Monthly Archives: April 2020

Two top tips for building children’s independence

Listen to Episode 8 here

In this episode we discuss two important principles for helping children develop independence – allowing them to solve problems for themselves and giving them enough time as to not rush or hurry the children through the process.

https://youtu.be/d2YgOZSiNGo

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team.  Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Community

Value bombs and tweetables:

– If I’m being really honest, I didn’t really create enough space and time for them to properly experiment at their own pace and, and the boys absolutely love experimenting, you know all children do – Nicole

– Sometimes we think it’s just easier and quicker for us to do it. But actually, children need the opportunity to problem solve and to be creative – Sophia

– If you think you respect your children’s ability to solve problems, try the challenge of sitting on your hands while they find the end of the Sellotape roll and wrap a present without coming to the rescue and helping them do it! – Nicole

– It goes back to feeling uncomfortable with sitting with our children’s difficult feelings. It makes us feel like quite squirmy and a bit weird! See how long you can last not jumping to the rescue – Sophia

– We can be like David Attenborough, on a nature show, observing the children and just being curious about what is their pace? How do they operate? How much time do they need to get things done when you allow them to distance themselves? – Sophia

– Once I discovered basically how long each my boys needed for certain tasks in the morning, (like shoes and coats are an incredible 15 minute activity at our front door!) and letting them take the lead and adjust all the little things.. made a huge difference to the happy calm flow of the day – Nicole

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Shownotes

Sophia 

Hey, it’s Sophia, and it’s Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast, Growing Up Happy. Today’s podcast is all about the fourth and fifth principles of Treasure Time, which are respecting our children’s ability to solve problems, and not rushing or hurrying the child. They’re really intertwined because it is all around just giving children the space to work things out for themselves, which is really, really important. It can be so tempting for us as adults to take away the pain of seeing a child struggling with a problem, whatever that problem might be, whether it’s that they can’t unzip their coat, or they can’t get the lid off the playdough. Sometimes we can feel it’s quicker and easier and less painful for us just to do ourselves. This is a really good test for our patience when we can start thinking about how to allow children to solve their own problems and also giving them the time and space to do it. Nicole, how do you find this, do you find it easy or hard to do?

Nicole 

I think the whole topic is really, really interesting it’s sort of children’s ability to solve problems. It’s all part of creativity isn’t it. So this whole, letting them experiment, take risks, make some mistakes, and basically giving something a go and figuring it out for themselves. So, you know, creativity for us is a big part of who we are as a family. And I really believe that all individuals are creative, they just have to let it bubble to the surface. So, you know, if you kind of asked me do respects, you know, children’s ability to solve problems and, and I’d say absolutely I do, do I find it easy to do or hard, I find it really hard, actually hard or harder than I thought. So it turns out when I think about a question, I’d say I didn’t actually do it as often as I thought I did, maybe so I’d like to think that we’re very creative and I’d give all those opportunities but what tends to happen with me Is that my kind of nurturing motherly instinct to take care of them you know, that head of household rule of nurturing kicks in and overrides it. So I’d watch them struggle with whatever it was, you know, you’d examples of great you know, pouring out milk into their cereal, things that would be great for them to learn and are all little parts of becoming independent and growing up and I’d be really fairly quick to offer help to them. So you know, rescuing them for from like struggling or sometimes rescuing them from making a mess so that’s just you know, my own not wanting to have to take you do up half the milk carton all over the kitchen table type thing, but not realising, I suppose that they didn’t really need this help a lot of the time, and maybe even most of the time. So probably, if I’m being really really honest, I didn’t really create enough space and time for them to properly experiment at their own pace and, and the boys absolutely love experimenting, you know all children do, it’s so much fun to discover, you know, if I do x, this y happens wow, you know, and I’ve made that happen. So it’s kind of robbing them a little bit of that sense of achievement.

Sophia 

Yeah, I think the examples that you gave are really good. And I suppose there is like a time and a space for allowing them to experiment and play is a brilliant time and space for allowing them to do that. But maybe in the morning, when you’re trying to get ready for school and they’re pouring milk all over the kitchen table and the floor, maybe that’s not the best time

Nicole 

Exactly

Sophia 

Right? Just to save everybody the stress but if they’re in a place scenario, and they’re playing that with water and a bowl, then and they’re outside then absolutely, they’ve got the opportunity to learn how to do that. And but it is so it’s really easy for us to jump to help, we can to default into our habits and our adult timekeeping as well, without asking ourselves, is it really important that things are done perfectly? And can we let children learn for now? So there’s some good questions that you can ask yourself. And sometimes we think it’s just easier and quicker for us to do it. But actually, children need the opportunity to problem solve and to be creative.

Nicole 

Yeah, I’ve definitely seen this with my boys. And it sort of worked for me that they think, for example, I suppose, is that you know, if you think you respect your children’s ability to solve problems, try the challenge of sitting on your hands while they find the end of the Sellotape roll and wrap a present without coming to the rescue and helping them do it. So for me, the whole sellotape gate moment was when Callum literally disappeared almost in a sticky old mess. And that for me was the turning point, the moment I realised how Much I jump in and fix it for him, and the moment really that I realised how much I didn’t let them solve their own problems.

Sophia 

it can be really frustrating to watch and it goes back to feeling uncomfortable with sitting with our children’s difficult feelings. It makes us feel like quite squirmy and a bit weird. And that’s something that I recommend to parents is just to notice, when you would automatically do it and see how long you can last not jumping to the rescue. How long can you sit on your hands and watch your child work out for themselves?

Nicole 

Oh in Treasure Time I’ve definitely managed to extend that for myself sitting on hands. It’s getting longer and longer. And that’s the beauty of practicing something. So Sophia, how do you think we as parents strike the balance of see helping our children and letting them solve their own problems?

Sophia 

And I think you gave a really good example earlier, when you’re Talking about, let’s say the breakfast bowl at breakfast time and they want to pour the milk, there is really a boundary that you could put there, you can help the child do it so that they’re learning but not allowing them to do it all for themselves so that they’re going to make a big mess, which ultimately is going to cause more stress for you and for them, because it’s not really setting them up for success, either. You know, if they’re going to make a lot of mess. For example, I think ask yourself a couple of questions. If a child wants to solve a problem for themselves, first of all, is it time sensitive? If the answer is yes, so let’s say we’re getting ready to go to school, then definitely help them out. But the second question is if you have time to let the child work out for themselves, and it’s not going to cause you extra stress, then I think you allow them the space to do it for themselves because they do need to learn. As we said it is all about them, developing them sense of independence. We might feel a little bit mean not jumping to a rescue immediately but what we’ve got to recognize is that we’re helping them to work out how to do it for themselves when we aren’t there.

Nicole 

Yeah, it can be hard not to jump in and help solve totally, totally get that. For our listeners, what does what does respecting the children’s ability to solve problems look like in practice?

Sophia 

Well, it looks like us literally sitting on our hands, not literally, you can literally sit on your hands. And it really, really difficult sitting on our hands, and just reflecting back the child’s feelings. So you can say things like,” it’s really tricky,” or “you’re trying so hard to work this out”. And what we just have to do is be very mindful, to keep our own difficult emotions in check and not let them override the child’s opportunity to learn. And now this leads us on really nicely actually to giving the child enough space and time to do things for themselves. So sometimes it can be frustrating for us to see the child struggle, as we’ve already said, or that it’s taking a long time to get something done. And sometimes what we can do is end up rushing children when they are trying to learn something new, Nicole, what’s your take on this one?

Nicole 

Yeah, don’t rush your child just sounds so simple and incredibly obvious, and yet surprisingly difficult to actually do in practice. So when I think back to when my boys were babies and being on maternity leave, I recall very vividly it taking till almost like 11am to get ready, you know, and out the house some days. And I think Whoa, what did we manage to do today except absolute basics, eat, play, nap, get ready, repeat. It was actually a mission to do all of these basic things. And we moved at the pace of the baby. You know, Callum and Harrison dictated the pace especially Callum, you know, being firstborn, you move at the baby’s pace and that is very slow and relaxed and not relaxed for the parents obviously, but it’s a slow pace, then life and other commitments start to creep back into this little haven you’ve got during that same mat leave period and as they’re growing up, and they go through all the stages, and then I’d say that’s kind of it feels like there’s this massive tug of war going on massive big game a tug of war between what need, could or should get done say, all those things, versus the piece of your curious little adventure you know, as they explore the world from the toddler stage right the way through to teenagers and as they get, you know, experimental in different ways in different settings. Ultimately, it really feels like it’s their own timetable more often than not versus ours as a parent. That seems to me to be the cause of the main tensions that arise.

Sophia 

Yeah, so it’s not surprising, really, you can’t rush a baby to do things as they can’t do anything for themselves.

Nicole 

Yeah.

Sophia

So you, as you say, you have to take it as the pace at the pace of the baby. But it’s like, as soon as they start to be able to do things for themselves, we can rush them through whilst they’re still learning without taking the opportunity to acknowledge that their own timetable is actually about them, learning things and playing and developing. And sometimes it can feel like our time timetable is more important because we’ve got more pressures, I guess, time pressures, lots of things to do and get done.

Nicole 

Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, how many times have we as parents heard older relatives or friends with children who are much older than ever, say things tell us like all “you enjoy these days slow down, soak it all up. don’t worry about keeping the house in order” or whatever you know just enjoy your little one. And it is totally spend advice and on one hand it’s not surprised then as you say that there was you know fondest happiest memories are those lazy days you can can’t see me but I’m doing the lazy and those inverted commas as, those days are just aren’t a thing one should appear Don’t be lazy anymore. Or relaxing sitting down but you get my drift. It’s those rare days Should I see and like you know, romanticizing the dewy spring, warm summer, colorful autumn or that crisp winter, where there just is no agenda except family time with your children. And these often bring up such lovely lovely emotions for this as well. Not trying to be lots to many. We’re just really present and focused and enjoy in the moment. We’re not rushing to get a list of activities longer than my arm done. And we’re just often that been together and it feels really, really good.

Sophia 

I think this is kind of magical time when we can just be together in which we can learn the pace of our children. We can be like David Attenborough, on a nature show, observing the children and just being curious about what is their pace? How do they operate? How much time do they need to get things done when you allow them to distance themselves? And then you can factor that time in once you know the way your child operates, you can give them a little bit more time and space. So our job as parents is to create these containers of time that children have to get things done. by managing the schedule as boring as that sounds. If we can just set up the correct amount of time and space for our children, then we give them a real opportunity to learn and develop.

Nicole 

Yeah, I absolutely love the David Attenborough because sometimes I think mine are wild, but it’s really good advice listening to that because some of those moments I would say are the good that’s coming out of this awful situation we’re all in together with lockdown you know, as some people aren’t able to enjoy more family time they’re not doing you know, to our commutes and the road for things like eating meals together you know, breakfast lunch and dinner whereas they maybe only managed to do that at the weekends or they may be only managed to do one of those things during the week and bedtime stories where both parents or mum or dad is there to be to be really focused and not having to have done 100 other things in a commute. So it’s it does through up the situation we’re going through now where it feels like you know, the whole world has been paused literally throws up a big contrast to the lives we lead these days that you know, it’s very, very busy over scheduled and full on. Living like this well, it’s simply hard not to rush or hurry your children in that situation. And it happens as little would get done otherwise, right and if you’re trying to have a very, very busy overpacked schedule so I think your point of actually allocating the right amount of time and container of time for the child for your child is actually an incredibly obvious statement but something sometimes is a basic that certainly our thing difficult to do sometimes. So it may be just doesn’t get on the list. So it’s really good to bring it up and think about that. It’s probably less relevant right now as we’re homeschooling but I don’t know where parents have it. Doesn’t get you know struggled to get everyone up fed dressed teeth brushed out the door in time without a little fluster here or there. Everybody can some days let’s face it complete chaos you know and I’ll be really honest with you listening completely fessing up here. I used to resort to shouting and yelling pretty much every morning in a bid to get out the door and get to school on time. Like I honestly didn’t think there was another way to get a host and I tried to be patient. You know, I tried that really hard, but I didn’t manage it. And in fact, I think this was the point that got you and me talking Sophia right back when we first met about there being another way a couple of years ago. You literally sat right in my kitchen table and we were having a meeting for the clear sky charity. And me thinking Sophia is telling me there’s another way really, pretty much unlikely I don’t think so. She hasn’t seen my two in the morning! But I was desperately wishing and wanting to believe Sophia, and thinking yeah, maybe there is, maybe there is, I’m going to get curious with Sophia and let’s see where this takes us and you were right Sophia and I’m so I’m so glad that we experimented and you know started thinking more like a child basically in our approach and I think everything you’ve helped me with and we’ve wrapped into treasure time, you know all the tips and advice that’s been rolled into the treasure time course it has made all the difference to us. And our mornings are very, very, very rarely anything like that used to be and it’s a pleasure, you know, it’s a really nice thing. So once I discovered basically how long each my boys needed for certain tasks in the morning, like shoes and coats an incredible 15 minute activity or front door, you know, and that’s the moment I used to think, well, we’re ready, just walk out the door, slap on your shoes and walk out the door, but no, takes 15 minutes at that point, and letting them take the lead and adjust all the little things. Well, it just made a huge difference to the happy calm flow in our day, and it set out for a nicer day not starting with, you know, stress and anger and frustration at each other, which is no fun for anyone let’s face it.

