Posted November 17, 2013
Peter Gray, an evolutionary psychologist tells parents that "Play is a powerul way to impart social skills." He further contends that the negative emotions like anger and fear are mastered during play. Gray believes that during play your child feels strong and powerful, whereas in some adult-directed situations, your child may feel less competent, not being able to make her own decisions.
I've mentioned in previous blogs the importance of being sure your child has time to daydream. "Do nothing" days, I called them. But Lisa, a mom of a 3 year old tells me that when she tries to reserve time for her child play independently, her daughter just keeps going to the door, wanting us to "go!"
Lisa, does go out every day, sometimes several times a day and at her daughter's command, to keep her daugter from being bored or whiny. She was startled to hear me say that she may be inadvertently 'training' her child to have high expectations of constant outings. It is ideal for a child to have regular alone time each day to keep up the instinctive interest in play and and become skilled at entertaining herself. If so-called boredom does set in (don't watch for it), that will be her catalist to first try to move mom into action, but when that doesn't work, to finally resort to finding something good to do...play.
Does Lisa have to stay home every day to give her daughter enough free play to develop well? Of course not. What I suggest is that parents reserve a part of every day as "playtime for you." Extract yourself from the role of playmate and ignore pleas of boredom.
Is your child good at playing by him/herself? Did that come naturally or have you had to work on it. Please make your comments at http://www.facebook.com/raymondparentingnews.com Tell us how you did it!
Posted May 1, 2013
Lately, the weather in Calgary finally feels like spring. I've heard from many parents who can't wait to send child outside to play, for a change. Knowing what we do about temperament differences we can predict that some kids will probably dash out and not look back. Others, however, may not remember last summer and may need to be re-introduced to your yard. Going out with your child will help speed this process along. Greta P. gave me this idea as she recalled last summer when her three year old was afraid of birds, spiders and even ants! Read on to see how Greta tackled the problem:
"We walked hand in hand out into the yard on the first sunny day. The snow was almost melted and we looked for grass (none) or sticks (a few), plus we found some rocks. We toured the borders and I commented that this was where he kept his yellow truck last year. We went into the garage and found his yellow, rusty truck. Once we were in the garage he spotted a few other things that looked interesting like the rake, the hose and balls. I told him we can take the balls out but the rake and hose have to wait until the snow is all gone. I asked him if we should check every day to see if the snow is melting. He agreed, of course, and now we have a new ritual of going out right after lunch to measure the snow. Slowly, we'll investigate green things growing, count the ants, give the spiders a new home and look for bird's nests. I'm hoping that in a month or less, my son will be comfortable heading outside alone, on his own investigations. Can't wait!" (Thank you, Greta.)
Advice on Choosing a Preschool
Childcare, Nannies, Choosing a Dayhome
Stay at Home Moms
Baby Prefers Mom/Dad
Highly Sensitive Child
Anger, Temper Tantrums, Throwing Toys
Breastfeeding and Sleep
Twins, Twin Sleep, Twins fighting
Sibling Fights, Sibling Relationships
Two-year Old Behaviors
Crying it Out
Thumbs and Pacifiers
Managing Infant and Older Child
Prep for 2nd Baby
Time-Out, Time In, Naughty Matt
Toilet Learning and Training, Constipation
Sassy Talk, Talking Back
Aggression, Biting, Pushing
Helping Your Child to Play Independently
Sleep after Illness or Travel
Filed under: Play
Posted November 26, 2012
I learned this weekend that Grandview Elementary school in Vancouver and Donnan Park in Edmonton both have natural playgrounds. Similar projects by the same Canadian company (Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds) which is based in Dundas, Ontario are underway in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton.
In the above cities these creators have ditched swing sets, slides, monkey bars and jungle gyms for boulders, rolling topography (grassy hills), logs, stumps, pathways, large trees and bushes. This sounds like where I used to play as a child! The idea is to have a space where how to play is not predetermined. The children use their imaginations to lead them. And, playgrounds such as these tend to alter the way kids relate to each other. No arguments over who is taking too long to climb up the slide or how to use equipment correctly. Every child in this playground can find their comfort level.
An even more important discovery has been that parents do not hover as closely, in these playgrounds, in their effort to be sure their child doesn't fall or miss a step on a ladder. This means children are free to design for themselves what risks they feel ready to take. They can easily make their play more challenging any time they wish, without hearing "be careful!" all the time.
Now, how does playing in a natural playground protect a child from bullying? By building physical confidence in your child at a very young age. The more age-appropriate risks a child is allowed to take in early childhood, the better knowledge she has of what her body can do. With this kind of confidence built in, she or he is less likely to send "I'm a victim" messages to other kids once she is in school.
In fact, do you know where your child's first natural playground is? On your couch! Universally, toddlers want to climb up on your couch and jump off of the arms. Universally, parents try to prevent them from doing this for fear of injury. In my Setting Healthy Limits seminar, I advise parents to cover the hardwood with something soft and then step back and let your toddler experiment with this age-appropriate risk-taking. Yes, there will be tumbles and tears to which you should try very hard not to overreact. But you'll watch your child's confidence grow every time they get back up and try it again. This is a very "natural" way for toddlers too play.
December 4 Prenatal Postnatal Class for Savvy Parents is postponed to the January 8th date. Click here to register for January 8, 2013
Toilet Learning the Easy Way will still be held on December 11, 2012. Click here to register. (Will be offered next on February 19 2013)
Telephone counseling appointments with Kitty are available every week up until December 18. NEW! You may now book 30-minute appointments with Kitty. These are useful for follow-up issues after attending a seminar or having a regular phone appointment. As well, a 6:00 PM Wednesday evening appointment is posted to allow parents to get home from work. To see this week's openings click here.
Filed under: Play
Posted November 15, 2012
I often speak with parents who are stressed over their feelings of fragility about their baby who is trying to walk or climb on the couch and might fall. A mother recently admitted she "can't bear it" when her 7 month old gets up on the couch and teeters at the edge. Another parent, a dad, has bought every safety gadget he could find, like corner pads for the coffee table, drawer stoppers and pinch protectors. "I don't want anything to happen!" he said.
No parent does, but how far should we go to protect an exploring baby from benign bumps and bruises? At what point will we be interfering with that baby's growing ability to judge distances and tell where the edges are?
You have become a parent at a moment in time which is unprecedented in it's marketing of child safety items and parental responsibiity for not allowing your baby to tumble or cry. The idea that a baby needs to explore, take little chances and become more resilient with each try - causes shudders.
In my effort to help you relax and trust your baby, I would like you to watch the following videos, taken during a playgroup at a marvelous parent education program designed by Magna Gerber in Pasadena called Resources for Infant Educarers. I was fortunate to be able to visit her program as an observer in 1983.
Here is the first one. Be forwarned, you may get the jitters. Note that the 'table' is just a few inches off the floor. Clever idea!
Sometimes when we are not intending to interfere...we do so anyway, primarily because we are 1). worried about our child's safety 2. feeling sorry for our baby or 3. worrying what other people will think. Next time you are observing your baby or toddler at play, try really hard to stay where you are and avoid the panicked intake of breath! as your child takes a mild tumble. Wait and see if you are needed, and if you are, give your support with the least fanfare possible.
Thank you to Janet Landsbury for these videos from her wonderful blog.
Also, check out http://www.facebook.com/raymondparentingnews
KITTY'S BLOG IN YOUR EMAIL INBOX
Our Facebook Page