Monthly Archives: May 2020

Helping parents “quit the chaos” through mindfulness

Listen to Episode 12 here

In this episode we talk to Nikki Wilson, Founding Mother Zen at 10 of Zen, with some top tips to help parents ‘quit the chaos’ through

https://youtu.be/RGr8CWAQ7L4

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.

About our guest

Nikki Wilson

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikki-wilson-9571086/

Nikki is the founder of 10 of zen – a new social business providing mindfulness tools and training to help mums to stress less and love more. Nikki focuses on soundbite sessions lasting 10 minutes or less, covering hots topics like how to slow down and manage big emotions. I run a zen squad, train professionals working with women and deliver regular workshops UK-wide. Did you know that Nikki is also leading the growth of Make Birth Better – a unique collective of parents and professionals dedicated to ending suffering from birth trauma, who focus on campaigning, education and research.

Resources

Treasure Time website 

Treasure Time digital course for parents

Treasure Time Instagram 

Treasure Time Facebook 

10 of Zen website 

Free meditation tools from 10 of Zen 

Value bombs and tweetables:

The way I like to describe mindfulness is that mindfulness is the art or the practice of becoming more aware of our present moment experience and learning to welcome what we find with a kind and open heartNikki

– What I thought was super fascinating when I was doing my master’s research was that parenting mindfulness can break that transmission of trauma and insecure attachments. So the studies show that parents who practice mindfulness and presence can give, give it to them that sense of security, which impact down the generations which is so incredibleSophia

It was during those treasure time play sessions that I recognized that I didn’t ever give myself time to just beNicole

 I started to build in 10 minutes meditation a day… And it’s exactly what you were saying Nikki it’s the one thing that seems to be perfect in the toolkit, it just resets me and something just works Nicole

So the only way to create lasting change in healthy habits is to start really, really small. So I’m talking about rather than saying I’m going to meditate every day for the next 20 days, start with setting an intention to take three deep breaths when you wake up in the morning so ideally piggybacking something, so maybe my commitment is going to be to savour the flavour of my cup of coffee every day. My commitment is going to be to walk a bit more slowly between the moment or I get off the train into my office. To start with small realistic take that piggyback on something they are already doing. That is the best quick fire way to put a mark in the ground around a behavioural habit – Nikki

We’re always saying, “Let your child be your play teacher”. So now we can let our children be our mindfulness teachers, too. We can learn so much from them – Sophia

Keywords

Mindfulness meditation parents habit day zen sit feel brain podcast life mum help fall

Shownotes

Sophia

Hey, it’s Sophia,

and Nicole.

Sophia 

Welcome to the Treasure Time Podcast Growing Up Happy, today we have a very special guest. We’re so happy to introduce the wonderful Nikki Wilson. Nikki is a mindfulness coach and founder of the social business 10 of Zen 10 of Zen provides mindfulness training to mums so that they can stress less and love more. Hi, Nikki, so nice to see you.

Nikki

Hello. Thank you for having me.

Nicole 

On Nikki, we’re so happy to have you here. And there are some really beautiful links between treasure time play and mindfulness for mums. But the both of them ask you to kind of tune into the moment and be present. So can you tell us Nicky a little bit about your journey to start up 10 of zen, and what actually is mindfulness?

Nikki 

Yeah okay, brilliant. Of course I can. It would be a pleasure. So I’ll answer the second question first, if that’s okay, so generally speaking, most mindfulness teachers will give a similar interpretation. But the way I like to describe mindfulness is that mindfulness is the art or the practice of becoming more aware of our present moment experience and learning to welcome what we find with a kind and open heart. And that second part is really such a fundamental part of the practice, in my humble opinion, and you know, it can be split in two ways. Either it can be that the actual seated meditation practice or, or and or integrating mindfulness activities into your everyday life, ideally, both. And you’ll certainly find it easier to integrate into your life if you’re doing the sitting down stuff as well. So in terms of my journey, in a nutshell it’s a hard one. I do like to take people all the way back, you know, a small number of 36 years because it is relevant to the journey but in summary, I come from a long line of anxious souls. So that’s the kind of the nature part of things. And then from a nurture perspective, I grew up in a home where there was a lot of difficulty. My parents were in a very unhappy marriage. We lost my brother when he was just four. So there was a lot of turmoil in my early years. And throughout my teens, I basically developed this kind of relationship with stress, which I was kind of familiar with although at that stage didn’t really know what stress was. And I kind of developed this almost kind of addiction to doing what some writers on stress call this kind of challenger response. So I was always the first to put my hand up was always a joiner in-er kind of quickly fell into that overachiever kind of category. So in many ways, my relationship with stress and trauma actually didn’t hold me back in so much as you know, I never fell apart into 55 million pieces and age 28 became the kind of young CEO of an organization called Wings for Life, grew that into a very successful charity. And then I became a mum. And like so many of us something crazy happens where you’re like past world and your present well just collide, like some cataclysmic collision, at least for some of us anyway. And I had a very difficult birth experience like so many people do. And in that process, had a moment or a few hours where I definitely thought it was my time to tap out, so to pass away and to leave my very new family. And what that triggered in me was, though I didn’t know at the time was postnatal PTSD. So basically, I went from you know, that kind of young, capable in inverted commas, whatever that means CEO to leave my own bedroom without having a panic attack, in fact, not even be able to look out the window, because everything was too stimulating and everything was highly sensitized. So basically, I would say my life hit an all time low. And I definitely, you know, those two missions around stressing less than loving more are really born for me out of that stage in my life where my stress response was off the roof I’ve never experienced anything like it. And my kind of love stuff as I talked about, it was totally rock bottom. So in the process of putting my life back together, I leant on lots of different tools. And they often talk about makeup, medication, meditation as being the three things I went on especially hard especially in my return to work a number of months later, and basically the meditation out of everything that I’ve sat with over the last six years the meditation has stuck as a habit because it is and continues to be one of the most reliable things in my wellness toolkit that helps me to essentially often talk about kind of shifting gears to take my mind and offer my body from fifth, at least on into third occasion to second anyways, never into first. I’m not sure I can do first. But really, that’s really where it came about. So we started to take this regular 10 minutes of mindfulness. My son and my husband started saying, oh, Mum, mommy’s gone for that 10 of zen again, and then a couple of years ago, I thought, you know what, I love this stuff so much that I want to found this as a business and start sharing 10 of zen with others. So that’s how I’ve got to where I am today.

Sophia 

Thank you, Nikki. Gosh, what an incredible journey. You’ve had and you know, we’re I think we really speak the same language when we’re talking about trauma and coming out the other end of it as an adult, if you’ve got unprocessed stuff out, well, how also you can turn something really difficult into something so positive for other people. I really relate to your story. And something that I think is really fascinating and you know, I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the finding out what it is in childhood that makes a real difference. What is it that makes children grow up healthy and happy. And what I kept coming back to was this parent child relationship, and the security of attachment between parents and children that has such positive outcomes later in life. What I thought was super fascinating when I was doing my master’s research was that parenting mindfulness can break that transmission of trauma and insecure attachments. So the studies show that parents who practice mindfulness and presence can give, give it to them that sense of security, which impact down the generations which is so incredible. You If we think about an intervention that’s really early an early intervention and will make a difference mindfulness is exactly that. And that we talked on this podcast before about kind of parenting from your own parenting blueprint and doing things automatically. We don’t even know where it’s coming from sometimes. And, you know, we might hear our own parents, words coming out of our mouth. And, you know, that tends to be the default, but it’s entirely possible to change that when we reflect and become aware of our behaviour. So what I think’s amazing about that is even if you’ve had a rocky start yourself, you don’t have to give that experience to children. But I’d be really interested to know, have you found that practicing mindfulness has changed your relationships at home?

