Dr Peter Gray gives a powerful TED talk that will have you thinking.
Have a listen and tell me your response. Agree or disagree?
Do you feel stuck in habits or neighbourhoods where play isn't happening?
We have tried and tested all sorts of initiatives to create a more playful neighbourhood.
Home-schooling, nature play, neighbourhood gardens, markets, picnics, parties, movies, camps and play-overs... we have had a lot of fun getting to know our neighbours! It takes time and wont pay the mortgage, but the friendships and freedom our children have enjoyed has been priceless.
To be honest it wasn't an easy transition. The first thing to change was my head space. Cultivating bucket-loads of curiosity and playfulness - and letting go of a tidy house and the fear of being left behind in the career race. It hasn't just been the children who have benefitted.
"Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good." Lucia Capocchione
A free evening event for men expecting their first child
Meet up at a relaxing venue and a chat about the changes ahead
Event arranged by appointment for 3 or more men
Shared overnight care of infants after parental separation - An academic and social debate in stalemate
The controversy over this issue has a long history(1). The debate has escalated over the past decade with concerns over family law reforms, although there has been scant new evidence to be considered. Recently, media in the UK (Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent) and here in Australia (ABC, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald) have covered this topic. The media attention has been sparked by the controversial opinions of Penelope Leach – countered by Sheila Kitzinger and fathering advocacy groups. Journal publications addressing shared overnight care of young children (2-10) have been referred to in support of the case for and against shared care after separation.
It is generally agreed that the important issue here is what is best for the child – not parent rights (see my posts on the comparable issue of the increasing use of child care). The parenting role does not come with rights - it comes with responsibilities. The demand for parental responsibility is highest at a child’s time of greatest vulnerability - around birth and infancy. It is imperative that at this vulnerable time others uphold the rights of the infant.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
Whether we like it or not, when we became parents, we became leaders. Children cant help but take their lead from the older people around them. Neuroscientists have proven this at a cellular level detecting microscopic mirror neurons in a child's brain that soak up the messages we give them and use it to build their nerve pathways for the future. And society demonstrates it at a macro level; we cannot help but be affected by the culture in which we live. For parents this can be a sobering thought!
As parent we cannot not influence. Frustrating sometimes isn't it! The good news is that when we make mistakes, we can show our disappointment and demonstrate that we are sorry for our actions. Being sorry for mistakes is an essential lifeskill our children need to see modelled. And the sunny-side of parenting is that forgiveness and acceptance is something you can practice too. Children do it well!
As parents we are not only leaders; we are learners too. And some of the best life lessons are taught to us by our own children.
Here is an ancient text (source unknown) that has helped me to become a better parent.
Watch you thoughts, they become your words
For tips on children's behaviour, download a free toolkit titled
Behaviour 10 Top Tips
Theres a stack of books and programs on managing children's behaviour. They may all be good, each in their own way, but which technique to use? Count to 3, time-out, rewards? Arrgh! Its easy to feel overwhelmed.
Here is one big fat juicy strategy that cuts to the chase. Its my all-time favourite.
1. Model what you want to see.
Managing strong emotions, empathy, sharing, gentle touch, manners, humour, playfulness, and perseverance – these are some of the life skills we want to see our kids develop. They don’t happen in a vacuum. All children need to see these life skills modelled – they can’t grow something they haven’t seen, and wont see the value of the skill if they don’t experience the benefits. To make it an everyday behaviour, it needs to be everyday for the parents too. Social skills are learnt through the day-to-day experiences of family members rubbing up against one another in the home.
Naturally a high-energy kid might find it hard to use their voice or hands gently; or a child with vivid imagination may lose themself in play and forget to take turns with a toy. Each child is born with a unique temperament and talents that make some skills more challenging to develop than others – that’s diversity. It makes sense that each child will naturally express their skills with varying success, but all children need an example to follow.
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others,
it is the only means.” ~ Albert Einstein
For other tips on behaviour, download a free eBook titled
Behaviour 10 Top Tips
A taste of the international state of children and families
We have just returned from a couple of weeks of meetings and conferences in Germany, Netherlands and Scotland. This trip was primarily a chance for Dawson to present an aspect of his PhD project at two international gatherings: the International Congress on Mentalization Based Treatment and the World Infant Mental Health Congress (over 1600 participants!). Attending these conferences also gave us valuable learning from leading practitioners and researchers from around the globe.
During our travels we came across some wonderful nature playgrounds in Berlin with lots of Dads out playing with their children. We thoroughly enjoyed time together - knowing our children were in the safe and loving care of grandparents. Thanks team family!
Now back in Perth we are more eager than ever to provide support to families so children can have the best possible start to life.
Dawson & Sharon
We have a stand at the World's Biggest Playgroup Day. 10-1 on Wednesday at Whiteman Park. Do drop by and say hello if you're there!