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Suffolk Libraries reacts to loneliness research

In light of new research into loneliness amongst parents, Suffolk Libraries is highlighting the benefits of its Wordplay activities for young children and their families.

New research recently published by Coram Family and Childcare has found that over half (56%) of parents with children aged under five experience loneliness, with parents on lower incomes being particularly affected.

The research supports a recently published Impact Report by Suffolk Libraries into the outcomes of its activities for 0-5s, which stated:

"It is not uncommon for parents, particularly the primary caregiver (who is often the mother), to feel isolated in the first few years of their child’s life. This is because the child demands a lot of time and attention and caregivers often end up spending prolonged periods at home and alone with the child."

The Suffolk Libraries report looked at the benefits of several different library activities including two of its Wordplay sessions – Baby Bounce and Tot Rock - and how they can help tackle isolation amongst parents, in addition to the many positive outcomes for children:

"Caregivers attending Tot Rock and Baby Bounce reported that they appreciated the opportunity to get out of the house and meet other caregivers in a safe and friendly environment. This helps to reduce feelings of isolation, and the relationships with other caregivers that bloom gives individuals access to help and support. The sessions also provide a space where caregivers are able to share concerns and advice with one another which helps reduce anxiety relating to their own child’s development."

Wordplay activities for under-fives run in all the county’s libraries and are free to attend. We often receives great feedback from parents on the sessions, which show how essential they are to parents:

"Having somewhere to go and something to do is invaluable when you feel alone as a mother. The sessions are fun, lively and familiar."

"Free activities for babies and children are vital for parents as children cost so much money to raise. It means you can get out if the house and see friends or meet other parents so you feel less isolated. It is a good rainy day activity. My son loves the songs, actions and musical instruments. We learn new songs to sing at home."