It’s Okay to be a Little Playful

It’s Okay to be a Little Playful

parenting foundationsWhat does it mean to be playful? Why is it important? Why does it matter? 

Well, here’s the thing. You don’t have to be playful. If you don’t want to be playful, you don’t need to be playful. But when you add a little bit of being playful into your life, and especially into your parenting world, you will find that your children are a little bit more compliant and the overall mood is happier.

 

Yes, you read that correctly, being playful can add more compliance to your child’s reactions. 

Why does being playful have such an impact??  They’re having fun!

Now, does this mean that you need to sit down and play with your child all day long? No, it doesn’t. 

There’s a difference between being playful and playing. 

Playing is when you’re physically getting down and playing with toys, playing a game, and/or doing crafts. 

Playful is when you are being a little silly, being a little goofy, you make something you want your child to do into a game, and/or something fun for your child to do. 

Children between the ages of two and about eight often respond really well to playfulness.  

Older children may roll their eyes but they like it too. I am still playful at times with our 10-year-old. There is a time and a place for it. Heck, there is even a place for it with our 27-year-old.

Okay. So how are you playful? What do you do? 

There are so many things you can do! Here is a list of some simple things I do:

Use a silly voice

Run and hide from your child, then pop out

Peek-a-boo

Make silly faces

Making silly noises

Hop like a bunny or walk like a bear

Drop a little joke

 

Here is a great example of being playful in action:

 

When our youngest comes out of the school and he is super serious looking or has that look of defeat on his face, I will turn and run away. 🙂

 

He then starts running after me. He will ask what I am doing and I will tell him “I am running away from you”!  By this time, he’s laughing a little bit, he’s able to take life less seriously. And then we can actually talk about what’s going on. 

 

Another example is when our youngest was little (now I would not be able to move) I would ask him if he wants to use his feet or my feet to get to the bathroom. He usually choose my feet and then he would put his feet on mine. Then I would hold his hands and walk to the bathroom with his feet on top of mine.

Let’s face it there are many adults that can benefit from being a little playful. Sometimes it can be a lot of work for us, though. So take it with a grain of salt and do what you can. 

 

There’s a time and a place to be playful. There will be times when you need to be serious. 

 

Embrace being playful and bring a few extra laughs into your day!

 

Be the Parent You Want to Be,

Brenda

 

**Did you know that Parenting Support from Brenda McSween at Parenting Foundations is just a few clicks away? Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, I answer questions from parents via my membership website. Click here to learn more. Not interested in the membership, you can book a Mini Consult (1-hour call and 2 follow-up emails). Looking forward to speaking with you soon.

 

Temper Check

Temper Check

There is no better time than now to do a temper check…Say What??

No, I am not going to take your temperature or ask you to take it. I am however going to ask that you really pay attention to your temperament.

The way you handle change, sounds, smells and so much more can all be related to your temperament.

The same goes for your child.

A child’s temperament can be the same as yours or completely different.

Temperament is described by many people as the way we respond to things in our world.

There are 3 basic types of temperament that are commonly discussed. The types of temperament are as follows: easy-going, slow to warm, and active (sometimes labeled as difficult but let’s keep the label type positive).

With our youngest, he is very active at home. At school, he is slow-to-warm or easy-going. With his active at-home personality comes a great deal of reaction and emotion. We often give him lots of advance warning of things to come and when changes are happening it is important to have some of his creature comforts readily available.

With children that are slow-to-warm back to school or daycare can be a very tough transition. One proactive thing to do is to make sure you allow for a great deal of time during drop-off. If possible taking a few minutes to play in the playground after school will help as well.

Easy-going little ones often do not need a great deal of preparation and they just go with the flow easily that we may forget to do something that we have promised which will backfire after time.

If you and your little share the same type of temperament, you will understand what your child is going through and you may be experiencing the same things yourself.

If you and your child share a bit of a different temperament in certain situations you may find it hard to understand why your child is acting in the manner they are. This is the time to try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. Really think about what they could be experiencing. This allows you to respond in a way that can help your child and it will take the pressure off you to fix it. Sometimes we just need to sit with a person until they are able to cope.

This is a subject I am very passionate about helping parents understand! I strongly believe that once we understand what is actually occurring for our child we can be way more proactive in reducing the number of meltdowns or difficult behavior our children experience.

So is your child easy-going, slow to warm, or reactive??

If you require further support, feel free to book a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss how I can help.

 

All the best,

Brenda

Routines and Schedules

Routines and Schedules

It is times like this that I want to go back to my past self and give myself a high five!! The routines we put in place when our son was 3 years old or younger are still in place with some minor changes through the years and they are still working well 7 years later!! Bliss I tell you!

A routine is a series of things we do before or after an event. A schedule is based on set times certain events occur.

Schedules and Routines both have their place.

I find that set schedules do not work as well with infants but having a variety of routines in place does work really well.