Nikki 

Hmm, really interesting. Yeah. Thank you. And I probably feel like I need to pay dues to my mum at this point. And I would say that I basically, you know, strongly believe that the reason that I’ve never totally lost my I don’t know what a polite way of saying would be but you know what I mean because she was it continues to be an incredibly natural parent and you know, she was such a strong source of security for me growing up. So I have to say that that helps in terms of how I feel in my kind of comfort zone with parenting. Really interesting in terms of those relationships at home. The first thing that comes to mind is the banter actually, the banter that my husband gives me around all things mindfulness, because he is by no means a Zen geek. But in terms of our relationship, although I’ve never actually said this to him what it prompted in me there was really realising that often I’m not really listening to what he’s saying. And you know, understanding that the more you show interest in deep listening and your partner, the more that they will do the same to you and I’ve made a very deliberate shift in in our conversations to realize or Nikki you’re doing that thing where you’re still thinking about something else and try and draw myself back in and ask him really meaningful questions. And so it’s really helped me that way. And then with the kids, I mean, so many different things I would say it’s helped me to recognize in similar way to my husband that there’s a theme here where my mind is very distracted. And to note that and to actively try and shift it where I can it’s definitely helped me to sit with the more challenging emotions that tough stuff you know, the natural emotions that come up, be it tiredness be it anger, be it that, that sense of letting go and needing to live with change. And then one of my favourite things actually is what I often call this, this idea of banking the best bits. So when I’m in a more mindful state with my kids I feel able to hone in on the smaller details. And notice the small things that that that that matter the most, you know, little things like the colour of their eyebrows and the little hairs above the top of their lips or the different shades of colour in their hair or whatever that might be but those little things are the things I tried actively notice as much as I can.

Sophia 

So lovely actually that’s something we talked about in treasure time and you know, that sort of that that really noticing and then reflecting it back to them as well. Really lets children feel like “I am seen.”  Which is so lovely. Thank you for sharing that.

Nicole 

Yeah, no, thank you so much, Nikki. There’s so much of what you’ve said is really resonated with me definitely that you know, operating at that gear five and meditation bringing me back down to probably a three or two I’m very similar to you don’t think I operate or can operate not yet anyway in first gear, but I actually started doing the treasure time course and everything Sophia taught me before I got into the meditation, which is really interesting because it was when I was able to be present with my boys, Callum and Harrison in those play sessions during those treasure time play sessions that I recognized that I didn’t ever give myself time to just be. And there was a few moments where I dropped him off at school and I sat on my sofa in the lounge and I thought gosh, we’ve been in this house for a few years and I don’t recall a time I’ve sat on the sofa during the day ever and actually paused and had any time for reflection because I know Just operating on 100 so I definitely struggled to kind of sit on my hands and I was in the habit of, you know, long lists achieving lots during etcetera and so that transition to treasure time play at first I found it really hard to sit on my hands and just observe. Then I started that I built in 10 minutes meditation a day. And I’m now actually on just over 220 days straight doing it every day. And it is my it’s exactly what you were saying that Nikki is the one thing that seems to be perfect in the toolkit that gives me it just resets me and something just works. I don’t really understand enough about the science behind why it works, but it does really work for me and the bit that you said that really, really put a sparkle in my eye, was noticing all those little things about your kids. And I said to Sophia that treasure time and meditation for me as a combo I feel like I’ve, I almost missed that early years, to be honest. And I really see them now, for them, not just for these two boys that live in my life, but I know see who Callum and Harrison are. And I’m not trying to change or control what I see I’m trying to enjoy that relationship and make the most out of that relationship. And that’s definitely a gear shift. That I don’t think without treasure time and meditation, I would have been able to have achieved, so it has been a journey. What advice which you know that would you specific to my experience there. But look, looking at everything you’ve gone through in your journey. What advice would you give to parents about practically fitting this team into say that the working day you know the reality when they’re juggling so many different priorities? It’s certainly taken me along quite a long time to make it work for me, do you have any specific advice that would help because we do get a lot of, I’m already I’m already so frazzled I can’t fit another thing and what do you mean? You know, and it’s how do you had you tap into that?

Nikki 

Yeah, really good question. And you hear that a lot around, you know, it just another thing to do. And obviously, the likes of headspace and others will say something like I know one of the pop ups I had on there once or something along the lines of rather than thinking of it is something else to do consider it as the one time of day where you don’t have to do anything at all. Although I have to say that the way I relate to it more is that it is something I have to do. Its that kind of thing for me a lot. I could talk for hours on that topic, but there’s a few little nuggets, I would say is, first of all, we all fall into quite clear categories around how we as personalities will relate to habits. So it sounds to me, Nicole, I know I’m what an author called Gretchen Rubin would call an upholder. And I think you’re probably the same Nicole. But that’s one of four types. Okay, there. There are many others in there too. So I think it’s questioner, rebel, I can’t remember what the other one is.

Sophia

I’m a rebel!

Nicole

Yeah okay

Nicole

Sophia’s identified straightaway!

Sophia 

Yeah I did the quiz!

Nikki 

Yeah, you did the quiz. Okay, so “they’ve told me do it. I’m not gonna bloody do it.” That’s that kind of rebel you know, you’re less likely to do something the more someone tells you to do. And I think it’s so important that we open up to that knowledge about ourselves because it’s very easy for us to fall quickly into that comparison trap around this work think oh but you know, Nicole has done 220 days and I can’t do one, oh lordy me you know. So understand a little bit more about how you relate to your habits and start with a really really, really realistic goal. My best advice to parents is a ‘catch it when you can’ philosophy most of us don’t have a life which affords the ability to perhaps sign off try I’ve actually tried this you know, setting the alarm getting up extra early try and fit that in. That doesn’t work for me sleep is actually more important than meditation in that in that rank.

Nicole

Yes totally agree.

Nikki

Yeah. So look for your window. I take my ten of zen and in the car before I’ll, you know if ever arrive early for school pickup or pick up from the child minder, I’ll take it in between meetings if there’s a little slot, I used to always take it on my commute when I was going into London. And I will look for the first free window. So interesting on a Monday, it nearly always falls at the beginning of my work day, because I’m in, you know, week one of the week, by the end of the week. I’m literally like, Oh, you know, it’s Friday afternoon. I still haven’t taken it. Sometimes I’ll sit down on my cushion in the middle of the lounge with the kids around me. Because it’s more important that they see me doing it and that it gets done than it is me waiting for that tranquil moment where all everything is in place. Okay, so that’s always my best advice to people.

