Find half term fun for Waltham Forest dads, support with breastfeeding and much more in our Best Start in Life newsletter

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Best start in life

Hello and welcome to February’s edition of the Best Start in Life newsletter.

We’re gearing up for half term with plenty of activities across the borough from singing to play sessions.

This year, we’ve created a space especially for fathers, father figures, male carers and guardians where they can spend time with their children under 5 years old and share their experiences with other dads in Waltham Forest.

We know ‘father’ might look very different from family to family, so we’re passionate about creating an inclusive and accessible space for our male carers this year.

Check out all the fun activities taking place at the YMCA in Walthamstow, specifically chosen for dads and their children, such as an afternoon learning about snakes, snails and other creepy crawlies, or a magic workshop to learn about science and magic.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of you during this half-term and hope you’ll enjoy this newsletter.


Cllr Alistair Strathern
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People

Supporting Black & Brown mothers with breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Week 2018

Maternal and infant mortality rates amongst women of colour are higher than other groups in the UK.

If you're struggling with breastfeeding, support for parents and families, as well as advice and information on breast, mixed and bottle feeding and breastfeeding techniques are available.

For support on infant feeding contact HENRY: 0207 961 9073 

Watch our informative video


DrinkCoach promotional asset

Everyday family things can be impacted by alcohol misuse.

Many parents are motivated to make changes when they consider the wider impact of alcohol on their family life.

Drinkcoach is a free, confidential online self-assessment quiz to help Waltham Forest adults understand alcohol units and help you cut down your drinking for a healthier lifestyle.

After completing the quiz, you can access free video support using the code WFPROMO

Take the quiz

Protect your child from Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR)


Throughout early February, the NHS will be sending out texts to all parents/guardians of children aged 12 months to 6 years who have not received their first or second dose of the MMR vaccine to remind them book their child’s vaccine appointment.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine protect children against Measles, Mumps & Rubella for the rest of their life. These diseases are very serious and spread very easily between children who have not been vaccinated.

If you receive a text or you do not think your child is up-to-date with their MMR vaccinations, contact your child’s GP to book an appointment.

MMR information

Worried about vaccinating your child? Information is available to help you make an informed choice.

MMR vaccine safety information

Building communication in everyday activities

Washing Machine

Routine activities you do every day can offer great opportunities to build communication with your little one. Let’s explore an example of how you can increase your chat with each other doing the things you’d be doing anyway, such as the Laundry

  • Let your child get involved e.g. by putting things in the machine or taking them out
  • Give them a chance to show what is interesting and name the clothes
  • Use action and describing words too like ‘open’ ‘in’ ‘close’ ‘finished’ ‘wet’
  • Don’t forget to leave pauses in your talk to let your child have a go at making a sound, gesture or saying a word
  • Repeat back what they’ve said to show you’ve heard and give them a clear model of their target words
  • Add extra words to what they say e.g. “socks” “yes, Mummy’s socks!”

Laundry time video on BBC

February half term at Better


Did you know during the school holidays Waltham Forest residents under the age of 18 can access free swimming?

This half-term, come along to one of our leisure centre for plenty of fun.

From swimming to tennis, from climbing to fitness workouts, there are many ways to get involved. And you can even choose to unwind in our spa. 

Half-term activities at Better

Do you need help this winter? Cost of living support available at

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