Sophia 

I think if we think about our jobs as parents as just setting up those little containers of time, in which we can allow the child to lead, give them time to solve their own problems, we can set ourselves up for success just by thinking about what they need beforehand and acting accordingly and giving them enough time. But if we never have enough time to reflect and be mindful about what our children need as little individuals and what their pace is, it’s likely that life will be really stressful for them, and for us, this is kind of like, as we said, being mindful and curious, learning what your child needs and then acting accordingly.

Nicole 

Yeah, great. So Sophia, how do you think we as parents can still get done what we need to do, you know, cook to do, the day job, the life admin chores, and manage not to rush or hurry or children? You know, what, what’s the solution to this kind of mind boggling equation? How do we balance it? I know I am still working on lots of different levels

Sophia 

The example that you gave earlier was absolutely brilliant that you just need to factor in a bit of time for the tasks that you assume will take a minute, but the things that will take you one or five minutes might take your children 10 or 15 minutes, so just giving them a bit more time. So being kind to yourself and giving yourself lots of wiggle room to get things done and setting yourself up to be successful as well. But also secondly, I think that it’s really important that we give our children opportunities just to do free play. And when they’re playing, they’re working things out for themselves anyway, they’re getting curious. They’re using their hands, they’re using their problem solving skills. So if we can give them the opportunity to play just for 30 minutes a week, it’s actually going to be building all those skills anyway, as well. So we can play together with them. And that’s, that’s the ideal. And that’s really what closure time is all about.

Nicole 

Fantastic. There is this real tug of war between, I guess what is actual GMT clock and the children’s internal clock, and what can it look like do you think in practice to feel like it’s more of a win-win situation?

Sophia 

Well, as I suggested, I do think factoring in sort of longest play times each week, 30 minutes, let’s say, with your child each week is a really good way to help them learn those skills, but when we’re doing it outside and just in normal life when we’re peppering into our day to day, I think the thing that we just have to remember and be mindful of the unspoken messages that we might be giving our children when we rush or hurry them or solve the problems for them. So an example might be when your child wants to put on their coat, they might desperately want to be able to do their coat up themselves. But if they never have enough time to work out, and you always do it for them, you might just be giving them an unspoken message that maybe is unhelpful and that message might be you can’t do or you’re too slow. And so I think if we can keep that in our mind, you know, what unspoken message is my behavior giving to my child, then we might assess what’s important, and what’s not right now. Is it really set time sensitive or is it really important that my child actually feels good about themselves and I can give them a little bit of extra time now.

Nicole 

That’s so lovely, just that that making, it’s not just about a container of time, it’s that if I give that to my child, If I’m giving them this opportunity to feel good about themselves, and I think when he starts, you know, put that second bit on to what you’re thinking it does. It’s just coming at it from a different angle isn’t it is so much more. Yeah. Focus on the child rather than an outcome rather than, you know, a list that you want to get done, for example.

Sophia 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it is important that we just also be kind to ourselves and recognize that we’re all doing what we can, that without thinking about it and reflecting on it, hw are we supposed to do things differently? So that’s exactly what this podcast is all about. And so if we want to think about a playful activity that helps children to develop problem solving skills, I’d highly recommend junk modeling for this week. So get your recycling box out, give your children load of blank materials, sellotape cardboard, egg boxes, toilet, roll tubes, whatever you’ve got, and just sit on your hands either literally or metaphorically depending on what you need, and see how they use their problem solving skills to creatively make something, and they’ll make something that looks like it’s been made by a child, it will be far from perfect, but that is exactly what you want. And now give yourself a child a good chunk of time container. So 30 minutes to an hour, and just sit alongside them while they play and notice what’s going on for you. Can your child actually do more than you give them credit for maybe you’ll learn something. Take that David Attenborough role and see what you can learn about your child.

Nicole 

As usual I love listening to your really great advice to fear the easy bite size tests. Just perfect for us parents to try easily, you know, give them a go. So I hope people have lots of fun doing that.

Sophia 

Yeah, me too. So we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of treasure time where we’ll be giving you loads more brilliant content, we still got to look at on our next principles of treasure time which are all around and holding boundaries and flexing rules, but we’ll also be hearing from a parent who’s doing treasure time so you can hear somebody else’s experience of what it’s like

Nicole 

Brilliant, boundaries and rules they are not my favourite. That’s the one I still have the most work to do around. But it would be great to hear from a parent who’s just started their treasure time journey be fantastic. Can’t wait to have them on the show.

Sophia 

Thank you all so much for listening, make sure to tune in to the next episode, and we would love it if you could head over to iTunes to give us a five star review and leave some nice words to help us reach more parents.

Nicole 

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you’ll post a picture of your playtime this week. Be great to see you what the children have made from your recycling boxes, fantastic junk models, please tag us at treasure team UK and don’t forget to hashtag treasure time. You’ll be entered into draw to win the treasure tome course and years worth of membership to our exclusive Facebook community where you can access lots and lots of advice and weekly live q&a with Sophia.

Sophia 

Thank you so much and bye from us. See you next time. Bye. See you next week.


Stay Home Superheroes! Two stories to enjoy together with your children

Listen to Episode 7 here

Todays episode features not one, but TWO therapeutic stories for children to help manage anxiety during the pandemic. Get cosy with your children and listen to these stories together. You’ll also hear from Callum, our special guest, who tells us what he thinks of the story!

https://youtu.be/7JksjNtHqU4

About our hosts:

Sophia

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin

A creative
entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health
through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences
in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts
Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her
focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact
for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy,
fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to
two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She
is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the
Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have
included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with
responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the
wellbeing and culture of the team.  Nicole
was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international
business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure
Time

Our vision is to
drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole
family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy,
mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Group

Sophie’s Stories – therapeutic stories for children

Value bombs and
tweetables:

1. “You have the
superpower power to make this fun! Staying home is how you can save the whole
world, there’s nothing more powerful than that” Sophia, reading Stay Home Superhero

2. “ William the Stay
Home Superhero loved his invisible force field. And now you know, you can go
outside and use yours too.” Sophia, reading Stay Home Superhero

3. “Good luck at
being a stay home superhero!” Callum, Nicole’s son

Transcript

Sophia 

Hey, it’s Sophia, and Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time
podcast growing up happy. For today’s episode, we thought we would do something
a little bit different for you. We’ve been talking a lot about treasure time
principles, but we thought, why not do a little session here on the podcast for
yourself and for your child, so that you can come together and listen to a
story. We actually have two stories for you and your child, so to listen to
together, which will help manage children’s anxiety during the pandemic. These
stories are called “the stay home superheroes” and they’re written by Sophies Stories.
Sophie is a play therapist and what she does is she writes what are known as
therapeutic stories for children. therapeutic stories are stories that use
metaphor to help tap into feelings that children are experiencing and give them
new ways to think and cope with challenges.

Nicole 

For this episode, we have a special guest. I actually
listened to the “stay at home super Heroes” with my boys and we got some of
their feedback on what they think of the story too. So we really hope you enjoy
this with your little ones and cuddle up together on the sofa, in their bed,
wherever you feel most comforting ,cosy and close together. Or maybe it’s
sitting on a picnic blanket out in the sunshine. If we’ve still got sunshine by
the time you listen to this, so do whatever feels most comfortable. If it’s
raining outside, maybe you’ve already made that den from an earlier podcast, so
get inside together and enjoy storytime.

Sophia 

The Stay Home superheroes. Once upon a time, there was a big
busy world. In this big busy world there lived a little boy called William.
William loved going to school to play with his friends, going to the park with
his mum, and going swimming with his dad. But one day everything started to
change, William heard on the news that there was a big problem. This problem
was so big that it started to spread over the whole world. All the grown ups were
talking about it, or the children were talking about it. In fact, every single
person in the whole world was talking about it. Everyone started to feel
worried and scared about the big problem. Soon, the big problem caused some big
changes. At first daddy stop going to work. Then mummy stopped taking him
swimming. Then he found out school was cancelled. And day by day, the loud busy
world he lived in got quieter, and quieter and quieter. William was confused.
He felt scared too, he had so many questions. What was going on? Would it be
okay, how could they stop the big problem? He went on to ask his mummy all of
his big questions. “It’s okay to be scared and worried. Lots of other children
feel that way. even adults feel scared too. Sometimes” she told him giving him
a big hug. But all of the very best cleverest people in the whole world are
working hard to fix the big problem right now, she explained. This made him
feel a little bit better. Surely the cleverest people in the world could find a
way to fix it. But it was such a big problem and he was still scared. He had to
do something. Mummy explained that there were lots and lots of special helpers
working hard to save the world and stop the problem. Like superheroes, said
William. Just like superheroes said mummy smiling. William wanted to be a
superhero too, this was his chance, super William to the rescue! He jumped up
ready to run outside and join all the other superheroes to fight off the big
problem and save the world. But his mummy stopped him and locked the door. “Hey,
how can I help fight the big problem if I’m stuck inside?” he asked. “Well, we
do need you to help, everyone is going to have to help solve this big problem,
and you are going to have a very special job indeed. You are going to become a
stay Home superhero”. William had never heard of that kind of superhero before.
Mummy told him that stay home superheroes can help fight off the big problem
using this stay home superpowers. But what were they? He tried so hard, but he
didn’t have any super strength or superspeed either. In fact, he felt exactly
the same as before.

“The big problem can’t be solved with super strength or
super speed. The big problem will only stop growing if all the new superheroes
use their stay home superpower to stay at home. In fact, if all the new stay
home superheroes work together, the big problem will get smaller and smaller
and smaller every single day until it goes away” Mummy explained. “But staying
home is a boring superpower” said William in a grump. “Boring? No way! You have
the superpower to make this fun, and staying home is how you can help save the
whole world. There’s nothing more powerful than that.” Just staying home and
having fun could save the whole world and he would be a real life superhero? William
started to feel excited. He started to feel powerful too. He couldn’t wait to
tell all his friends that they could turn into stay home superheroes just like
him. William got to work quickly using his superhero creativity to think of all
the fun things he could do at home. He made a long list with his mummy and
daddy. Pillow forts and cooking, and games and dancing, and puppet shows and
singing, and movies and more. Even better, William found out he could still
play in the garden and go outside too. As long as he stayed away from all the
superheroes who lived in different houses. They could wave to each other and
wink, because they all knew the special job they were doing. William did miss
playing with his friends and going swimming and to the park. But then he remembered
how important his new superhero job was. He was helping to save the whole world
and that made him feel so good inside. He was very proud of himself. Then he
fired up his superhero powers ready to find something fun to do. William the
stay home superhero and all his superhero friends work hard together to help
save the world, all without leaving their homes. And now you know, you can be a
superhero too.

