The Incredible Years. That's what we're living through right now, with our kids.
I've also just begun a parenting course of the same name.
With all my free time now that Scrag is in kindy, and knowing how my attention tends to wander unless focused, I thought it would do my kids good if their mum spent some time learning how to be a better parent.
What did I learn today?I learnt that I need to play.
Play Play Play.
Get down on the floor and engage. Take ten minutes to be young and silly again.
We learnt all the ways children benefit when we play with them (and by "play" they don't mean the grown-up takes over and does it for them; they mean, child-led play).
Our kids feel valued because we make the time to do something that matters to them.
We learn what goes on inside our child's head.
All kinds of other good things happen when we play with our children.
"Play helps to build a warm relationship and strong attachments between family members and to create a bank of positive feelings and experiences that can be drawn on in times of conflict. Through play, you can help your children solve problems, test out ideas and explore their imaginations. As well, playtime with adults encourages the development of vocabulary so that children can learn to communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs... Play is a time when you can respond to your children in ways that promote feelings of self-worth and competence..."
- from the book "The Incredible Years" by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD
The Incredible Years parenting course has been developed on a solid base of forty years of research by Dr Webster-Stratton. It is very interactive, lots of fun and really gets you thinking.
What are the things that prevent you from playing? we were asked.
I wrote: My boredom, interest in other things, busyness...
I'll admit it, playing wooden trains is not much fun for me once I've built the track.
Playing soccer Match Attacks is not my idea of a good time.
Playing hairdressers is slightly more appealing...
But it's not about me, is it?
We had to write down our memories of games we played as children.
Instantly I could recall my dad playing "the three little piggies" with me and my sister in the woods behind our house, when I was three. We would run and hide in the old shed while he (the Big Bad Wolf) huffed and puffed and pretended to blow our house down while we piggies squealed in terror and delight.
I remember dad being our playground. We slid down his back, had see-saws on his feet, swings in his cupped hands. Donkey rides, where all four of us would pile on and he would jiggle and bump until one by one we all fell off.
Is it surprising that I always felt close to my dad growing up?
He was fun. He played with us. He made us squeal and run and giggle and shriek.
|Me, my sisters and Dad, 1975|
Mr G is the one in our family that is a play genius. He can turn anything into fun.
Me, I am the sensible one. The one who sees trouble brewing in wrestling matches and who warns: "This will end in tears!"
I am good at reading stories and having deep-and-meaningfuls, but the playing? Not so much.
So my homework this week is to Play.
Ten minutes of child-directed play, with each of my kids.
I even have to record it down.
This will be a challenge for serious busy me, but I have a feeling it's gonna be fun.
What games do you remember playing as a child? How do you go with "child-directed play?" - is this a new concept to you or are you an old hand?