talking/explaining about the exhibition. There are about 20 stands in a banqueting suite, and apparently, there is a breakout area for specific talks although we never got to that stage, so it isn’t massive, but certainly not tiny. My advice would be the following:
- Listen to your child. This is much easier if they aren’t yet born!! You may find talking to a stall holder very interesting, but if your child wants feeding etc, you might be best to have a few minutes out.
- Don’t take a pram/pushchair if possible. The venue does get busy and unless you are an expert driver with the patience of a saint, please think about leaving it in the car. Obviously needs must, but think about it!
- Have a plan. Do you want to hear about weening, or take part in a demonstration class or have your childs photo taken etc? There are big queues for some things therefore discuss what you want before you go
- Talk!! The stallholders won’t bite! They obviously want to sell their products, but they are a wonderful resource to tap into, even if you are not specifically interested in their product
- Get leaflets. Tied into the one above, if you can’t talk to a stallholder because of a queue, get a leaflet. they can help you later on, when you get home and have time to digest it all
As I say, going to this event was a turning point for me and I hope that a few people have similar success stories from it going forward because it is a wonderful event and hopefully in the future it will go from strength to strength, even though I know in the next year or so, me and H will be too old for it!!!
For details of the event go to: http://thebeststart.co.uk/live/