Nicole 

It is so true that good enough moment, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Nikki 

Yes! It doesn’t have to be perfect, that is really fascinating. Actually, just as an experiment just sitting on the floor in the middle of your kids. They do start ignoring you after a little while after they climb to top your head. But the other thing, which is science based the case of this is from the work of a behavioural scientist called BJ Fogg and he talks about this idea of starting stupid small. So the only way to create lasting change in healthy habits is to start really, really small. So I’m talking about rather than saying I’m going to meditate every day for the next 20 days, start with setting an intention to take three deep breaths when you wake up in the morning so ideally piggybacking something, so maybe it’s my commitment is going to be to savour the flavour of my cup of coffee every day. My commitment is going to be to walk a bit more slowly between the moment or I get off the train into my office. To start with small realistic take that piggyback on something they are already doing. That is the best quick fire way to put a mark in the ground around a behavioural habit.

Nicole 

Ah that’s excellent Nikki, that sort of how it definitely happened for me because it’s taken me it took me probably, you know a good 12 months before it became a habit and it was I’m going to try doing it when I brush my teeth, no it’s not happening in the morning I’m going to try to do here for me ended up being when I dropped the kids at school and I could drive home. So a 10 minute drive. It’s not perfect to do it when you’re driving, but actually, it was better than not doing it at all. And then eventually I found a space where it was helping me enough to carve out time but it you know it was it was not an overnight thing these habits

Nikki 

That’s the science the call and also you know to drop a bombshell. You’re gonna fall off the Zen train love it’s gonna happen. 220 days I don’t know what it’ll do to you when you fall off? We all do!

Nicole

Do you think I’ll be stressing about it, that’s sort of my irony

Nikki 

yes you will be you will be. That’s I guess sometimes the things that I don’t like about the apps is they’ve made it a very kind of westernized, individualized kind of style. You know that holding you to account on the number of days it’s kind of it works because they’re trying to tap into to that sense of, of accountability to an app. But ultimately, you know, we need to talk about the fact that it is hard, it is hard to maintain a habit.

Nicole 

I’ll be phoning you when I fall off the wagon!

Nikki 

You can! That’s what I like to do is help people back on the zen train

Nicole 

That’s brilliant. Absolutely love it.

Sophia 

So we touched a little bit there on the science of meditation and mindfulness but what Is the science, does meditation actually change the brain in any way?

Nikki 

Yes, I think the best way to this, there’s a couple of important things. First of all, we have to be very cautious of what I call zen wash. So everyone loves a headline about how you know it’s transformed the neurology of their brain so on, there is no getting away from the fact that the more hours you sit and meditate, the greater the change within your brain. And we know that now from science so the monks and the Yogi’s the people living a spiritual way of life will have fundamentally changed the structures in their brain. In a way, that’s someone that taps in to, let’s even say my Zen squad, like once a week that brain change won’t necessarily have occurred yet. However, what we know is there’s a number of processes that occur both in the brain and throughout the body. So the best way is to just do an actual little demo. So let’s start with A, which is awareness. And what I’d like you to do, just as you’re listening, is to just make your awareness kind of wide and receptive. And I’d like you to just do a 180 with your head, okay? And what you’re trying to do is just notice this room or this space around you. And in particular, it’s always really helpful to look for the light and the shade and look for spaces where you perhaps see some shadows being cast or the light falling in an interesting way. So what happens when we purposefully direct our attention in this way, is what we’re doing is we’re shifting ourselves out of our limbic brain where your amygdala sits, yeah, the fear centre and you’re moving yourself more into your prefrontal cortex, the space which is essentially like the conductor for our brains. It’s the clever bit is the wise bit Is the rational bit. It really is the reason or one of the reasons new from the kind of neurological perspective that you feel that gearshift Nicole, because you’ve taken yourself out of the stress centre and into your frontal brain. Okay. So the next thing to do is to take a really good couple of purposeful breaths for me. And if you can see if you can make your out breath long and smooth and try and just breathe out for a bit longer than you breathe in, almost until you can feel those tummy muscles contract. What’s happening as we take a few of those purposeful breaths and this time, we’re talking more about the nervous system. So when we regulate our breathing, and especially when we deliberately elongate that out breath, we’re tapping into our parasympathetic sympathetic nervous system. So that’s opposite to the stress centre. And the sympathetic nervous system is where your rest and digest system sits and your Vegas nerve that runs from the base of the head down to the down through the spine, into the diaphragm. Basically, as you slow your breath, you are sending messages, particularly to your heart to slow down. That’s one of the reasons that you get a greater sense of calm often. And then the last thing because you know, I love the love stuff. So just rub your hands together for a moment creates a bit of warmth in the hand, and then just place one hand or two over that heart centre. And all I want you to do just for a moment is just to notice and feel that connection. Between the hand and the heart, just feel one or two rise, falls at the chest.

And then if it’s not too weird, you can almost just add a tiny bit of soothing touch, just kind of move your hand around the heart centre a little. So this part of mindfulness meditation and at least the way that I teach it, this is about your caregiving system, the innate system that lives in all of us that we’re born with that responds to soothing tones, to touch, and quite helpfully, our brains, our bodies are not really clever enough to know that much of a difference between you placing your hand on your heart like that and somebody else doing it. So it’s a really gentle way of just tapping into your caregiving system. And that sense of kind of nurture that lives within. And just to inject a little bit of that kindness back into you. Because more often than not, especially when you’re engaging in this type of, you know, proactive conscious parenting, you’re giving and you’re giving and you’re giving, and it’s as if not more important that you’re offering something back to yourself as well. So there you go, that’s a bit on the science-y stuff.

Sophia 

That was absolutely lovely. Thank you so much. Really enjoyed that.

Nicole 

That was really great. Me too. Me too. Nikki, these are such important skills for us all to learn. I actually feel really good after that, really calm and be really content. And it’s amazing to just know how it actually changes the brain like that’s, that’s incredible. And I love the way you’ve explained how, because that is the biggest difference, I think becoming a parent the amount of, you know, give, give, give, give, give, give. And it is really common for parents to forget about nurturing themselves. So that’s a really fantastic quick little activity that we can all fit in. I really hope lots of our listeners will try that and pepper it throughout that we can and see how it benefits them. Do you have any other like activities like that, that that we’ve just done that could that we could do with our children to help them and teach them sort of mindfulness skills really young so that it becomes they’re not learning it in their 40s like me, but it’s part of their lives.

Nikki 

I always like to be really honest about this in terms of how I have chosen to integrate it with my kids. So I don’t really do anything deliberate in this space. And first and foremost because us modelling it to them is the single most important thing in terms of them knowing it’s something that mummy does kind of sitting down. The way I tend to include this is, in some ways it’s more selfish. So for example, let’s say I know that for some reason, when I’m driving from Thomas’s school or to Matty’s child minder, I can feel their anxiety start to rise in me. Not sure what that’s about haven’t gone there yet. But it’s pretty reliable. So what I do as a as a kind of mindful grounding technique is on that drive, I will start looking purposefully looking at the windows of the car and noting things to Thomas such as “Thomas Have you noticed that that building up there, it’s got bits on the roof, or can you look all the different types of colours in the trees as we go past is that really interesting” and what it allows me to do is to a spark a conversation and it allows me to ground myself in the moment and bring him with me too. So I do that and then on the occasions where I do try to be a bit more proactive and deliberate about it, I simply just sow it in to whenever we are out and about so even if I’m not feeling anxious often if you know your mind is often wandering it can be really helpful just to pick out different things and remember these three things, see, hear and feel. So what can you see, what exactly is catching your eye and the space around you? Is it the light the trees? Is it the snail that’s down there on the bottom? What can you hear, kids are amazing at this. And I actually did do did this a little thing with the kids a few days ago, and it will make you laugh because as we’re in the midst of COVID-19 I went out the back gate and I said “Matty what can you hear?” and he said, “I can hear a man coughing.” I was like, Really!? I know seriously, like a practical joke. I was like, that’s not gonna make me feel more mindful. See, hear and feel. So that’s, you know, touch What can you feel? You know what does sand feel like between your toes? What does it feel like to on a cosy sofa? What does that you know, what does that ground feel like? So, see, hear and feel always really, really good thing just to keep in the back of your mind and really just to sow it in. But first and foremost, perhaps more than anything I’ve said so far. Your children are your best mindfulness teachers. Because as children they are within every moment by and large. And so letting them lead you in your practice is beautiful and is so effective and allowing yourself permission to enter into those conversations when they do say, oh, wow, there’s an ant inside the house or

wow, look, there’s a bird up on that tree or whatever that is.