The stay home superheroes go outside. Once upon a time,
there was a little boy called William. William had a very important new job. He
was a stay home superhero. Ever since he found out about his new job he wanted
to do everything that he could to save the world and make sure everyone stayed
safe. He took being a stay home superhero very, very seriously. In fact,
William took his new stay home superhero job so seriously that he stopped going
outside at all. William closed all the doors and all the windows and decided he
would stay safe at home until this was all over. He thought that he was the very
best superhero. He thought that was the very best superhero thing he could do. “William,
let’s go out for a walk” said mommy. “No, we have to stay home!” replied William.
“Let’s go for a bike ride” said his sister. “No, we have to stay home!” he said
stamping his foot. “Hey, William, shall we go to the shops? We could get your favourite
sweets?” said daddy. “No, we have to stay home!” he shouted back. William was
determined to stay home and save the world. As the days went by, he felt less
and less like a superhero. He felt worried and tired and grumpy. Every time
someone wanted him to go out for a walk, or open a window or go to the shops,
his heart would beat really fast, and his tummy felt funny. He was feeling
worried. This worry grew and grew and grew until it was so big that he couldn’t
even think about going outside without feeling scared. What if it made the big
problem get even bigger? One day William saw his dad putting on his shoes by
the front door. “Daddy, are you going outside? Isn’t it dangerous out there?
Don’t we have to stay home?” he asked. “Oh, William. I know it’s confusing. We
do need to stay home most of the time, but even stay home superheroes need
fresh air and sunshine and good food from the shops to keep their superpower
strong. Going outside is one way to help us charge up our superpowers” Daddy
explained. “It doesn’t going outside make the big problem get bigger?” he asked.
“Well, that’s what our superhero force fields are for” said Daddy with a wink.
“Superhero forcefields?” “ Yes, all the stay home superheroes have got special
invisible force fields to keep them safe when they need to go outside. That’s
why we can’t get too close to other people from different superhero houses. If
we all stay in our own forcefield everyone stays safe and the problem can’t
grow any bigger.” William thought about this. He imagined his own forcefield
like a big bubble all around his body keeping him safe. You couldn’t see it but
was sure he could feel it. William decided to be brave and try going outside
with his big protective forcefield all around him. So William and his family
put on their shoes and coats ready to Go outside. William was nervous but he
was excited too. William loved being outside in the sunshine seeing the trees and
feeling the wind on his face, he had missed being outside. When he saw the
other stay home superheroes they smiled and waved to each other, staying safe
inside their own forcefields. He could feel his superpowers getting stronger as
he breathed in the lovely fresh air and exercised his superhero legs. You could
run and jump and hop and skip, and it felt great. William still stayed inside
most of the time. But now he understood how everyone could stay safe when they
left their homes. He knew that going outside with keep his superpowers charged
up and that was very important. William the stay home superhero loved his
invisible force field. And now you know, you can go outside and use yours too.

Nicole 

Well, that was a great story to children, did you enjoy listening
to the stay at home superheroes?

Callum

Yeah.

Nicole

Are you a Stay Home Superhero, Callum?

Callum

Yes,

Nicole

Yes you are aren’t you? You’ve been doing it for five weeks
now and you’ve been doing a really good job of managing to do everything we
need to save the world by staying at home. Really proud of you. So who is who
is helping you? Is Harrison also a stay at home superhero with you, Callum?

Callum

Yes. And I’ll show you who Cute is.

Nicole

Who’s Cute?

Callum

He is a Labrador. And he’s a puppy. He’s a teddy. He’s got
fluffy ears, and a long tail, and he’s from Hamleys.

Nicole

Oh, I’ve noticed Callum that you’ve been carrying Cute
around the house with you a lot the past couple of weeks. Is he doing a good
job of helping be a Stay Home Superhero?

Callum

Yeah

Nicole

Have you been playing lots of games together?

Callum

Yes.

Nicole

Can you tell all the boys and girls one of the games that
you’ve been playing with Cute?

Callum

Jailbreak/123 and out.

Nicole

Oh, these sound good games.

Callum

Trampolining, swings.

Nicole

You and Cute have been very busy Stay Home Superheroes.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the story.

Callum

Thank you feel for listening, good luck at being a stay at
home superhero.

Nicole

We’re all doing a great job boys and girls. Thank you so
much, Callum. It’s been lovely having you as a guest on the podcast today.

Callum

Bye bye!

Sophia 

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast episode something
a little bit different, but also something playful for you to actually do with
the children.

Nicole 

Yeah and next time we are going to go back to our principles
of Treasure Time, and we’ll look at two principles together in one episode. So
we’ll cover allowing the children to solve their own problems and also giving
your children enough time to work out things for themselves. So it’s a perfect
time to practice this when we’ve got a little bit more time together at home to
get curious and learn the pace at which our child works.

Sophia 

We’d like to say a massive thank you to Sophie Stories for
writing these stories and allowing us to share them if you’re interested she
actually writes therapeutic stories specifically for children. So you can visit
her site Sophie stories dot code at UK for your own personalized story. Thank
you so much for listening. we’d love it if you could head to iTunes and give us
a five star review and some lovely words to help us keep reaching more and more
parents.

Nicole 

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast and that you’ll
maybe post a picture this week of your playtime or storytime and tag us at
treasure time UK. And don’t forget to add hashtag treasure time. You’ll be
entered into a draw to win the treasure time course and a year’s worth of
membership to our exclusive Facebook community where you can access lots and
lots of advice and weekly live q&a with Sophia.

Sophia 

Thank you and bye from us. We’ll see you in the next
episode.

Nicole

Bye!

Good luck at being a stay home superhero! Callum


Two things you need to know about reflecting children’s feelings

Listen to Episode 06 here

In this episode we look at the next principle of Treasure
Time, which is reflecting the child’s feelings back to them, but how do we do
that if we are not very in tune with our own feelings? We take a look at what
it means to develop emotional literacy in children, but also in us as parents!

https://youtu.be/6WGltYdHc6Y

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the
root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to
her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a
thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who
have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and
charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with
through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20
years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear
Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director,
Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and
building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the
team. Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound
international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child
relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is
to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting
with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Group

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “If our feelings were dismissed when we were children, we
might not be in touch with how we really feel. We might get triggered and shout
and that doesn’t make anyone feel good, sometimes we don’t know why we are
shouting and makes us feel out of control.” Sophia Giblin

2. “When I reflect my children’s feelings back to them it
helps them to move through the tricky feelings quicker.” Nicole McDonnell

3. “Reflecting feelings back to your child can be hard to
get it right first time but the act of trying is just as important!” Sophia
Giblin

4. “Seeing my boys recognising their feelings and my
feelings too is pretty amazing.” Nicole McDonnell

Transcript

Sophia

Welcome to the Treasure Time podcast, which is all about growing up happy. You’re here with podcast hosts Sophia Giblin and Nicole McDonnell, the Founders of Treasure Time, and they’re here to offer advice on building your children’s resilience during difficult times. Make sure to tune in every Tuesday and Thursday, but bite size playful tips and activities that can easily be implemented straightaway to help support your family’s mental and emotional health and well being.

Nicole

Hey, it’s Sophia. And hey, it’s Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time podcast, growing up happy.

Sophia

Today’s episode is all about the third principle of Treasure Time which is reflecting back the child’s feelings and that’s all feelings good and bad.

This episode comes in two parts is about recognising our own feelings in order to be able to recognise our children’s. So before we are able to reflect their feelings back to them, we have to be quite good at recognising how it is that we’re feeling we need to be in touch with feelings and emotions basically.

So when we listen to this episode, it might make you reflect on how it is that you relate to emotions and feelings for yourself. Nicole, how did you find it when you first learned this principle in Treasure Time?

Nicole

Well, before getting into the nitty gritty of that, I’d love if I could share something a bit of scene setting if you like, bit of backstory.

So those of you who listen to our podcast on accepting the child’s feelings will have heard that I find it really hard not to paper over with this massive sticky plaster covered in “you’re okay” messages when things went a bit wonky in our family.

And in my journey with Sophia over the past four years, I discovered pretty early on in the game, that I didn’t really have good emotional literacy at all.

I wasn’t really able to distinguish between feelings and emotions that well or at all to be honest. I’m gonna totally fess up that I actually had to Google, what is a feeling? Or an emotion? Seriously had to! And then it made me think, gosh, if I didn’t even have the vocabulary to describe those things, it made me just glance back at life and think, gosh, I haven’t paused long enough in life to reflect and give myself a chance to realise what I was feeling in any given moment. Except fleetingly. Especially to push down anything uncomfortable really, really quick, like that game at the funfair where you’ve got this massive hammer and the little things pop up and you have to squash them really fast. You can imagine I am absolutely winning that game!

So when the challenge of reflecting back the child’s feelings cropped up in my Treasure Time journey, I realised pretty fast that I was going to have to start with accepting my own feelings, and then the boys feelings. So I gave it a go. And with kind of this degree of neutrality or acceptance, I pretended it was just something that I was observing. And I made it a bit of a game because I was a bit afraid of what was going to crop up to be honest, because I’d never stayed still long enough.

Sophia

Yeah, it’s really common thing that we can do when we don’t want to, or when it feels uncomfortable to acknowledge our feelings is that we just busy and distract ourselves. And it sounds like maybe that’s what you were doing. We all do it. I do it as well all the time!

Nicole

Yeah, I’m really good at that!

Sophia

If you find it really difficult to identify your own feelings and emotions, therapy can be incredibly helpful, because sometimes we’re just operating on this automatic level all the time of parenting the way that we were parented. So just copying patterns from our past, and then parenting in exactly the same way.

So that might look like just copying how your parents dealt with your feelings when you were a child. And also, therapy is for anyone and everyone.

I have therapy all the time, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love going in and out of therapy, especially when there’s something difficult going on in my life, it just helps me understand myself better. So that’s just something to think about as well. If this is a real struggle for any of our listeners, maybe thinking about how you can access support is actually very beneficial, not just for you, but for your whole family and for your children as well.

Nicole

Yeah, I completely agree.

I think the best place to start for me was just start acknowledging, getting curious, what’s my feelings, and in talking to a few close friends about it. That was definitely the start of my journey and in those early days.

A friend of mine, Monique, who I love dearly we’ve been friends since we’ve been about 11, she recommended this great little technique to me and she said it’s just three simple things to do. And there is me with my pen and paper and I’m going to write these down. Number one, smile. Number two, smile. Number three, smile again.

I know it’s like okay, as a smiler I thought I got that nailed already.

But I had to think a little bit about the first smile, what’s going on outside so what is the situation happen and are my hands clammy? What’s going on in the external environment?

And the second smile, what’s going on in your heart? How do you feel? Are you thinking a lot?

Again, what’s going on in front of me and laugh. So she was like, just laugh at the hilarity of this situation.

It seems really simple but smile, smile, smile, it really helps me because it gave me the chance to pause and react to whatever chaos children were up to. And it was really valuable. And it also changed my mindset, because smiling actually will give me those feel good chemicals. And I realised oh, right. This isn’t actually the crisis I thought it was.

Sophia

Yeah. And I think sometimes, like we discussed in our last episode, if our feelings were dismissed when we were children, we might not really be in touch with how we feel. And so what we might do is just get triggered all the time. And when you get triggered, you might there’s not enough space to really think about what’s going on. And then typically what happens is that you might start shouting, and that doesn’t make anyone feel good, but sometimes we don’t know why we’re shouting. It just happens.

And what happens, it comes from this place of fear. And generally an attempt to get some control back. But actually, I think sometimes it just makes us feel a bit more out of control. And so what we need is that little pause, a bit of space, before we start reacting to respond, and that’s what exactly what that strategy is that you’ve just explained. It’s like a little bit of space before before you make your next move, really.

I think when we are in the space where we feel a bit triggered, maybe like fear is rising, and we want to start shouting, there’s no chance that we’re going to be able to reflect back our child’s feelings because the reality is that we’re probably not even in touch with our own feelings at that moment. We need to have the headspace to be able to do that properly.

Nicole

Yeah, completely. And that headspace is it can be really hard to find as a parent. And actually, funnily enough, I started to really enjoy reflecting back the boy’s feelings. Because the actual act of doing this would often stop a situation escalating.

Nicole

So, basically, when I reflect back my children’s feelings, it helps them move through the tricky feelings quicker. And also, I really love reflecting those happy feelings, because then, Callum or Harrison will just come back and get this real sparkly smile that says to me, “yeah, Mum, you get me.” And that just makes me feel much closer to them. And I still don’t feel like I’ve definitely got it. So I still feel like I’ve got this really narrow range of emotional literacy to draw on. Something that I need to keep working on because I find in that moment I’m saying very basic emotions like sad, angry, frustrated, happy, enjoying, I feel like I’ve run out very quickly.

Sophia

Yeah, it’s not easy to keep coming up with new words. But in reality children don’t need us to go in there with lots of big long complicated feeling words, either sometimes the basics are, are good enough. Good enough.

Nicole

So how on that point, how important is it to get the feelings bang on and describe it right when I reflect back to them?