We have a screen time schedule here which works like a charm! Our son watches a show at about 8 am, 11 am (when he is home), and 4 pm. We do have to be a bit flexible but we put in this place we would focus hugely on watching his programs. Once the set times were in place the constant asking for a show came to a complete stop. My response is “yes you can at __ time”.  After staying consistent with this for a while he really took to it.

I often have parents ask why their child is so well-behaved at daycare or school and not as much at home. The first thing is that children will unload their feelings at home where they feel safe. The second thing is that there is a great deal of structure with routines and schedules so the children know what to expect.

I often recommend that parents maintain similar schedules and routines at home.

You may find that you continue certain routines from your childhood. It is really cool how routines and schedules can really help children feel safe, secure, and be willing to do the steps without even realizing it.

I have to admit that our morning routine is my favorite.

Morning routine:

  1. Come in and give mom a hug
  2. Bathroom
  3. Snuggles with Mom and/or Dad
  4. Get Dressed
  5. Start watching You-Tube (Pause when breakfast is ready)
  6. Eat Breakfast
  7. Call Grandma (does not happen as often – he sleeps in!)
  8. Brush Teeth
  9. Put on socks
  10. Finishing watching You-Tube while getting the outdoor gear on
  11. Out the Door

It typically is very smooth and we have been doing a routine similar to this since he was 3!

There are a few things that you can do to help your child get familiar with a routine.

  1. Be consistent
  2. Use visuals (written list for older children and list using pictures for younger children)
  3. Use verbal reminders
  4. Use a timer to remind your child when they have to move to the next step

You can use routines throughout your day! Have fun fitting in the routines and do not forget to make them a little fun for your child as well!!

If you would like some help figuring out how routines and schedules can help your family, please feel free to book a free 15 minute consult to ask how I can help. You can book the free call by clicking on the following link https://calendly.com/brenda-mcsween/15min.

Below is the video I did and based this blog post on. Feel free to listen…​

Talking about hard topics

Talking about hard topics

 

With the recent events in Ukraine, I believe it is important to write this post.

Talking about hard subjects is difficult on a good day; however, when you are seeing reports that are happening in current times it is important that you talk to your child.

It is a natural reflex to not want to talk about it or to “hide it” from your child. The reality is that a child over the age of 5 will be getting information from peers, by listening to other conversations, in school, on the playground, etc…

I do agree that limiting your child’s exposure to the news and other forms of media on hard topics is a good idea. You cannot keep them completely unaware. The child’s parent/guardian is the best person to share hard subjects like war, death, shootings, and more,

So how do you do it??…

Step One:  Find out what your child already knows.

You can find out what your child already knows by asking them. Ask direct questions or make direct statements.

  • Have you heard about the war in Ukraine?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Tell me what you have heard.

Step Two: Find out how your child feels about the subject.

Ask your child what they think of the subject or how the subject makes them feel. Then take the time to listen to their thoughts. Try not to impose your thoughts initially. As the conversation develops it will be important that you let your child know your thoughts and feelings on the subject.

  • What are your thoughts on the war in Ukraine?
  • How do you feel about the war?

Step 3: Fill in the blanks together.

This is when you do research with your child about the subject. There are many child-friendly news sites and channels on the internet. Before you start going through the sites and sources for news please look at it alone first and then share it if you deem it appropriate.

Some sites to get child-friendly news are as follows:

The below video is a video I did and based this post on the information I shared in this video.

If you require further support feel free to book a free 15-minute call or book a mini consult to dive deeper into how to talk to your child about difficult topics.

 

All the best!

Brenda

 

Sleep: The Power of 15 minutes

Sleep: The Power of 15 minutes

I often find it incredible how a simple 15 minute time interval can make such a difference.

When we are teaching our young children how to sleep I find that people will move mountains, buy all the gadgets available, read all the books and not be aware of the power of a time block that will improve sleep immensely.

It can be really frustrating as a parent when a little one seems to be getting in the groove of sleeping and then bam, sleep has exited the building. Adding 15 minutes of being awake before each sleep can be an absolute game changer!

Yes, you read that correctly! Add 15 minutes of playtime, interaction time, or awake time before you offer sleep.

If your child has been sleeping okay and then things fall off the rails, simply add 15 minutes of awake time before you offer a nap or bedtime.

Falling off the rails usually means waking up several times a night, waking for a long period of time, waking at the crack of dawn, or fighting to go to sleep. Often when you add the 15 minutes of awake time your child gets back on track quite quickly.

You may find that you are adding 15 minutes of awake time every couple of weeks. That is quite normal!

Another way to use the 15-minute block of time is to only spend 15 minutes trying to get your child back to sleep after a short nap.

I often hear families that will keep trying to get their child back to sleep every 30 minutes or so after a short nap. This turns into an exercise of frustration for the child and parent.  After 15 minutes of trying to get your child back to sleep, stop and wait for the next period of time when your child is ready for sleep according to her desired wake time.

Do not underestimate the power of the 15-minute block, especially with your child’s sleep!

 

Happy Parenting and Sleeping,

Brenda