Sophia 

That’s awesome. Thank you. And you know, that’s so in line with the treasure time principles. We’re always saying, Let your child be your play teacher. So now we get let our children be our mindfulness teachers, too. We can learn so much from them.

Nicole 

Every day’s a school day!

Nikki

It really is.

Sophia

Nikki, thank you so much for coming on the treasure time podcast. This has been fascinating and really, really helpful. And I think there’s so much that everybody can learn from being still, as you’ve said, and you know, I think your tips and advice would be really helpful for the parents out there listening to this podcast. So thank you very much. Now everybody listening can you hear more from Nikki inside the treasure time course she actually runs a meditation for us in One of the modules, you can also go to her website, ten of zen calm to access free meditations and check out the monthly mindfulness membership for mums, which is the Zen squad. Is that right Nikki?

Nicole 

That’s right. Yes.

Sophia 

Yeah. Thank you so much.

Nicole 

Thank you so much, Nikki. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a brilliant finale. So what is our last episode of the treasure time podcast in season one. So thank you for being a super guest and teaching us so much we’ve had a blast creating all these episodes for you listeners, and exploring what the children need together to grow up healthy and happy and it really is as simple as our presence and being with them and letting them leads in the family and enjoying all the little wonders that are of our little explorers. It may be very difficult times right now but the times that I’m certainly happiest at the moment is getting into the zone of the kids and going on those journeys that you’ve just described, Nikki, it’s where we’ve, you know, we’ve sat in the garden and looked at the sky and listen to the birds. And I don’t know if anybody else has noticed, but you can really hear the birds song at the moment is, it’s beautiful. So I hope everyone has a really good time, taking on board all this great advice we’ve had today. Thanks, Nikki.

Nikki 

Thank you so much for having me, ladies. It’s been a total pleasure. And I love meeting kind of kindred spirits that just kind of get this stuff. So yeah, thank you so much.

Sophia 

Thanks, Nikki. Now this is a really incredible time for myself and Nicole as we launch treasured time out into the world. This has been a 10 year journey for me of self discovery, studying and learning and practicing what works when it comes to Using play to help children to grow up happy, and treasure time started off as an idea around Nicole’s kitchen table as I helped her with her boys. And then it became a primary research master study of mine for my play therapy studies, two years of learning and evaluating before being born into the innovative digital course that it is today.

Nicole 

That gives me tingles hearing that. We know that treasure tame has the potential to change countless lives over the globe using the power of play. So as a real welcome into our treasure time family, we’d love to invite all have our lovely listeners to join our Facebook community where you get live weekly q&a with Sophia. They’ve probably been a number of questions that have come up for you for the course of the podcast as you’ve maybe thought about your own family yourself your situation. And now you get the opportunity to ask the expert as it were or play expert Sophia are closed online community. So really nice safe space of kindred spirits, as Nicky said. So to join, you just need to go on the treasuretime.co.uk/resources and click the link to join in.

Sophia 

And I really look forward to seeing you all inside the inside the group and answering your questions and also sharing lots of tips and ideas and play opportunities a real nice place to support each other. And Nicole and I can’t wait to help more parents and children treasure their time together through childhood play. So make sure you head over to the website as Nicole said, find the link to join and we look forward to seeing you there.

Nicole 

Thank you so much for joining us in this podcast series treasure turns very first, it’s by no means the last of the treasure time podcasts. We hope we’ll be back with you more content coming soon. So do hop over to iTunes or Spotify and click to subscribe so that you’ll be notified when we’re back. In the meantime, take really good care of you and yours

Sophia 

Thank you Bye for now. See you next series.

Nicole

Bye!


Are you an ‘emotional thermostat’ or a thermometer?

Listen to Episode 11

In this episode we discuss the differences between being an emotional thermostat and a thermometer. It’s important that we can recognise when we are behaving like a thermometer and unable to regulate our emotional temperature!

https://youtu.be/yZQDAwIq0Dw

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 for parents

Treasure Time Instagram

Treasure Time Facebook Group

Treasure Time Parents Facebook

Value bombs and tweetables:

I’m pretty calm and patient as a person, saying that my boys do certainly know how to press all my buttons at once sometimes. So yeah, it can be tricky in those moments to remember that my goal is to be like that emotional thermostat. Not thermometer in the room rising and rising – Nicole

– When you become aware of how you’re behaving and start acting more like an emotional thermostat by tuning in and containing your own feelings, you start seeing a big shift in the levels of calmness at home – Sophia

So when I did let my emotions over spill with my children, it would make me so sad because I was like, why am I doing this with the little people that I love most in the whole world? – Nicole

When you feel like you’ve reached the end of your tether, and you’ve reached that boiling point, we’ve already missed the opportunity for learningSophia

When it comes to regulating our emotions, we should aim to be a thermostat, not a thermometer… the thermostat is in charge of the whole environment through its awareness and through its ability to sense when things are changing… we can do this in an emotional capacity for our children by noticing their feelings and when they’re escalating and adapting our behaviour accordingly to maintain the emotional temperature. This is the opposite of being a thermometer. When we act like as a thermometer we’re unaware of our own feelings and behaviour. And when we allow our emotional temperature to rise in line with the child’s emotional temperature, they both just go up together… so the thermometer is actually incapable of making changes to the environment. And this is what happens to us when we are unaware of our feelingsSophia

Keywords

Children emotional podcast moment feelings thermostat treasure thermometer boundary day tune emotions temperature playful learning skills

Transcript

Sophia 

Hey, it’s Sophia.

Nicole 

Hey, it’s Nicole.

Sophia 

Welcome to the Treasure Time podcast growing up happy. Today’s podcast is all about our seventh principle of treasure time, which is keeping your emotions in check. This is probably one of the most important principles and if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that there’s always a dual process with yourself and with your child. So when we’re talking about treasure time principles, we’re not always just talking about children, although that’s mainly the case, we have to really tune into ourselves and understand ourselves better. So keeping our emotions in check means that we make sure that we own our own feelings, and we contain them so that we don’t escalate upwards with feelings of our children. And that’s when things can really get out of control when our children’s emotional temperature goes up. And then our emotional temperature goes up at the same time. Nicole how do you find this to do?

Nicole 

Well, there are good and bad moments, right? I’m pretty calm and patient as a person, saying that my boys do certainly know how to press all my buttons at once sometimes. So yeah, it can be tricky in those moments to remember that my goal is to be like that emotional thermostat. Not thermometer in the room rising and rising.