Sophia

It’s not really about getting it right all the time. So that’s the good news. You, you don’t have to always get it right. And the research shows us that we just need to be good enough as parents, which is actually less than 50% of the time. So that is good news. Something that we can all take on board.

If you get the feelings right, less than 50% of the time you’re you’re doing really really well. We don’t have to be perfect. It’s not about being perfect. It’s just about trying. And it can be really hard to get those feelings right when you’re reflecting back. So you might say something to your child, like, “you’re really upset that that happened” and your child will turn around to you and go, “I’m not upset. I’m angry.” And I’m sure you’ve probably had that happen.

Nicole

Yes, I definitely have had that.

Sophia

So what’s happened is that you’ve just kind of missed the emotional cue, or you’ve said the wrong word. But the action of trying is just as important as getting it right. So even through showing your child that you care enough to tune into what is they are feeling is enough in that moment, and what children will do is they’ll naturally correct you if you get it wrong. So that also helps you to learn so that you’re teaching them emotional literacy. They’re teaching you emotional literacy, too.

Nicole

And it is great just even having these conversations is amazing.

Sophia

Yeah, totally. It’s it’s brilliant to develop everybody sense of how to talk about feelings. It’s an important skill for life. So if we can do it early on, it will just be part of your children’s natural mode of operation when they’re a bit older.

Nicole

Yeah, that is so funny actually, because that’s something that’s happened. I think as a direct result of Treasure Time with my boys, probably only in the past few months, actually. But they now reflect back my feelings to me all the time. And I was pretty shocked the first time they did it. But you know, on reflection, I think it is pretty cool to see how astute they’re becoming with what’s going on for them and for me, and when they reflect back my feelings to me, it does make me stop in my tracks and think, “Oh yeah, I am angry with you. I’m angry that you weren’t listening to me” and then we can have this quite open, honest conversation and move on. It’s really great because it’s way calmer than how I would have managed these situations before they had the Treasure Time tools to draw on.

Sophia

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s important just to say, we haven’t really talked about what Treasure Time actually is if you’re doing it actively with your children. So what Treasure Time actually looks like is doing 30 minutes of play with your child every week. And it’s a particular type of play using a box of toys, and the approach that we teach in the Treasure Time course. And obviously, these are things that we’re teaching in our podcast as well. But Nicole has been doing this for quite a long time with her boys now.

Nicole

Yeah, I can’t recommend it enough. I learned so much from being with Sophia and being on this journey, but see my boys recognising their feelings. And my feelings too. It’s just pretty amazing. And it does make me think that they’ll be a better set up for relationships in the future. It’s like this really healthy blueprint we can be passing on to our children.

Sophia

Yeah, I was just saying to Nicole, what lucky future partners they will have! Because communication is such an important part of all relationships, not just romantic. But it can certainly be helpful for when they’re grown up and they’re adults, and they have relationships, and then they have their own children as well. This will be something that they just do naturally with their own children, which is amazing.

So what we’re doing today is we’re sharing a post on Instagram, with some of the words that you can use to develop your own emotional literacy which will in turn develop your children’s when you start to get in touch with your feelings, and be able to name and label your own feelings. You’ll have more words to use when you are reflecting back your children’s feelings to

Nicole

Oh, that would be great for me. I’ll check that out!

Sophia

So next episode, we’re going to look at the fourth principle of Treasure Time, which is respecting your child’s ability to solve problems.

Nicole

Fantastic. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast and that you can post a picture of your play time this week and tag us @TreasureTimeUK – don’t forget to add #treasuretime for the chance to win the Treasure Time course and a year’s worth of membership to our exclusive Facebook community where you can access loads of advice and a weekly live Q&A with Sophia.

Sophia

We’d love it if you’d be able to head over to iTunes to give us a review, and share with as many parents, as you know, because we want to reach as many people as possible with these skills. We believe that all parents should understand and know how they can apply these principles in everyday life. So please do share and give us a rating as well. We’d love a five star review and some words. And thank you so much for listening. We hope you tune in for our next episode where we’ll be looking at the next principle of leisure time.

Nicole

So we’ll see you there. Thank you, bye.

Key words

Feelings children parenting emotional literacy reflection emotions


Try this one strategy to help manage children’s overwhelming feelings

Click here to listen to Episode 5

This episode focuses on our second principle of Treasure Time, which is how by accepting the child’s feelings we can help them to manage their own overwhelming emotions.

https://youtu.be/NNFdyzegucw

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/?originalSubdomain=uk

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the
root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear
Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director,
Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team.  Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting
with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Group

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “I think the first thing that we have to remind ourselves is that feelings are visitors, they come and go and we will not be feeling this way forever… We have to accept that we live in shades of grey like and that it’s not black and white. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. They come and they go and we ride the waves of feelings.” Sophia

2. “I end up bit like a Champagne or Prosecco bottle where
everything’s just bubbling under the surface and then the cork comes off and
it’s this like, massive explosion, because I’ve not dealt with the feelings as
I’ve gone along, you know!” Nicole

3. “There’s a really great saying that is ‘When I’m
drowning, don’t try and teach me how to swim’. Because in that moment, when a
child is drowning in their feelings, it’s not the time to teach them a lesson.
It’s not a time to say, ‘Well, I told you not to do that’ or, ‘Well, next time,
you’ll have to do it differently’ because all of those things, it is us trying
to fix it. But actually to the children, it looks like us dismissing their
feelings and their feelings are very real.” Sophia

4.  “I wanted to make
the (boys negative) feelings go away as quickly as possible. And for everything
to be okay…  If I’m being really honest
I wasn’t comfortable sitting with my boys uncomfortable feelings. I just wanted
to make them disappear because it made me feel things I just didn’t want
to.” Nicole

5. “It’s so great to see that really small changes can make
big differences quickly in the relationship” Nicole

Transcription

Sophia

Hi it’s Sophia and Nicole, welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast: Growing Up Happy. So today’s podcast is all about our second principle of Treasure Time which is accepting the child’s feelings, all feelings – good and bad. Sometimes we get used to just accepting good feelings because that makes us feel good and the bad get a bit dismissed. Nicole how do you feel that you used to respond to your children’s negative feelings?

Nicole 

Oh my I found it absolutely awful. I hated it! I just wanted
to fix it. I wanted to make the feelings go away as quickly as possible and for
everything to be okay again, I really wasn’t comfortable with it. I didn’t like
it at all. And I found myself jumping to the catchphrase of “Oh, it’s okay”.
And I’d probably dismiss them and straightaway, just hoping that would go away.
So, you know, being really honest I simply wasn’t comfortable sitting with my
boys uncomfortable feelings. I just wanted to make them disappear because it
made me feel things I just didn’t want to feel Sophia. I mean, how do you
suggests that parents can start to accept all of their child’s feelings, the
good and the difficult ones because it’s, it’s really not easy to do. Where do
you start?

Sophia 

It’s really not easy to do. So it’s really normal in any
relationship, whether it’s with our children or even with friends or with our
partners or family, it’s really hard not to jump to fixing the problems. We
don’t like seeing people in pain. It’s a very normal human reaction to try and
just fix it. So if somebody comes to you and they’re feeling sad, or they’re
feeling frustrated, or they’re feeling angry, they’re generally feelings that
we don’t like feeling ourselves. So when we see people going through them, it
makes us feel things that we don’t want to feel.

Nicole 

So totally and when it should when children like it, you
just want it to be instantly better. Like you hate seeing them in that
position.

Sophia 

Yeah, and especially when we can see it quite objectively as
adults. We know that what they are going through is not really bad. It’s not life
changing a lot of the time, sometimes it’s just that they are feeling sad,
maybe they feel left out, maybe they feel that something’s unfair, but to them,
it’s very, very real. So we have to appreciate and acknowledge that, see it
from their level and really understand how it is that they’re feeling at that
moment without dismissing it and just telling them that it’s all going to be
okay.

So I think the first thing that we have to remind ourselves is that feelings are visitors, they come and go, children won’t be feeling this way forever. It’s a temporary thing, just in the same way that we don’t feel feelings forever. They come and they go, and we have to accept that we live in shades of grey like that. It’s not black and white. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. They come and they go and we ride the waves of feelings. So that’s something that we can also pass on to our children and remind them that feelings are visitors that they’ll come and go, but we also have to acknowledge that when we can just accept the feelings, they actually go away quicker than when we try and dismiss them or squash them and say it’s okay or brush them under the carpet and actually remain a bit stuck in the body. When children can feel them and acknowledge them those feelings actually move through much quicker and get dissipated and children actually get over it, whatever the situation is much, much quicker when we help them to acknowledge their feelings.

Nicole 

I think that’s really true like from myself I found I was dismissing
my negative feelings I end up bit like a Champagne or Prosecco bottle where
everything’s just bubbling under the surface and then the cork comes off and
it’s this like, massive explosion! Because I’ve not dealt with them as I’ve
gone along, you know, and that’s, that’s just me personally, I know everyone
deals with it differently.

Sophia 

Yeah, I think that’s quite normal. We can get in the habit
of squashing down our negative feelings because we don’t want to feel them
because we feel discomfort and there’s generally two things that we do we the
numb them out. So we distract ourselves by doing something that we all do
actually, we go on our phones a lot we start to scroll. Sometimes we might
notice that when you feel it is an uncomfortable feeling is that you start to
numb out in some way. Or the other thing that we can do is that we can choose
to acknowledge it and we’re feeling something that’s not very nice and also
acknowledge that it is a visitor and it will go will pass and it will pass
quicker if we just if we can feel it and face it.

Nicole 

And you know, I haven’t scrolled on my phone for so long and
then this situation of lockdown comes in at I am doing it every evening. I’m
keeping myself awake doing it!

Sophia 

Yeah, it’s normal. I’m doing it as well. I’m finding myself
I have two screens on most of the time! TV and my phone. It’s like double numbing
out, because what we’re going through is really, really hard. So we’re feeling
difficult feelings and obviously, add in your children’s difficult feelings on top
of that it’s like an extra stress and pressure that we’ve all got. Something
that we do in Treasure Time is that we teach about accepting all of the child’s
feelings, not just the good feelings, but the bad feelings, too. And love to
hear from you, Nicole, if you’ve got any examples of where accepting the
children’s feelings has worked really well for you?

Nicole 

Yeah, there’s loads actually. I think the biggest thing that I found as an example that works really well from the treasure time course was the head, heart and hands skills, which wasn’t something that came naturally to me at all Sophia. I had to work so, so hard at it! And I hope that our listeners feel the same that they know about alone in this but I had to stop myself from talking about what should or shouldn’t going on.

So if the boys got sad or angry or frustrated, you know, somebody I remember, my heart broke but Harrison’s close friend at school wouldn’t let him play at breaktime. And it really got really got to me because I was like, “Oh, it’s okay”. I would automatically jump into it, okay but it wasn’t okay for Harrison, he was genuinely hurt by this. And, you know, I’m saying “Oh, there’s lots of other people to play with” etc but that wasn’t what mattered to him. He wanted to play with his little best friend, but then on the other scale, there’s a finding love and friendship there’s just that frustration that he gets a lot if he doesn’t get first if we’re all playing a game in the family. And that’s really annoying because he goes from 0 to 100 in terms of angry or frustrated because it’s not there.

So there’s so many examples, I didn’t realize how powerful
it would be not to just paper over it with “it’s okay” but actually just trying
to give him a big cuddle and being passively present. I found just sitting there
and what I realised in those situations and notice basically, was comforting
them actually helped me keep my own feelings under control because what I would
do would be try to say it’s okay and all my feelings of hurt and upset about
you know, the friend not playing with them, it would just all spill out.
Whereas about being able to just kind of give him a hug and be quiet, let him saw
what he had to say and listen to that and not tangle up the two feelings, I
noticed that basically I was taking on the boys feelings and my emotions were rising
and I was actually making the situation worse rather than helping them through
moments. If that make sense?

Sophia 

Yeah it becomes hard to distinguish what’s yours and what’s
theirs. And it’s very normal to get tied up in their feelings because we want
to fix it for them.

Nicole 

Yes, that is exactly it and basically now I think I’m much
better at recognizing in the heat of the moment, what is their feelings? And
what’s my feelings? And it helps me just kind of learn with using the head, heart,
hands skills that I can press that pause button and not get caught up in the
chaos and then work through it. Which is really, really helped and it’s just
made me feel way less responsible for their feelings ultimately.

