Monkey Wellbeing

As most of you know little J spends most of his time in and out of hospitals and he has done since he was born. Whether its attending appointments or visiting specialists, it sometimes feels like a second home. He has already had one 'failed' operation to try and correct his toe and will be due another in the next few months. I am hoping by the time he is older all these appointments will have stopped and he wont be able to remember just how much time he spent see doctors and nurses. The one thing that does upset me is just how many children you see around the hospital. Some just with cuts and bruises but others who look really sick and look like they have been in there for a while. Its so sad and it must be very scary for a child to be in hospital, especially if its their first time. Lots of machines, gadgets and bleeping noises. I recently came across Monkey Wellbeing and I just fell in love with the idea and asked Helen if she would write a post for me, explaining all about Monkey Wellbeing so that I could share it with my readers.

I’m very pleased to have been asked to guest post by Michelle (Mummy 2 Monkeys) to tell you all a bit about a new member of our family.

 ‘Monkey’ started out as a friend for my own little girl Josephine, when she required a serious operation to her lungs at 18 months old. As a parent this was a very traumatic time and I wanted to help Josephine understand what was going to happen. 

 We found there was very little out there in the way of helpful explanatory information appropriate for such a young child, so, I wrote a realistic storybook called ‘Monkey Goes to Hospital’ using photos of the hospital to show Josephine who she would meet and what she might see and hear along the way.

 We prepared Josephine as best we could with role play, adoctor’s kit and my handwritten story. 

The doctors at the hospital treating Josephine were amazed how well she coped with the procedure, and how well she recovered afterwards. They were very impressed with the storybook and asked if we could produce more of the books for other children visiting the hospital.

My husband enlisted our friend Alex and they walked 100 miles to raise money to produce 10,000 copies. Another friend then helped design the layout of the story book and there we have it – an edited version of the first book was born - “Monkey has an Operation” was ready to help other children like Josephine.

 Monkey has just grown and grown and grown; he now has a whole range of resources called ‘Monkey Wellbeing’ which includes storybooks, a puppet and activities to help parents explain difficult topics to their young children.

Upcoming storybooks cover issues such as bereavement, emotional health and wellbeing and when relatives go to hospital.  Monkey can walk hand in hand with children through their life experiences to explain things in a realistic and understandable way, and ultimately helping them through, support and guidance to parents as well as their little ones.

 Some of our achievements to date include; Monkey's NHS Explorer primary school resource pack (Monkeys Guide to Healthy Living and NHS Services) being produced and sent to every primary and special school in England, coming runner up at the 2012 PENNA (Patient Experience National Network Awards) awards with this resource pack, and having 5 hospitals now either using or piloting the Monkey resources within their paediatric wards, in preoperative packs or in the Emergency Department.

 I’ve had the opportunity to work with some unbelievably fantastic people along the way and I’m just so glad Monkey is now helping so many children around the country. It is wonderful that something so positive has come out of something that was so scary and negative.

 If you are interested in finding any further information about Monkey and the resources please visit

Monkey’s Mum

I am hoping that little J will benefit from Monkey Wellbeing next time we visit the hospital and I will continue to use then on our many visits in the future.

Just want to finish by saying a big thanks to Helen for writing such a lovely post.

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