Sophia 

Yeah, so the concept of this emotional thermostat that Nicole’s talking about something I taught her a few years ago. And that it comes from Gary Landreth, who’s a play therapist. He says that when it comes to regulating our emotions, we should aim to be a thermostat, not a thermometer. So the difference between the two, a thermostat maintains the temperature of the environment by being fine tuned into fluctuations and changes in the temperature. When it senses a change either hot or cold it works accordingly to either warm up the room, or cool the room down the thermostats in charge of the whole environment through its awareness and through its ability to sense when things are changing. Now Gary Landreth the play therapist says that we can do this in an emotional capacity for our children by noticing their feelings and when they’re escalating and adapting our behaviour accordingly to maintain the emotional temperature. This is the opposite of being a thermometer. When we act like as a thermometer we’re unaware of our own feelings and behaviour. And when we allow our emotional temperature to rise in line with the child’s emotional temperature, they both just go up together. And that’s exactly what a thermometer does, it just measures the temperature of the environment has no control over it at all. So the thermometer is actually incapable of making changes to the environment. And this is what happens to us when we are unaware of our feelings. It can be really easy for our feelings to escalate in line with our child. And that’s when we hit a boiling point. And that point, there’s often raised voices and sometimes tears. Basically, not much good comes from being a thermometer. But when you become aware of how you’re behaving and start acting more like an emotional thermostat by tuning in and containing your own feelings, you start seeing a big shift in the levels of calmness at home.

Nicole 

Yeah, it has been so worth the time and effort to consciously become the emotional thermostat at home for my boys. It definitely is made a huge difference to our relationship and, and the enjoyment of the day together. It is tricky to do. It’s probably out of the seven principles being the one that’s really made a huge change. So to focus on it at first, I had to do little things to stop myself acting, so I had to count my own breath. Or think about something else to distract me from, you know, being in just as you’ve said, the heat of this moment. So sometimes in my head, I would say something like, just sing a little song like “Let it be, let it be”, you know, the good old wise words from the Beatles! And it would just help make me smile make me come out of that moment. So I honestly don’t remember before having children ever raising my voice with anyone, like maybe I did, but I honestly can’t consciously recall an incident of that, so when I did let my emotions over spill with my children, it would make me so sad because I was like, why am I doing this with the little people that I love most in the whole world? And not only that my role is like, I am supposed to be showing them how to behave. I mean, what goes wrong in those moments? It’s just, it’s so frustrating because you don’t set out to raise your voice with your children. Like that’s not the intention.

Sophia

Yeah, I think children know how to push buttons that we didn’t even know that we had. And most of the time, they’re not doing it on purpose. But like I said before, unless we examine our own experiences as how we’ve been parented, we’ll just parent in the same way that our parents parented us. And sometimes that might include yelling or raising voices. As much as we don’t want to do it. It can be an automatic reaction and not something that we necessarily have control over until we start to really think about the way that we’re acting and behaving, and to starting to understand our own triggers and why we might be doing that. And when we think about this with children, the reality is that raising our voices, teaches children to stay in line or to behave from a place of fear rather than real understanding or learning. And as I said to you all those years ago, Nicole sat around your kitchen table, there is another way to do it. But it does require us to learn a new way of understanding ourselves and our children and learning a new way to be together.

Nicole

Yeah totally. So Sophia, how do you think for our listeners, we as parents, as a group can kind of stop that knee jerk reaction and give us some time to respond in that moment, when inside actually you just really want to scream or cry?

Sophia

Well, there’s things that you can do in the moment, like you suggested before you had your smile, smile, smile from the other episode. And, but for me, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. So I’d really have to think about how you can work on this in times when you don’t feel like you’re already going to explode. When you feel like you’ve reached the end of your tether, and you’ve reached that boiling point, we’ve already missed the opportunity for learning, the rational and logical brain has detached completely for us and for our children. So that’s an actual physiological thing that happens when we’re in fight flight or freeze mode. So no real learning opportunities going to come at that point. And in that moment, it’s just a case of coping and doing the best that you can in the heat of the moment. But if we can harness the time that we have with our children to develop our emotional thermostat skills, we’ll find that we don’t end up in those situations as often, we’ll be more finely tuned in to their needs, and to the to our own needs so that we can maintain the emotional temperature in our environment. And this is like us developing awareness about own thoughts and feelings, understanding and learning more about our children and their needs, and managing and being aware of situations that cause us stress. So we can set ourselves up for success by practicing these skills every day and learning a new way to be with our children, which is exactly what we teach parents in Treasure Time, we don’t only teach them these skills, but we give them the opportunity to practice them in a dedicated playtime with the children 30 minutes a week.

Nicole

Yeah, thanks for fear. I totally agree. It can be really hard to manage a situation when you feel so out of control yourself of how you’re feeling. Is there anything that can be really handy to do or say in those moments in those moments of proactivity that you’ve just explained, to help us keep our emotions in check when we are at that end of tether, or we can feel that that’s happening? What would be a great little tip?

Sophia

Well, I think it’s a good idea to think about those boundary statements that I talked about last week, and quite factual, short, sharp, direct boundary statements that children know what they are and aren’t to do in those moments. So if your child is really doing something that’s causing you a lot of stress, have it pre-planned in your mind what boundaries are and what your child typically does that pushes your buttons. So a good activity that you could do today will be to go through and think about all the things that your children do that cause stress and create short boundary statements for them. So the example that we’ve been using quite a lot in this podcast is if your child wants to pour the milk on the cereal, which is an example that we use quite a lot in this podcast, just all you need to remember is a short statement that says “Mummy needs to help you with the cereal”. So what that means is that you can just say that in the moment, and then your child knows that they’re to put the milk down, and that will stop you from this whole tidal wave of stress from previous weeks coming out of your mouth. Which might sound like, “how many times do I have to tell you, I’ve told you that before. What happened last time”, you know all of this kind of boiling over. If we can be just kind of short and factual about it, “Mummy needs help with the cereal. So you need to put that down”, then that should stop it in the moment. Or if your child always jumps on the sofa, remember the boundary statement. The sofa is for sitting on not for jumping on. And the reality is that we all lose our cool at times, that’s just part of being human. We will all do it. We can’t be perfect all the time. It’s not reality. But we can set ourselves up for success by thinking about the things that our children do and having those short statements in mind. So you can just say them, in the moment factual, not emotional. But in order to make life flow and feel a little bit more enjoyable for you and your children. You can start to reframe the way that you communicate using these short boundary statements. And that’s exactly what treasure time is all about is helping you to reframe your language and your mindset. So that that life is calmer with your children, there’s one activity that you can do every day with your children to help you fine tune those emotional thermostat skills and that’s checking in with your feelings using metaphor. This is a really good one. This is a really good one for us as parents to you because it gives us time to reflect on how we’re feeling. And also to communicate that with our child, and for them to communicate with us how they’re feeling. And this activity will help you to become an emotional thermostat. You can do this at the start of the day, or at random points in the day. You pick a metaphor, like the weather, or flowers or vehicles or animals, and you can change it up every day. And just say to your child, if you’re an animal, what type of animal do you feel like today, and your child might be feeling happy and playful like a chimpanzee or they might be feeling energetic like cheetah or they might be feeling a bit angry like a grizzly bear. So that’s good, you know where your child’s that emotionally today. And then you check in with yourself, you might be feeling slow and tired like a sloth or a bit growly like a tiger. And having these conversations in a childlike, playful way helps you all know where you stand emotionally during the day. And you know, where tensions might arise when yours and your child entities might not match each other. So if your child is feeling playful and energetic like a chimpanzee, and you’re slow and tired like a sloth, you can frame the day so that your child maybe has more time outside to burn off that excess energy. That gives you some time to be in your tired and slow sloth energy. And in that way, use your emotional thermostat skills to contain the feelings and stop tensions from over spilling into day to day life.