Sophia 

Yeah, right? So it’s that thing again of almost allowing the
child to lead coming home from our last podcast, you know, allowing the child
to be responsible for their feelings. And not having to make them go away. That
is not our job to make them go away. But it is our job to remind them that
their feelings are just visitors and that they’ll come and go. We don’t have to
do that with words. And that’s the other thing that I think parents need to
know or that anyone that works with children needs to know, is that we can over
talk to children in times like this.

Nicole 

Yeah, totally, totally. It’s just so hard not to just want
to make them feel better. So you try to, words just spill out certainly for me
sometimes! I talk too much, don’t listen enough. So for me and our listeners
for what is actually accepting our children’s feelings look like in practice?

Sophia 

I think the first thing that we have to be aware of is about
how much we’re talking. First of all, so if your child comes to you and is
feeling angry, sad or frustrated, we have to be very mindful of being overly
positive and just dismissing the feelings. So it can be really tempting to say “it
will be okay”, or “there’s plenty of other children to play with” or “next time
you’ll get to go first”, what you’re actually doing is just dismissing the real
feelings that they have there and then. That’s the first thing to be to be
mindful of. The second thing is that there’s a really great saying that is “When
I’m drowning, don’t try and teach me how to swim”. Because in that moment, when
a child is drowning in their feelings, it’s not the time to teach them a
lesson. It’s not a time to say, “Well, I told you not to do that” or “Well,
next time, you’ll have to do it differently” because all of those things is us
trying to fix it. But actually to the children, it looks like us dismissing
their feelings and their feelings are very real. You can’t argue against their
feelings. You can’t say to somebody, well, you could if you said to somebody, “I
feel really sad because I feel rejected” and then your friend said to you, “Well,
let’s look at the facts and the evidence that says that you’re not rejected”, it’s
not really going to make you feel very heard. And even though that person’s
intention are good to help you to see things clearly and objectively, it
doesn’t change the way that you feel. It actually just puts it a bit of a
barrier between you and the other person, because it makes you think they don’t
really understand me.

So our aim in accepting the child’s feelings is just
literally that, is to accept them as they are not trying to change them. But what
also we can do alongside the child is to help them to co-regulate their
feelings. So if they’re feeling very sad, or very upset, very angry or
frustrated, and they’re crying, what we try and suggest that parents do is come
alongside the child and not really use that many words. So there are two ways
that you can kind of deal with accepting the child’s feelings. There’s verbal,
which is just to acknowledge and accept and say, “Yeah, I would feel like that
too” or “I can understand why you feel sad and frustrated” and that it’s
totally acceptable to say all of those things to your children. It’s totally
acceptable to agree with their feelings because their feelings are real. You
can’t argue against them. I think sometimes we worry that when we accept the feelings,
we’re saying it’s okay to behave in certain ways, or it’s okay to have those
feelings. But actually, that’s not the case, when we, when we’re acknowledging
and accepting the feelings, we’re saying to the children that, that it’s okay
that they feel real right now. But that won’t last forever. And as I said,
feelings are visitors, they come and go, and when you can help the child to
accept acknowledge the feelings, they actually move through much, much quicker,
rather than becoming stuck, which is what we talked about before.

So that’s the verbal side of acknowledging feelings. But
then on the nonverbal side, if you’re not sure what to say, and you think that
actually saying something’s gonna make things worse, the best thing that you
can do is either is use something nonverbal like a hug or touch or facial
expression, if that’s appropriate in that moment, and obviously, you need to
read the child in that moment. If the child is very angry and lashing out and
frustrated, maybe the best thing you can do is just give them space, but stay
nearby, so that when they all come and ready, they can come and be alongside
you. And in that moment, you can give them a hug, or you can give them a touch,
or you can say to them “It’s okay to feel frustrated.” And that’s a simple as
it is, but it’s not easy.

Nicole 

It’s so simple but it’s so hard to do that sometimes actually
because you’re own emotions can get tangled up in it. And that’s what we were
saying earlier, it takes practice. It’s really, really great advice and I just
loved hearing all that again because you don’t learn it as a one off it doesn’t
work like that, it takes so much practice.

Sophia 

Yeah, really does. And it’s important also to acknowledge that our automatic parenting blueprint comes from our parents, and it comes from the way that we’re raised. So if we find ourselves acting in ways that we that we don’t like maybe or that we wouldn’t choose to do, it’s important to acknowledge that we’re probably just parenting in the way that we were parented ourselves. Or on the other extreme, the complete opposite. You know, sometimes people go so far away from the way that we’re parented that there isn’t really like a good balance of in-between. So that the only way that you can get better at this is to acknowledge and recognize your own behaviours and your own triggers and your own feelings.

Once we’re aware of those, it becomes much easier for us to recognize what’s ours, and what’s our children’s, and when we have separation is easier to accept the negative feelings. And something that we can get stuck into is only acknowledging children’s good feelings and happy feelings. Because when kids come to us with those, we love them. We’re like “Yay you’re happy, that’s brilliant!”, we want to see more of that. So sometimes we might even say things that are kind of unhelpful, like, “I love it when you’re happy”, because all that does actually gives the child a message that it’s only okay to be happy. And then they might start to squash those feelings down even further, which can cause lots of problems later on in life. We want to be able to accept and acknowledge all of the feelings that we have all of the time, and write them like ways acknowledging that none of them are permanent. They will come and they will go

Nicole 

I think it’s okay not to get this right straightaway, just
you know, practicing it and giving it a go. So what I loved about trying all
these tips out, is it’s so great to see that really small changes can make big
differences quickly in the relationship.

Sophia 

Aboslutely it’s the smallest things that we can do these
like subtle,shifts over time and it becomes second nature, doesn’t it?

Nicole 

Yeah, totally. And life just feels better and easier as a
result, you know, because you’ve got this flow in understanding that you get
each other. I’ve also started to share things like when I’ve been accepting
Callums feelings or Harrison’s feelings that are really tricky, the bit that I
didn’t expect it to happen in this process was recognizing and accepting my own
feelings and sitting with thim.. So there is this double layer really going on
in this sandwich, and I know we’re not here to talk about my feelings and
parents feelings in general, this is about our children but they are related.
It’s quite good to just pause and I started a little journal on the side to
kind of just note down after each of my Treasure Time sessions. And it was
really useful because I started to notice my feelings more, and how I reacted
to things and which triggered more so I think it’s time to just be a bit
playful and curious about all of this was, I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been so
helpful.

Sophia 

That’s great to hear. And it is, as you said, like it is
ongoing work. All of this stuff is ongoing work and it’s awareness. And it’s
learning that we will always be engaged with all the time, you don’t just learn
it once and then it’s set. You have to practice it too. And but hopefully
everybody who’s listening can try this one out and just try and feel more
comfortable with accepting the feelings and not trying to change them. So just
give it a go and see how it is and just keep practicing. I think you might find
that actually your children start to move through feelings a little bit
quicker. And maybe they come to you a bit more often and talk about how they
feel. This can actually help to develop their emotional literacy as well. So
it’s a really, really important one, but it does take work.

Nicole 

Absolutely.

Sophia 

So thank you so much for joining us for this episode. Next time, we’re going to be looking at the third principle of Treasure Time which is, is quite related to this actually, is about reflecting back your child’s feelings. So how you can actually do that. And obviously there’s more of this good stuff in the Treasure Time online course which can be found on our website.

Nicole 

So we really hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast and we’d love if you could post a picture of your play time this week on instagram and tag us @treasuretimeuk and don’t forget to put #treasuretime and you’ll be entered into draw to win the Treasure Time course and a year’s worth of membership, exclusive Facebook community where you can access lots of advice and weekly live Q&A’s with Sophia.

Sophia 

Thanks so much for listening, remember to click subscribe so you get notifications when our next episodes come out.

And we would love it if you could head over to iTunes and give us a lovely five star review and leave some words. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode!

Nicole

Bye!

Keywords

Feelings children parents play feel happy dismissing
treasure play home safe acknowledge podcast accept frustrated moment quicker
angry notice helped


What should I do when I find play times with my children a bit boring?!

Listen to Episode 04 here

What should we do when we find play boring as adults? This simple play principle will help you take the passenger seat while you let the child drive. Parent becomes the student and the child becomes the teacher! In this session we explore the first principle of Treasure Time which is ‘let the child lead’. 

https://youtu.be/dGusKx5daEE

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team. Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook!

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “I know I used to find play sometimes a bit dull and I’m naturally a pretty playful person.  What I’ve noticed since I started Treasure Time is that my relationship with play has really changed.” Nicole McDonnell

2. “Once you realise that play is more about the relationship between yourself and your child it becomes more interesting” Sophia Giblin

3. “The play became a tool to become closer to each other and this has been like magic fairy dust to our relationship!” Nicole McDonnell

4. “In play the aim should be to allow the child to become the teacher” Sophia Giblin

Transcript

Sophia Giblin  

Hey, it’s Sophia and Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast, growing up happy.

Today’s podcast is all about playing when you actually find play times quite boring or maybe a bit repetitive or kind of dull.

Nicole, how has this episode come about?

Nicole McDonnell  

Well, there’s so much out there at the moment on how to spend time playing with your child. People have been really, really generous. There’s loads of free ideas on what to do and lots of group sharing ideas which is absolutely fantastic.

I think a lot of parents already know that they should be playing with their children and in reality, it’s about finding the time or managing priorities that can be hard for us all. That there is actually time that we can now carve out for our children’s play that we maybe didn’t have in our really busy, incredibly scheduled lives before.

I know that I used to find playing games a bit dull, and I’m naturally a pretty playful person! What I’ve noticed since starting Treasure Time is that it’s my relationship with the play that’s really changed.

What advice do you have for parents about what they can do when they just find the play boring or repetitive or they feel a bit lost about what to do?

Sophia Giblin  

It’s quite normal to find children’s play a bit boring because children like to do things at the level of at the most advanced level that they’re at, which is obviously not as advanced as the level that we’re at.

They might also do things over and over again, the same things, and it might become quite repetitive.

Once you realise that play is more about the relationship between yourself and the child, it becomes more interesting. So it is a subtle mindset shift from being involved or looking at what it is they’re doing, to being more involved in how it is that you’re relating with each other and also how your child is related to the play.

Once you can understand some of the reasoning behind it, it becomes more interesting because we can become a little bit more curious about the child. Something that I learned early on as a play therapist, is it being a therapist has so much to do with the relationship between yourself and the child and the relationship between the child and the play.

Nicole McDonnell  

Yeah, I totally relate to that having learnt to be a Treasure Time parent I often found that when I was into the play, it very quickly became teaching really quickly or really easily, I couldn’t help myself. It was like this especially when the boys were younger. For example, little teaching challenges cropped up, like, let’s group all the race cars together, let’s count all the race colour cars.

So when it became really about the outcome of what we were playing rather than the play itself, so listening to you it’s really clear that my default mode as an adult relating to play is different to how children play.

And I basically run out of ideas pretty quickly to keep them in teams, and I get bored and I think, oh, lets stop and have a snack but I definitely was approaching it about the game not the relationship.

Sophia Giblin  

Yeah, and I think that’s really normal because that’s how we relate to play. I think that’s something that we all do when we think about play, that it’s something that children do, that they enjoy, doesn’t necessarily involve us to be honest a lot of the time. But there are ways that we can get involved in the play. And also play is designed to be focused on sorry, play is not designed to be focused on the outcome, but is actually purely for enjoyment.

The actual definition of play is something that you engage in, for no set purpose. So as adults, we like to structure things we like to become the teacher, but in play, the aim should be to allow the child to become the teacher. For them to show you and then you become the student and your role is much more passive and less active.

Nicole McDonnell  

I really like that, it’s a totally different. It’s really subtle, but it’s a completely different mindset shift. You said this is when the play gets much more interesting, when it’s about the relationship. What exactly do you mean by that, Sophia?

Sophia Giblin  

We have to recognise that our role in the play is to sit on our hands. It’s not about getting involved and being the leader, which is often quite hard for us as adults, because we’re so used to being the leader, the teacher, the person in charge, but actually in play, we should just sit back, and sit on our hands.

We should not get overly involved, and let the child lead. And what you can start to do when you’re in that position of being more passive (so being in the passenger seat and not the driver seat), is that we can start to notice our children and tune into them, how they’re behaving, what are they doing? What are their emotions when they’re playing? It becomes more interesting, because we can actually be a bit more present.

We don’t have to be thinking or guiding or leading or entertaining either that that’s not the point of play, children will entertain themselves. They don’t need us to do that for them. They will.

What we can do is sit back and just just notice and become curious and watch and wonder. What happens is that we become then a bit more absorbed in the wonder of our own child and see them through new eyes, rather than focusing on the play all the time.

Something that you might notice when you play with your child is where your eyes are. If your eyes are more often what on what they’re creating, I challenge you to put your eyes on your child, and actually don’t look at what they’re creating, because it’s not what it’s about. Put your eyes on the child and see what they’re doing.

Notice the subtle little facial movements or their smiles or the way they flick their hair and, and you can feed that back to them as well. What it says to them is that I’ve noticed you, I see you and I care about you. They’re the types of messages that you want to be communicating in your play. Not “I see what you’re playing and that’s really good and well done. And I really like what you’ve done.” That’s not the role that that we should really be taking in the play. So it’s it is a subtle mindset shift.

Nicole McDonnell  

I love the way you’ve just described it because that is great. Actually what I found when doing Treasure Time with my boys and it was such a quick change and it suddenly wasn’t about what we were playing at all. It wasn’t about how to win the game, how to play the game, how to complete the puzzle, or how much detail so they put on a piece of paper.

I gradually was able to see Calum more and more for who he was. And what then was really magic was that we both found so much calmness and comfort in the play times together because we felt closer and closer and closer. And it was almost like we were seeing this relationship for the first time as a two way thing. And that seems almost totally ridiculous.

But the play became a tool to become closer to each other and this has been like magic fairy dust for our relationship!

Sophia Giblin  

Yes, there’s something that’s really useful to look at actually, when thinking about how to make play a little bit more interesting is to look at our seven principles of Treasure Time.

We’ve actually put these together as a little Instagram series that you can have a look at if you go over to our Instagram at @treasuretimeuk. And what we were doing is posting these principles as seven tips for calmer, happier children during lockdown.

Let’s talk just about the first principle which is letting the child lead. Now this is the most important principle because it sets the foundation for being a Treasure Time Parent and doing Treasure Time play. When we let the child lead, they can show us exactly how they want to do it. They can be in charge, and we don’t have to always be in charge and entertaining them. And when we allow them to do that it gives them a sense of control. It helps them to express themselves as they are as an individual. It helps them to feel develop a better sense of self. They think “what is it I like? What do I want to do? I get to choose”. In this sense, we take that more passive passenger seat role and let the child be the driver and let the child be the active one. And actually, it’s exhausting trying to be in charge all the time as parents, right.?

Nicole McDonnell  

I definitely agree with you there. Letting the child lead was something that I did really struggle with. And I like to be in control. I thought as a parent, it was my role to be in control and and it’s been a little bit of a minefield of unravelling what are the grown up responsibilities I definitely should have, and where I should let the boys lead you know, and I found that everything else flows more easily when I became this sort of more passive parent. I was so surprised it sounds crazy. But I was like, ‘wow, I’m trying so much less’, and I mean I am less involved in the play. I describe it as more of an ‘attentive companion’. And my enjoyment of the play became richer and richer, and I suddenly just love treasure time, I looked forward to it as much as the boys did!

And the magic again came when I got better and better at doing that in Treasure Times. Then I let it spill into the rest of our day to day life. And that that is really it was beautiful to see how things that were a struggle just stopped being so much of a struggle. It was like things just work. There was this lovely flow between me and the boys in a way that just didn’t exist before.

Sophia Giblin  

Yeah, I think there’s goings to be this, as you described it, need to be in charge or maybe the feeling of, ‘well, that’s my job as a parent to be in charge and to look after the boys and make sure that they’re learning and developing’. And that control that we have or perceived that we need can feel really hard to let go of.

But as soon as you give children the space and capacity to take charge and to be in the lead, if it feels so much better for them, and it feels so much better for us, it is the natural way things are supposed to be in play.

This is a really wonderful way of practising actually allowing children to be in charge, and allowing them to lead the play. We just follow, they’re the teacher where the student for a little bit, we can take a backseat, we can sit on our hands.

Something that I recommend that you do next time you’re playing with your child, even if you’re playing a game with rules (and we’ll talk about rules in a further session) but let the child be the person who’s teaching you so you just sit on your hands and you play. You don’t have all of the answers and you let the child teach you. So that’s the top tip from from Principle number one of Treasure Time, which is letting the child lead.

Nicole McDonnell  

Oh, thank you so much Sophia. So if any of our listeners can try out letting your child lead this week, try the first principle and post your experiences on Instagram, tag us @treasuretimeuk and you’ll be entered into draw to win the Treasure Time course and a year’s worth of membership to the exclusive Facebook community where you can access a weekly Q&A with Sophia. Don’t forget to add #TreasureTime and we can’t wait to hear how your experience goes.

Sophia Giblin  

Thank you so much for listening. Tune in for our next episode, where we will be covering the next principles from the Treasure Time sessions. So we’ll be going through all of the seven principles and these will also help you to have calmer, happier children during lockdown with some top tips.

Nicole McDonnell  

Thank you so much. Thanks listening. See you next episode!

Key Words

Play children parents playing time relationships lockdown connection teaching 


How a ‘day of mistakes’ can show your children that it’s OK not to be perfect during home schooling

Click here to listen to Episode 3

This episode looks at how we can support children develop resilience to overcome obstacles and frustration during home schooling by being light hearted and playful.

https://youtu.be/UO6rbrYG-hU

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team. Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook!

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “There’s been just so much change in our daily lives and let’s face it, we are parents and not trained teachers.” Nicole McDonnell

2. “The reality is that stressed children can’t learn, and stressed parents can’t teach” Sophia Giblin

3. “I tried out a ‘day of mistakes’ so the boys can see that I’m not perfect and sometimes need help too, which started with me wearing my glasses upside down and the boys were rolling around in hysterics. It helped to relieve the tension first thing in the morning, and we went on to have a brilliant day of home-schooling” Nicole McDonnell

4. “Resilience is such an important thing that we can all be teaching our children at this time, and we can do it in a fun, light-hearted and playful way” Sophia Giblin

Sophia

Hey, it’s Sophia and Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast: growing up happy.

Today’s podcast is all about helping children cope with distance learning at home school, following school closures. So Nicole, how did this episode topic come about?

Nicole 

So our first week of homeschooling. Wow, what an emotional roller coaster!

There’s been just so much change in our daily lives and let’s face it parents and not trained teachers.

Our school in particular has been absolutely fantastic. The support has been incredible. However, even with this amazing support, my son described his history lesson (one of his favourite subjects) that I delivered to him as “the worst history lesson EVER”.

So that was really sad, because he was so enthusiastic at the beginning of the lesson. There was a great PowerPoint to follow that he was reading. Harrison, his younger brother was really engaged in it too. But at the end of the day, it didn’t live up to his expectations of how it was going to pan out clearly.

I really tried my best you know, we’d be we have been really positive in the beginning of the week or the beginning of that day. But the reality is, all the parents I’ve been speaking to myself included, we’re dealing with different issues and needs including our own different emotional needs.

Then they struggle with the whole distance learning. As the children are trying to figure it out, I’m trying to figure it out. The reality of what a timetable for the week might look like for a family is now so different because suddenly we’re cooking three meals a day for seven days a week, you know, 21 meals, that is not what normally happens in the average household.

These two meals need planning in, and figuring out and time to prepare, then you do the actual work, you’ve got to upload it to Google classrooms.

Plus, parents are also trying to do that on jobs from home which were full time jobs or part time jobs. And they’ve still got all the washing and ironing and the other household admin that goes on.

So ultimately, this is this little pressure cooker that’s happening and even if you’ve got a positive spin on approaching this learning and homeschooling, it’s not school, and it’s so far removed from the environment, children are used to it is really challenging because it’s like everything’s been thrown up in the air and we’re trying to catch it in the right way. Some of its lands the right way up and others it’s just like a bombsite in the corner.

Sophia  

Well, there’s so much pressure on parents right now. So I think that we have to look at how we could bring a playful perspective back to this whole scenario, just so that we can relieve some of that tension and some of that pressure and we can talk today about how we can actually use play to help children’s learning.

Nicole  

That sounds really, really great, because if it was possible to defuse the tension that we can feel sort of brewing under the surface that would be really good. So how important is it that we go through all the learning?

Sophia  

So I guess it’s hard for me to say as not as a teacher, I can talk to you about it from a play therapists perspective. And definitely from a children’s emotional or mental health perspective.

The first thing to acknowledge is that children will be really confused at the moment about what’s going on. So trying to teach them anything, it’s going to be like, trying to do homework, times 100. And even doing homework with children can be challenging at times. But then you’ve got to do it five days a week, all day, to a timetable and complete lots of different thing – it’s, it’s just a lot.

If we think about where children are coming from as well, they might be finding it more of a challenge.

Sophia  

They’ll be stressed out by this whole thing because you have gone from being their parent to also their teacher. So you’re adding another hat, when you’re also all these other different people to the children. Particularly if they need you to be their comfort their home, their security right now, and you’re stressed and trying to teach them, it’s going to be challenging.

The reality is that stressed children can’t learn and stressed parents can’t teach. So, at this time, it’s really likely that you might see some relationship challenges appearing, because children aren’t reacting to you in the same way that they would react to their teacher. They’re reacting to you as their parent.

Nicole  

I’ve experienced that myself. When you say the challenges in the relationship and behaviour what are good examples of what that may look like?

Sophia  

If you imagine that your relationship with your child is not that of a teacher and child, you’re related, you’re their parent so you automatically are closer.

Obviously, the child has different needs from you than the needs they have from their teacher. The child will behave in ways that trigger you, of course, because you installed their buttons, and they know how to push the buttons.

It’s just the nature of the parent child relationship is a complex one. So, in times like this, when you are trying to get children to do schoolwork, and children or maybe thinking, “this is home, this is the place where I play. This is a place where I feel safe, and I feel happy, why are you trying to make me do this stuff that I don’t want to do?”

There will naturally be challenges and tensions that come up, because children can behave in certain ways at home that they aren’t allowed to behave in school. They’re naturally more expressive at home generally, and are more happy to tell you what they think of your history lesson than they would actually tell their teacher. They’re not going to say to the teacher, “that’s a boring history lesson” or “that was the worst history lesson ever”. They’ll be a bit probably be a bit more polite than that.

You might be starting to think as a parent, how is it my child’s teacher so good at this, and I’m so not? The reality is that it’s a totally different relationship.

You have to acknowledge that children will naturally be more open with their real feelings with you. In this time, children don’t have very much control. Children generally don’t have much control in life anyway, because they are under our watch. And we take care of them and we make sure that they’re safe. So sometimes, they want to do things that they’re not allowed to do because it’s not safe or it’s not the right time or for their own good. We keep them boundaries, and safe. And so in that sense, children don’t have a lot of control, but now even more so they have even less control because they can’t see their friends. They can’t go to the clubs after school. They can’t even go outside really.

Nicole  

I was interested at the end of the first week of homeschooling, Callum and I chatted about “how did he think it went, what would you like to do differently?” And he was sort of subdued in his response, but he just said “it went good. But it was much more difficult than I thought it would be Mummy.”

Sophia  

Yeah, it’s tough, right? It’s tough for everybody. It’s tough for you and them because they see you differently. You’re not their teacher, you’re the parent. So going back to that feeling of children being out of control, you’re likely to see more control struggles between parents and children at this time. Where we’re trying to get children to do things they’ll start to possibly rebel, or they might be quite rude, or they might struggle with their resilience at this time and actually getting the work done and feeling good enough because it’s a completely different environment.

Nicole  

Do you think in this new environment will children’s learning be impacted? How do you think it will be impacted?

Sophia  

I suppose in terms of advancing through the curriculum, potentially, they’re not going to cover everything that they would cover in school. The important thing to remember is that children are learning all the time, and they learn naturally through play anyway.

If you can allow your children at this time to be curious, and creative, and use their imagination and maybe learn in different ways, they will continue to learn, their brains will continue to develop, they’ll just learn things slightly differently.

I actually think it’s a brilliant opportunity to give your children more experiences at home with play and with creativity to see their imaginations flourish.

So actually, this is a good time for nurturing their imagination and creativity by allowing them to play and create things and try things out and go outside more maybe, or there’s all sorts of things you can do to play that will teach them different skills.

Nicole  

We’ve definitely seen our boys light up with dressing up and role play and playing football in the garden.