Nicole

I absolutely love that game. Sophia, it’s so much fun. We’ve played it a lot with the weather this week. And it’s so it’s so great. Because you instantly learned something that you didn’t know. It’s really, really useful. So yeah, I hope our listeners really enjoy trying out that game with their little ones so that thanks so much Sophia for wrapping up the final number of the seven treasure time principles today. Such great advice and I know I say it every time and I mean it, I love hearing it all again, as you just don’t learn these things as a one off, it doesn’t work like that. It just takes practice and patience. And it’s so worth doing.

Sophia

Yeah, all of the skills take practice. And it’s, as I always say, is lifelong learning. And it’s so specific to your child and you are the expert in your child. Every child is different. So you listen to these podcasts, you can try some of the things out honestly, if you start implementing them, you will see differences. But there’s always more that we can do. And that’s you know, that’s the brilliant thing about it is that we can take control of this. And that’s the magic. So now we’ve covered all seven principles of treasure time. In this podcast, we’ve looked at letting the child lead the play. We’ve looked at accepting all of the child’s feelings good and bad. We’ve looked at reflecting back the child’s feelings and how we can do that. We’ve looked at respecting the child’s ability to solve problems and giving them enough time, so that we don’t rush or hurry the child to develop independence. We’ve looked at holding the boundaries, but being flexible with rules in play, and today, we’ve covered keeping your emotions in check. And if you’re interested in learning any more about the treasure time course you can just go to our website, because we cover this in much, much greater detail.

Nicole

Brilliant, thanks, Sophia and next episode, we have a special guest don’t we.

Sophia

We do!

Nicole

We’ll be talking to Nikki Wilson, the founding mothers in from 10 of Zen, which is an organization that teaches mums mindfulness skills, she helps mums basically quit the chaos for 10 minutes. By providing free meditation resources on our website, so we really look forward to hearing more from her. And she’ll give us lots of hints and tips and also activities to do with the children and her stories are a really, really fascinating one, and we look forward to having her on the show.

Sophia

Thank you so much for listening today. Tune in for our next episode to something a bit different. I can’t wait for this one. Nikki is amazing. we’d love it if you could head to iTunes and give us a five star review and some lovely words if you’ve been enjoying this podcast, as it will help us to continue reaching more and more parents. Thank you so much and goodbye from us. See you next time.

Nicole

Bye!


Get the low down on Treasure Time from a parent!

Listen to Episode 10 here!

In this episode we hear from Ana, Treasure Time Parent, about what it’s like doing Treasure Time with her son Luke. This gives you a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what it’s like to connect with your child through Treasure Time play!

https://youtu.be/WKJqRJKkqA8

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 Instagram

Treasure Time Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Community

Value bombs and tweetables:

It was a real blast! It was really fun and I really enjoyed just watching him slowly but surely decorate his box – Ana, Treasure Time parent

– Sometimes we forget really that we are our children’s favourite playmates. So making time for children is just such a lovely way to remind them that they’re so very special and much loved – Nicole

– Part of me was a little anxious wondering whether he would really like it and how it would go. But also part of me was relieved that he that he had he was going to be the leader and I just had to kind of follow along and be present and watch him and you know, ask – Ana, Treasure Time parent

– It was great to just let him lead and see him in that situation and realize how much I lead him obviously as mother, but the importance of letting him do that and just learning and watching him, and learning more about him through the play – Ana, Treasure Time parent

– I want to you share how important this is for parents like me, because I need tools that I need to be told what to do… You and Sophia will really, I believe change the lives that impact the lives of many families – Ana, Treasure Time parent

Oh I wish we could start now and do it every day! – Luke, Ana’s son and Treasure Time participant

Subscribe

Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher

Shownotes

Sophia 

Hey, it’s Sophia here. Welcome to the treasure time podcast growing up happy. Nicole has been on a very special mission this week to speak to Anna, who’s one of our treasure time parents in Washington dc in America. Anna very kindly got in touch with us to let us know that she had come across treasure time on social media. And she’d gone into our website. She had downloaded our free games resource and watched our webinar and then signed up to the treasure time course. Nicole reached out to her to ask if we could share her treasure time story on the podcast and she said yes. So Nicole and Anna have been exchanging some voice notes. And we have a sneak preview here from behind the scenes of how Anna has found the experience of doing treasure time play with her son, Luke.

Ana

Dear Nicole, it’s me Ana.

I have just spent the last couple of hours listening to your podcast on treasure time. I then signed up for the games and then I watched the webinar and I have just now joined treasure time and we will start the module one tomorrow. It is so important and for our family personally so needed especially as we parent Luke, who’s six, I do recognize that I don’t play with him at all. And, and my time with him has been so rushed. And he is such a sweet caring and boy and I just can’t wait to connect with him in a better way but I need help. I never was played with with my parents. I don’t know how to play. But with Luke he’s still only six and I need to play with him and so I need this course. I want to you know, share with Sophia how important this is for parents like me, because I need tools that I need to be told what to do. And we so want to be closer to Him and to see him grow healthy and happy. But we need tools. So this is common, such a good time that we’re all home, where we have more time or we’re ready to take this on. And I just wanted to share that with you that I’ve signed up, and I’m starting tomorrow. You and Sophia will really, I believe change the lives that impact the lives of many families.

Nicole

Hey, Ana, it’s so nice to hear from you. And thanks for the lovely feedback. We would so love to hear how it’s all going with your treasure time sessions. Do you know when you’ll do your first session with Luke?

Ana

I invited Luke just now to treasure time and I brought that little invitation that I printed out and he got so excited and he said Oh I wish we could start now and do it every day! And I said that we’re starting tomorrow at 11 o’clock, and for six weeks and he said, How long is that, is that more than a month is that two months and I said about one and a half months. And so he’s super excited. We put the invitation by his door. We posted it with some blue tack, and we will start tomorrow. So really excited about that.

Nicole

I bet Luke was so excited to receive that invitation. I know my boys were the first time I invited them to treasure time. So how did your first session go?

Ana

So the first treasure time session was yesterday, Saturday, April 24 at 11am and I set up just as Sophia taught me to do based on the course in his bedroom. I decided to do it there so we could create really good memories in his bedroom. And, and he was super excited. He reminded me Saturday morning, you know what was happening? 11 o’clock, right? And I said, Oh yes Treasure Time I can’t wait! So I went up and I set up and I invited him in and I followed all the instructions and I just felt really prepared. I really carefully listened to the modules, took notes. I have a little binder with all the papers that I printed, watched all the videos the Sophia play with Callum and it was so super helpful. I felt very prepared.  And the session went really well.

Nicole

The first week is focused in decorating the Treasure Time Box, which is a box of toys you use in your treasure time. How did Luke find the activity? Did he want to play with any of the toys and materials in the box? Was he keen?