That’s when we’ve definitely been our happiest this week.

One thing that’s been a real struggle this week and in the contrast is the frustration of not getting it right first time or not, they almost want to just finish the work and get that done. And if it’s not done the way they want to, one of them my youngest son Harrison, he’s really struggling with that.

And how do we best deal with the children when they’re not happy with their work at home? They think it’s rubbish and they just want to keep starting it again and, a new piece of paper and it’s not something that I normally see in him to this great extent. It’s quite upsetting to see it’s troubling him, and it’s his older brothers suggesting things like “why don’t you just rub it out and start again?” Or “it’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”

Harrison quite articulately was able to say “it may not matter to you, you might think it looks good. I don’t. And it matters, what I think is important, and I don’t think it’s good.” And it’s like, “wow, you’ve managed to articulate that really clearly for somebody’s so young”, but it’s been really upsetting when we try to do three or four things in a row and he’s not happy with anything that he’s doing.

Especially when it’s pretty good stuff. He’s really actually very capable. So it’s very difficult and I find it very hard to handle it. And I don’t think I’ll be alone in this.

Sophia  

Yeah, it’s a tough one, isn’t it? It’s going to be a challenge for everybody.

I think Harrison’s hit the nail on the head, his feelings matter and his feelings count and it’s it really only matters to him if he thinks it’s good. So he’s got it right.

It really is the same for us. As adults, if somebody else tells us something that we do is really good, but we don’t like it, we don’t tend to believe it unless we believe it for for ourselves, that comes from a real internal sense of feeling good enough or being satisfied with with what it is that we’ve got.

There is something tied in there potentially with self esteem and how he feels about himself, but also with resilience, and the ability to not be perfect, as well. I think it’s important to acknowledge for for any child that’s struggling with their work not being good enough, that this is a different environment. They may feel like they need to impress you, maybe more than they would need to impress their teacher. First of all, they might be trying extra hard for you to get your praise or for you to give them some kind of compliment for what they’re doing.

But also for Harrison, it sounds like that’s not the case. He wants to feel good enough for himself. I think you can reflect back to your child “it’s really important to you that you get it right” or “it’s really important to you that you like it and it doesn’t matter what I think, it’s all about how you feel”.

Something that I recommended to Nicole this week, because she mentioned this to me earlier in the week about Harrison, children need to see that we’re not perfect as well as parents. They know that we might be feeling at this time that we need to be perfect.

We need to be the best teachers we can be. We need to be good at the cooking and the cleaning and doing our jobs and doing everything that you mentioned earlier in this episode, but actually allowing ourselves to make mistakes at this time too, and just recognise that we’re doing the absolute best that we can.

So what I recommended to Nicole was that actually she has a day of mistakes, where she lets the boys see her making mistakes, so that they can learn that it’s okay and and adults make mistakes too and everyone makes mistakes and it and it’s okay. Why don’t you tell us how that went Nicole.

Nicole  

It was it was really good actually because it was a it was a bad day.

I thought the idea of a ‘day of mistakes’, it was just so playful. And I thought I’m going to “yeah, I’m going to give this a go and tomorrow is going to be a really good day”.

I knew it was brilliant because the first mistake was that the children didn’t want to come from breakfast into the room where we’ve got the desk set up for learning in the morning. They’ve all kind of been a bit like Kevin, the teenager, and I just popped my glasses on upside down and then I started being really silly and was saying,

“Oh, I don’t know what’s happened. I can’t see everything properly. Where were your books? What’s going on? Oh can you help me I don’t know what’s going on!”

They just rolled about hysterical laughing. They were pointing and I pretended I didn’t know what they were saying and an eventually after loads of hysteria and fun, we got together and I was like

“My glasses! Oh, I can’t believe I made such a silly mistake. Oh, thank you so much. Oh, I must I was all wonky this morning”

It just helped chill us all out and the atmosphere from breakfast going into a room where we were going to suddenly do homeschooling, suddenly we were happy and jokey. And there was no tension it was it was brilliant.

And the boys don’t really like doing their work separately. They’re not old enough for me to explain and then they crack on and they need a bit more support.

So we’ve been doing Harrison’s work and then we’ve been doing Callum stuff together as a group of three and it’s worked really well. Then and it was it was a really good morning we got through a lot.

So we did Maths and English, we we had fun with it because we were all in a much better mood, quite frankly, we were light hearted. There was no big, drama or tension we’d experienced the day before where I almost had to beg them and drag them through doing it. It was it was totally different experience.

Then we stopped for a little break and we went outside to play football, which they’re loving and the sun was shining and, and I was like

“oh no, I don’t know how to kick the ball!”

and I basically I put my shoes on the wrong feet. And I was like,

“it really hurts. I can’t do it. The balls not going in the right direction!”

And again, they just kind of came up to me and they saw and they were giggling away, and they they were hugging me and we were joking and then I put my shoes on the right way.

Basically it set the tone for the day and there was loads of other silly things I did. And we just felt all we felt really happy on Wednesday. It was just it was lovely.

And when they came to a mistake, which I think is this was not an intentional mistake, but basically, I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve not actually done this before in the six years that I’ve used this oven to cook. I’ve never burnt myself, but I burnt my arm quite badly. And it really, really hurt and I needed a nice pack for like two three hours before it stopped burning and it blistered a bit.

It was it was pretty horrible. If I hadn’t done that oven burn on the day of mistakes, I would have reacted much grumpier much more sorry for myself. I know we’d have treated it a bit more seriously. But because I was so focused on being fun and playful and light hearted. I was like,

“Oh my goodness. I can’t believe I’ve made this mistake. This one really hurts. This is not a good mistake”

and the kids comforted me they were like “are you OK?”

But it wasn’t a drama and it was just something we got through together. We all kind of felt comforted, comforting each other and we helped each other. It was funny when I was trying to brush my teeth and I couldn’t wrap them in a towel after the shower, but we muddled through and I think that muddling through was not only just a brilliant day and message for the children.

We spoke about it at bedtime about what they liked, and what they thought was the funniest and what mistakes they thought they may end up making this week.

It gave us permission to to make mistakes and be okay and be playful with it and it was brilliant. So I thank Sophia so much.

I can encourage you more so have a day of mistakes it was it was really helpful especially the tension that we’re we’ve all got going on in our households right now. I’d love to hear other people’s days of mistakes.

Sophia  

Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s important that we just acknowledge that if our children are going to copy us and make mistakes that we contain it quite well.

So we don’t allow them to make mistakes when they’re going to hurt themselves, for example, but it’s more an opportunity for them to see you making making some silly mistakes that we all make and just not being hard on ourselves.

Because children will often copy our reaction to ourselves making mistakes and they will internalise those for themselves too.

So if we really hard on ourselves, it’s likely that children will be hard on themselves.

Nicole  

Yeah, it’s so so true. And it was really nice that bed tailing we said,

“Harrison, what are you going to do differently tomorrow? What would be really nice?”

We talked during the day it would be really nice If you could believe that it’s okay to make mistakes. And at bedtime, he remembered that conversation. He had a fun day. And he said,

“tomorrow, I’m going to believe it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes don’t matter.”

And I thought, Oh, that’s great, if at the end of this really challenging period for us all as a community, if we can come through and children like Harrison come through more resilient then that that would be the biggest lesson. And the only lesson he needs to have really.

Sophia  

Because even if he learns that one thing, and yet he’s behind on maybe some of his curriculum learning, that resilience will see him through to catch back up with it.

He won’t just give up at the first hurdle or the first opportunity when he finds it hard. So resilience is such an important thing. So I think we can all be teaching our children resilience through play at this time learning through play, giving them some control through play times. So there’s lots of things that we’re going to be peppering through this podcast series that you can actually implement and use that will help to develop children’s resilience at this time.

Nicole  

Thank you, Sophia.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast.

We hope you can follow us on Instagram @treasuretimeuk, like us on Facebook and if you’d like to look and find out more at treasuretime.co.uk.

You could always post on there your day of mistakes (with your children’s permission) and tag us @treasuretimeuk and you’ll be entered into draw to win the Treasure Time course and a year’s worth of membership to our exclusive Facebook community where you can access lots of advice and weekly live Q&A’s with Sophia.

Don’t forget to add #TreasureTime

Sophia  

Thank you so much for listening!

Tune in for our next episode where we’ll be talking about parents stress levels. And remember to click subscribe so you get notifications when our next episodes come out.

And we would love it if you could head over to iTunes and give us a lovely five star review and leave some words. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode!

Nicole  

Thank you so much. 

Keywords

Children parents play feel happy home-schooling resilience stress overwhelm confidence


Try this one game to help your child feel safe and secure during the pandemic

Click here to listen to Episode 2

This episode offers one practical play idea to help children create a feeling of safety and security at home during lockdown and the Coronavirus pandemic.

https://youtu.be/VrL_Hfewu70

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team. Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook for den making pictures!

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “We need to start with ourselves so we can then help our children to work their way through it” Sophia Giblin

2. “As parents it’s our natural instinct is to protect the children and help them feel safe and secure” Nicole McDonnell

3. “Children get their sense of psychological safety from us” Sophia Giblin

4. “I hope lots of children and family enjoy building dens over the next few weeks!” Nicole McDonnell

Shownotes

Sophia  

Hey, it’s Sophia and Nicole. Welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast: growing up happy. So today’s podcast is all about helping children to feel safe and calm. Nicole, how has this episode come about?

Nicole  

So this week so far has been a rollercoaster of emotions and such enormous changes to daily lives. It’s happened so quickly and not a lot of time to react or respond or process. And I’ve been talking to a lot of parents who are dealing with different emotional needs for their children and themselves as they try to process and make sense of it all.

Sophia  

It’s hard, isn’t it? I think we’re all trying to make sense of it. So it’s no wonder that our children are finding it difficult at times as we are still trying to figure it all out for ourselves as adults. I guess that’s where we need to start is with ourselves so that we can then help our children to work their way through as well.

Nicole  

Exactly. And that is really hard right now. Because as parents, your natural instinct is to protect the children and help them feel safe and secure. But the reality is, as parents, we are all feeling a certain degree of fear, or being really anxious of what the future may hold. And there’s lots of moments of positivity where you feel great and you’re like, it’s okay, this will be fine and then you ride that roller coaster and you’re back down into extreme fear.

So I think we’re all going through this cycle of different moments of fear during different parts of the day.

How do you think we can recognise when our children don’t feel safe? What will be we be able to see, how can we tell?

Sophia  

I think the first thing that we can distinguish is the between physical safety and psychological safety.

So physically, we might be safe, we might be in our homes, we might be washing our hands, doing all the things that we’re being told that we need to do. And also, we’re not in any physical danger if we’re looking after ourselves and keeping well.

So that can be something that breeds a bit of anxiety because there is the underlying fear of “what if it’s not all well”, right? That’s the physical part of it.

But I think that the bigger part of it here is that our sense of psychological safety has been shaken for everybody, particularly for us as adults because we everything is so uncertain and then there’s so questions that come up about it. What does this mean for us? What does this mean for our children? What does this mean for our jobs for our mortgages for the economy, all of this stuff, it breeds real psychological fear.

So when we’re thinking about our children, even though they may be physically safe, we’re keeping them physically safe, because that’s our job as parents, psychologically, they’re probably going through similar sorts of things that we are.

However, their sense of psychological safety comes from us from our ability to be secure and stable for them. So when children see us acting in ways that are out driven by fear, it can compromise their sense of psychological safety because all of a sudden, things are different things are not consistent. Things are not predictable. Our moods aren’t predictable. Children may be seeing us being fearful.

In terms of behaviours, we can notice it in adults as well. When we see people acting from a place of fear, we start to do things like stockpiling or hoarding toilet rolls, this is all behaviour that’s driven out of fear. And actually, I’ve been seeing it at the supermarkets, people having fights and shouting at each other. And it is because we’re all living in a little bit more of a fearful state.

So I think it’s useful to think about adults and children’s behaviours, because actually, we do the same behaviours all the time, it’s just that it’s more acceptable, usually, for an adult behave to behave in a certain way than it is for children to behave in a certain way.

So with children, we might see all kinds of behaviour. There are children that typically will up-regulate when they feel unsafe, which means that they’ll do more behaviours that look like them, potentially “attention seeking”, we might call it but I would call it “attachment seeking” looking for connection. So they might start to behave in ways that make them bigger and make them louder and make them more noticeable, because they really need us to see them and for them to feel safe and secure.