Ana

Luke was really excited about it, he enjoyed it. He wanted to keep decorating his treasure time box. So I had to ask him to stop quite a few times after the 30 minutes very nicely but I had to, you know, he really wanted to keep going. He loved it so much and that’s all he wanted to do was decorate the box. It was a real blast. It was really fun and I really enjoy just watching him see him you know, slowly but surely decorate his box. He didn’t even have a chance to go through all the craft materials that I had purchased and had it in around the mat. But he used quite a few and he was amazed by all the craft materials that we had. I don’t normally do crafts with him so I actually had to call and get new things. And so for him, it was really exciting and new. And he really loved it. And so he really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it too. I was a little anxious at first just worried like, will he really enjoy this or I will you know, and I’m just not used to this kind of play you know, really letting him take control. So part of me was a little anxious wondering whether he would really like it and how it would go. But also part of me was relieved that he that he had he was going to be the leader and I just had to kind of follow along and be present and watch him and you know, ask questions and all that I really had to watch.

Nicole

But so lovely to hear that he enjoyed the play so much. It is hard to leave when you’re having fun. Did you find anything about the session difficult Ana?

Ana

I really had to watch myself to not dictate what to do and a couple of times to catch myself like, oh, like, why don’t we why not this, you know this or what about, you know, maybe turn the box over like this. And so I did catch myself but that didn’t happen very much. I just I definitely made a big effort and was able to let him take the lead. And he did take the lead and he corrected me and a few times he asked me what I thought and I was able to say, Well, I wonder what you think. And then he answered, and then I would, you know, he’d be like, yeah, that’s nice. And I would repeat after him and right back what he said that was nice and then narrate what he was doing. So I felt very prepared and learned a lot, definitely new way of playing. But it was great to just let him lead and see him in that situation and realize how much I you know, lead him obviously as mother, but the importance of letting him do that and just learning and watching him and learning more about him through the play.

Nicole

 I recognize that about myself too in treasure time that I would often jump in and take charge. It’s been a real eye opener. Was there anything that surprised you about this session?

Ana

What’s one thing that surprised me, for example, like a little thing, but it just made me realize how much influence I can have in his thought processing and that really gave me a chance to get to know we know what his imagination is coming up with. He was playing with some glitter glue, and he was making like, it looked to me like a winding snake. And I felt like saying, Oh, it’s a snake, but I didn’t I just looked at him. And then I said, Oh, I wonder what you’re doing. Or I wonder what that is? And he said, Oh, it’s a boat and this is the flag. Like the tip top of the snake was the boats flag. And I was surprised like, oh, how could that be a boat, but it just proved to me how his imagination was somewhere else. And if I hadn’t stopped and asked, I would have just, you know, assumed something completely different and maybe influenced his creative creativity so loved that that was definitely a surprise. And I also I guess, was a little surprised or kind of reassured to see how the methodology works. In a sense that I would you know, when you asked for help or a question, and I pose it back to him he figured it out. It had happened with the Sellotape you know, him trying to open a having a hard time, but he kept you know, trying and he did an it and I was like, Oh, well done. You know, you managed to do the sellotape yourself and I could tell that he felt proud and confident. And anyway, it was a great experience. It really, really worked well. And the rules paper also really worked well because right in the beginning, he took the scissors to cut this little tube that I had from a kitchen towel, recycling material, and he put the put the open up the scissors in a really unsafe way. And he’s like, Oh, don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. And I said, I picked up the paper and I said, Remember the rules? We don’t hurt you? And immediately he was like, Oh, yes. And he then used a scissor the right way. So that was really awesome. Like, I just felt so empowered by having that rule colouring page to show him. So that was really awesome.

Nicole

it’s so great to hear how well the boundaries colouring sheet has worked for you in this session. This part is something that’s so easily overlooked, but makes you feel great when you see it working, and helps you feel empowered, which is exactly what treasure time is designed to do to give you all the tools to feel really calm and in control.

How did how did you find it Ana to sit on your hands and keep your behaviour in check for the whole session.

Ana

That was the only challenge I had other than that it was just kind of exhausting a little bit just paying attention to my behaviour, not to interfere and let him go. But I think that as I’ve learned, I’m learning the methodology. I think it’s going to become easier for me to let him lead and me to just be present and practice active listening and observation. So next time, I hope I can talk a little bit less, even though I do think I did manage to let him lead pretty good. And I look forward to the next session and he wishes he could do it every day and for much longer, so we’ll have to patiently wait until Saturday, but it means so much to much to him.

Nicole

Oh, it’s so lovely to hear it meant so much to him. Sometimes we forget really that we are our children’s favourite playmates. So making time for children is just such a lovely way to remind them that they’re so very special and much loved. Like we all know that we love our children. And we, we think that their best things in the world says but it’s incredible how we sometimes forget that, forget to communicate that in a way that they really can connect with and understand. Have you seen any changes in Luke’s behaviour since doing the session?

Ana

And afterwards, he told me several times how much he loved me he just felt very, very loved, happy, really smiling, calm and I just felt like one wanting to because of the bond we felt and I and I’d be kind of using some of these techniques even before the actual first treasure time session. We have, we are a bit I feel like I’m looking at him or looking into his eyes more and practice active listening more and in turn, noticed him being willing to work with me more.

Nicole

Thank you so much, Ana, for your voice notes for our podcast and allowing us to share your story with our listeners. We really hope it helps many other parents see the value in spending time together playing to strengthen those special relationships with our children. It’s this new way of playing being it certainly was very new to me, using all those great techniques from play therapy just into everyday life For families. So I’m just really really pleased to hear your story and to hear the difference it’s already made so quickly between you and Luke. So I hope you’ll share more of your journey as you as you go through the treasure time course. Thank you so much, Ana.

Ana

Thank you so much, Sophia and Nicole for this opportunity. I’m super excited to see how things develop and can’t wait for session two and continue with these great podcasts and, and this amazing work which I hope and believe is going to impact a lot of families. Take care Bye!

Sophia

It’s so lovely to hear how treasure time is touching the lives of families all over the world. Honestly, it means so much. Thank you for listening to today’s podcast, and if like Ana, you’d like to find out more about treasure time, you can go and download our free games or watch our webinar about three ingredients to help children grow up healthy and happy. Just head over to our website treasure time co.uk. Our next episode is all about the final principle of treasure time, which is keeping our feelings in check, which is always easier said than done. But really this is key to us developing emotional literacy and awareness of our feelings so that we can help our children to grow up healthy and happy. So if you’ve been enjoying this podcast, we’d love it if you could head over to iTunes, give us a five star review and some lovely words to help us to keep reaching more and more parents. Thank you so much. See you next time.


What should I do when my child always wants to win in play?