But then on the other hand, you have children who might down-regulate their behaviour, which means going internal, going inside, being quiet. That’s maybe what you would call “clingy” children sticking to parents and feeling more overly emotional than normal. There’s all kinds of things.

And I think the thing that we need to distinguish really is between what’s fear driven behaviour, because children are never just “naughty”, they’re always communicating a real need. And right now, the needs are to feel psychologically safe. In times when it’s confusing, and it is scary. Even as adults, when it’s confusing and scary for us, it’s even more confusing and scary for children because they don’t have the capacity to process in the same way that we do.

Nicole  

Yeah, and I think we are seeing this, I’m talking to even my personal experience, we are seeing that behaviour in both out adults and children.

What are the things that will feed into the child feeling unsafe right now? So we know what’s feeding into us as adults feeling unsafe, you only need to turn on the news. But what is it that children will be tapping into the feed into this feeling of their world no longer being safe for them?

Sophia  

It’s very similar actually to what it is for us as adults.

If we imagine ourselves as a safe haven, a safe space for our children, when we are calm and consistent and predictable and centered, really, our children tend to feel calm and centered themselves.

But when we go off centre and when we start to feel panicked and stressed, it has a real knock on impact. Children are so perceptive they pick up on so much. Even more so if they’re being exposed to conversations about how scary things are, or the news or more adult topics.

I understand obviously, this is something that we’re all going through right now. It’s something that children are acutely aware of, but it’s not something that they can really understand. The main thing we have to remember is to still treat children like children during this time.

Yes, it’s important to explain things to them, but in child friendly and age appropriate terms.

I think that sometimes we can get caught in a cycle of talking to children, about things that maybe they don’t necessarily need to know about. Or maybe we’re talking to them in a way that is too adult for them.

What I like to remind parents is that we can always bring it back to play and remember to be playful with our children, even if you’re wanting to explain what coronavirus is to your child, you could do it in a playful way, you could get out playdough and you could make what you think the corona virus actually looks like, or paint and straws where you could draw a splatter pictures about what a virus looks like whilst you explain it.

In these ways, you you’re talking the child’s language, so it’s less scary already, because they can understand things better through play than they can through talking. So I just recommend that we keep it playful with our children and we don’t over explain or over talk about things that are very adult around them or to them.

Nicole  

That’s a really good idea to get the Play Doh and make it make it a game as you explain it. I like that idea in all of the context of everything you’ve just said.

If there was one thing we could do to best help our children feel safe and secure what would you recommend parents do right now? In terms of a playful activity that you could do.

Sophia  

There’s something really lovely that will help children to feel safe and calm, and that is building a den.

It sounds like the most simple thing that you could do. But children will create their own little sense of safety within a physical space, particularly within the home.

So obviously, the home is a safe space. At this time, home might feel like also a little bit of a scary and unpredictable place because of everything that’s going on. So what we can do is create a little space within the home that is extra extra safe, that children can make themselves or they can make with you. And in that space, you can create a really lovely nurturing environment with them.

There’s all sorts of psychological reasoning for creating a den. It’s like creating a little womb space. It’s physical safety, emotional safety. And if you use that space as a nurturing space too, maybe do things like reading stories, or you could even do your coronavirus splat paintings or play doh in there. It’s like it provides an extra layer of sheltering for the children.

Nicole  

That’s really great. I think that’s so interesting my boys actually this week during one of the moments where I was trying to be playful with them, because I’m quite playful instinctively, but I have not been playful most of this week.

I’ve been hit by the fear stick too many times this week. And I was in a moment of trying to be playful and they gave the kids two or three choices of things we could do in the afternoon.

They chose to build the den and they got so excited and they spent a good 40 minutes playing, they got the blankets, they got the torches to use inside from camping, they have pillows and throws and they did it under the kitchen table. Then they moved all the chairs out made it a really massive den and positioned a pillow to be the front door and you know they were really excited by it and they actually took about 40 minutes building it together but the two of them before they even went inside.

Sophia  

That’s part of the play! It’s so interesting because children will do what they know they need in play. So it’s not really surprising then that your boys would pick to build a den in a time when it feels very unsafe. They would choose to play in a way that makes them feel safe. And part of that 40 minutes of building is actually 40 minutes of creating safety in it, from a psychology point of view or from a play point of view. That is the play.

Everything that comes afterwards is additional is nurturing it’s on top. It’s a layer but the actual building of the den is the creation of safety

Nicole  

It is so good, I hope loads of children, parents listening to this and lots of children enjoy building dens and their whole family’s doing it together over the coming weeks that’d be fantastic!

Sophia  

It’s super easy to do as well. All you need are some blankets and towels and throws some pillows and a space in which to do it.

Our job as parents is just to create the space and we can just allow the children to play within the realm of within the boundaries of the time that they have available and the physical space that they have available.

I just recommend then that anybody doing this with their child, just think about where your child might need their den. So Nicole said her boys made theirs under the kitchen table which was probably is okay until dinnertime right?

Nicole  

Then you need to clear the den away but I love what you were saying earlier. I’m creating it, and it’s something you go back to and read stories. So, you know, it’s making me think, gosh, I want to suggest doing that again, but doing it in a place that they could just leave it up.

Sophia  

Yeah, absolutely. You’ve got, obviously your two boys, maybe with a den that they built together. But you actually might even find that your children need their own den in their own room as well if they have it. Or if they’re sharing a room two dens in that same space so that they have their own as well, that might be important for some children.

Nicole  

It’s really good.

Sophia  

Also, the other thing is that if you don’t have a den or you don’t have the capabilities to make one, some children really love a little pop up tent as well. So it’s the same type of thing is that contained space that can feel really safe during this time. So I’d highly recommend some den building this week.

Nicole  

Thank you so much Sophia, that I’m looking forward to hearing about all the children across the country building dens.

If you could follow us on Instagram our handle is @treasuretimeuk, or like us on Facebook, you can find out more at treasuretime.co.uk. You can post your dens with your children’s permission, just tag us @treasuretimeuk you’ll be entered into draw to win the Treasure Time course and a year’s worth of membership to our exclusive Facebook community where you can get lots more advice and weekly live Q&A with Sophia. So don’t forget to add #TreasureTime and we look forward to seeing you next time.

Sophia  

Thank you so much for listening.

Remember to go to iTunes and click subscribe so you get notified when our new episodes come out. And we’d love it if you could head over to iTunes to give us a five star review and say some lovely words. And in our next episode, we’ll be talking about home-schooling and distance learning. So we look forward to seeing you there.

Nicole  

Thanks so much. Bye.

Keywords

Children parents play feel happy home-schooling play den home boys fear challenges safe


All you need to know about the Treasure Time Podcast, Growing Up Happy

Click here to listen to Episode 01

An introduction to Sophia Giblin and Nicole McDonnell, Founders of Treasure Time, talking about what listeners can expect from the Treasure Time podcast and how we can help parents support children to develop resilience through play and connection.

https://youtu.be/tF0d0ElAhVI

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiagiblin/

A creative entrepreneur who focuses on ways to tackle the root of children’s mental health through play and secure relationships. Due to her own challenging experiences in childhood, Sophia went on to establish a thriving Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity to support other children who have experienced trauma. Her focus is on helping therapists, businesses and charities have more of an impact for children and families that they work with through coaching, strategy, fundraising and mentoring.

Nicole McDonnell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcdonnellnicole/

Nicole is a mum to two young boys, who also has over 20 years of brand marketing experience. She is a previous Chair Trustee at Clear Sky Charity and has past experience on the Ella’s Kitchen board.  Her roles have included Marketing Director, Head of Ella’s-ness, Global Brand Director with responsibility of creating and building one brand inside and out – including the wellbeing and culture of the team. Nicole was instrumental in growing Ella’s into a multi-million pound international business, driven by the mission of creating healthy children.

About Treasure Time

Our vision is to drive connected, happy parent-child relationships, for the benefit of the whole family. Our mission and passion is to educate parents in how to become happy, mindful and confident in connecting with their own children through play.

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook!

Value bombs and tweetables:

1. “On reflection after working with Sophia, I realised that I was actually quite a frazzled parent because I was trying to be too much to too many.” Nicole McDonnell

2. “After I lost my Mum as a teenager, I was expected to be able to talk about it in the same way that an adult would, and I just didn’t have the words.” Sophia Giblin

3. “I recognise that my boys are still just little children. And they need a childlike way to work through their feelings.” Nicole McDonnell

4. “Nicole and I strongly believe that we can equip parents with vital therapeutic play skills that they can use at home, anytime, anywhere, with any child.” Sophia Giblin

Transcript

Sophia  

Welcome to our Treasure Time Podcast: growing up happy. You’re here with me, Sophia Giblin

Nicole  

and me, Nicole McDonnell, Founders of Treasure Time. We’re here to offered support on building your children’s resilience at this really difficult time, as we’re all struggling to adjust to the impact on our families and local communities.

We’ll be providing you with two episodes a week. Listen out for Sophia Nicole on a Tuesday and Thursday for a bite size tips and activities that you can really easily implement straightaway at home to help support your family’s mental and emotional health and well being.

Sophia  

Nicole and I came together working for Clear Sky Children’s Charity, which is a Play & Creative Arts Therapy charity that I set up in 2010.

I set up the charity to support children who have experienced trauma because I wanted to help them find new ways of expressing themselves and any difficult feelings. and experiences that they might have had in a playful and creative way.

After all, children only have limited vocabulary and experience to express themselves. I set up the charity because I have my own experience of childhood trauma after losing my Mum as a teenager, there wasn’t enough support around for myself or my younger siblings at the time when we needed it the most. And even as a teenager, I was expected to be able to talk about things that were difficult for me in the same way that an adult would, and I just didn’t have the words.

So I went on to train as a Play Therapist.

As a Play Therapist I’m always interested in how we can help children to grow up healthy and happy, especially looking after their mental health in challenging times during their young lives.

Nicole  

And as a Mum of two boys at primary school, ages six and eight, I’m always interested in how best to support them in growing up happy too.

So when I met Sophia, it was when I joined Clear Sky Children’s Charity and I was in the position and role of Chairman on Sophia’s Board of Trustees.

We worked together for three years and I was trying to do my bit volunteering after I just left Ella’s Kitchen. I was sales and marketing director there on the boards of of that business.

I didn’t expect to gain so much myself from the experience of working at Clear Sky. Sophia really helped me to see and reflect my own parenting style.

I learned a lot and on reflection, I realised that I was actually quite frazzled because I was trying to be too much to too many. It was really helpful and I went on to learn lots of tips that I implemented with my boys resulting in big changes way better behaviour, much closer relationship and and genuinely calmer day to day lives.

As a Mum, I’m still keen to learn more and always looking out for the most effective ways to help my boys deal with difficult feelings, whatever they might be arising from. So whether that’s their friendships or challenges within the school environment or their own behaviour. Yet I realise they are still just little children. And they need a childlike way to work through these feelings.

Sophia  

That is exactly why I studied Play Therapy. That’s why I went on to set up a children’s charity that is all about helping children to grow up healthy and happy through play.

But there are only so many children’s therapists out there. Nicole and I strongly believe that we can equip parents with vital therapeutic play skills that they can use at home, anytime, anywhere, with any child.

Nicole  

So basically, in each episode, I’ll be asking Sophia questions on topics that are really close to all our hearts as parents, especially those united challenges we’re facing, that are presenting themselves much more acutely right now in these unprecedented times, so that we can all get a really playful and practical perspective on how we might manage these feelings for the benefit of everyone in our family.

Sophia  

We also have a Treasure Time course, which is actually something that I studied as a research piece for my Master’s in Play Therapy.

You can access this course through our website, treasuretime.co.uk.

Over the next six weeks, you can actually enter a competition to win access to the course. We’ll be giving away one every week to our listeners. In this podcast series, you can expect us to be covering topics which cover the six pillars of Treasure Time. These six pillars are things that all children need to grow up healthy and happy, and they are curiosity and creativity

empathy and understanding,

self esteem and confidence,

independence and initiative,

managing feelings and resilience

cooperation and kindness.

And if you want more content, including live q&a with me, Sophia, you can join our exclusive Facebook community membership.

Thank you so much for listening. We hope you’ll join us and tune in to our Treasure Time Podcast to help your children to grow up happy.

Keywords

Children parents play feel happy home-schooling calm resilience therapy parenting relationship connection


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