Listen to Episode 9

In this episode we look at the principles of holding boundaries but being flexible with rules to give children the experience of winning which is important for developing self esteem

https://youtu.be/Kr3poqCwjKY

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:

– 
I could actually stand back and let them decide what the rules were –
they would change constantly! – and I would be able to watch their little
frustrations kind of fizzle away as they practiced this themselves – Nicole

– So what happens is when children feel like they don’t win
enough, they’ll change the rules so that they can win – Sophia

– We have been resisting flexing the rules as we don’t want
to let them win all the time, not realizing that in play this isn’t the time
for the lesson, “you can’t win them all!” 
Nicole

– Sometimes I think that we worry or there’s a fear that if
we always let them win, or if we go soft on them, that there’ll be a sore
loser. But the opposite is often true. Children who never have the chance to
experience feeling of winning may never feel good or capable within games – Sophia

– Boundaries sound like very short statements that are not
there to be argued with. So here are some examples. Shoes are for the floor,
not the sofa. Food is for eating, not for throwing, water is for the bath, not
for the floor – Sophia

Without limits, there is no safety. So children
actually really need limits and boundaries to feel safe. And sometimes we might
feel mean putting boundaries in place, but children really need them, and they
thrive under them. And when they don’t have clear boundaries, they can feel a
bit wobbly and a bit unsafe – Sophia

Shownotes

Sophia 

Hey, it’s Sophia, and Nicole. Welcome to the treasure time
podcast growing up happy, today’s podcast is all about holding the boundaries
and flexing the rules in a play scenario. So this means that taking the other
principles of treasure time, making sure you put boundaries in place so that
you can allow the child to have freedom of expression that you contain their
behaviour so that it’s safe and appropriate. It also means being flexible with
rules in games, so that children can make their own rules. Nicole, how do you
find this one?

Nicole

I find this one really interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever
been that good at boundary setting for myself, Sophia. I’ve been a bit of a
people pleaser, people pleaser tendencies. And as a result, I kinda suffered from poor
boundaries until recent years to be honest, so naturally, I did find this one
really hard to do for the children because I wasn’t that practiced in it for
myself 1.39. As for the rules, my close friends from university Rosie
and Amanda call me Monica from friends. As I’m a complete “rules control the fun” kinda girl just
like Monica! 1.58. So it’s funny because I’m pretty good at bending the
rules in like a work setting as I’ve always worked in really creative
environments, you know marketing teams where we’ve been deliberately setting
out to break rules and stand out from the crowd. And it’s been like an
advantage in that scenario. However, at home, I’m a really big fan of neat and
orderly and rule following in the main. So even when we are playing like a
board game or a garden game with the boys, until recently, we didn’t really
flex the rules with them that much once I got my head around that not mattering
as much and the point of the game not being about following the rules and
winning mantra or cause kind of, the fun just was able to flow a lot more to
this flexing of the rules.
I could actually stand back let them decide what the rules were- they would
change constantly- and I would be able to watch their little frustrations kind
of fizzle away as they practiced this themselves. 2.57. So not gonna lie
I do have a tense moment every single time I do this, though, because it
doesn’t feel natural. But it does feel really, really playful. And I enjoy it
when it happens. But it’s not my default mode.

Sophia

Yeah, I think we can get a little bit confused with flexing
the rules with children. And sometimes I think that we worry or there’s a fear that if we always
let them win, or if we go soft on them, that there’ll be a sore loser. But the
opposite is often true. Children who never have the chance to experience feeling
of winning may never feel good or capable within games. 4.29 And that
really is there’s power as children is that they should be able to win games or
you know, they’re good at play. They’re better than us. But it’s only when you
feel capable and successful that you can really lose graciously. And that’s
where we might start to see difficult behaviour with children where they feel
it’s really unfair or they might have real kind of dysregulation if they don’t
win. And that can sometimes be linked to a bit bigger feeling, which we’ll
discuss today. But that’s why in our treasure time sessions that we teach
parents to do we suggest not using games that have typical fixed rules like
board games, etc. but finding games that children can create rules for
themselves, so they can experience winning under their own rules if that’s what
they need to do.

Nicole 

Yeah, during this lockdown, we’ve been playful experimenting
with setting really clear boundaries at the end of every day when we do like
play in the garden. And we’ve tried hard in this periods and this lead up to
doing this podcast I tried really hard to flex the rules in that situation. As
my youngest son Harrison, he was particularly getting really, really frustrated
easily when he wasn’t winning and it kind of just spoiled everybody’s fun. So
given this typical, we have really enjoyed letting the boys kind of take the
lead as we’ve ebbed and flowed with the rules of playing it, 321 and out, all
the games that we’ve enjoyed when the sun’s been shining, and they’ve evolved each
game and even midway during the actual game, they’ll be like, Oh, no, it’s now
this or it’s now that you’re like, oh, right okay, thanks for letting me know!
Because it’s hard to keep up sometimes. But as we’ve been turning our focus to
watching them as we play alongside them, rather than just to win as a
competitor in the game it has been so much more fun because we’ve you know,
we’ve still enjoyed playing it, but we’ve got to watch in their excitement we’ve
watched when they’ve decided to take risks and when they’ve wanted to bend the
rules as they’ve wanted to, and liked to win you know and seeing them feel good
and take control it, it makes us feel good. It’s a lot more chilled and
relaxed. You know, it’s just a more enjoyable experience for everyone in the
family. So it really it really works. My husband, though, will be slightly
nervous saying all but it’s, you know, it’s that it needs to learn not to
always want to win. And that’s, you know, I think that’s really really common,
you know, he will lose and So it’s really common for people to feel like that.
So that’s in the back of our mains. So and that’s why you know, we have been resisting flexing
the rules as we don’t want to let them win all the time. Kind of not realizing
that in play this isn’t the time for the lesson, “you can’t win them all!” You
know, it’s not the time for it. 7.00

Sophia

Can I put a question back to you, Nicole? With Harrison does
he win all the time? In the play? No, he doesn’t win all the time. But when he
doesn’t win, he gets really frustrated. And that’s when he changes the rules!

Sophia 

Yeah
right, so what happens is when children feel like they don’t win enough,
they’ll change the rules so that they can win. 7.33 Because let’s think
about what it really feels like as a child to not win or not win as often. And,
you know, typically we can see this with siblings, especially the younger
sibling, because as good as the oldest, they’re not as advanced. The older
sibling is faster or bigger or stronger or quicker. All of those so when it
feels not fair, that’s the feeling right? It’s so unfair that I didn’t get to
win. And when children they could get quite triggered by it as he as he sort of
explained and it can really spoil the fun, if you like. So I would suggest that
what that is, its just tapping into some more difficult feelings that the child
having of maybe not being good enough. And that’s not necessarily because for
any other reason, other than it’s beyond their capability to win against people
that are bigger, stronger, quicker, faster.

Nicole

Yeah, totally, totally, totally. And I think it is, is, you
know, majority of the time he can keep up with his brother because he is pretty
smart. He’s very fast and nimble. So sometimes he can win the races or bounce
higher on the trampoline. But there’s a great little example of when we were riding
our bikes, you know, there’s two years between them. And, you know, I know a
lot of children in Harrison’s class have just learned more recently, you know,
to ride without their stabilizers, you know, it’s not uncommon for it to take
you know, it spans a couple of years. Well, you’ll learn to play debate without
stabilizers. Harrison did it very, very early, because we came back from a
holiday at center parks where he had a stabilizer so and then he wanted a
bigger boys bike and he wanted to be like Callum. And literally we got home we
hadn’t even unpacked the car. And he got, he was like when in the garage, I
want to get my bike out and we had to take a stabilizers off. By the end of
that day, he could rate his bike without stabilizers because he was so
determined to be the same as his big brother. And so yeah, I totally get what
you’re saying that is and that drive sometimes it is driven in a really positive
way the baking experience you know, he never gave up you know, it’s really
really well managed, he had that self confidence and self esteem that he was
going to give it a go and make this work. And it was an It was a one on one
situation it was in the bike, playing solo if you like, but that determination
when it’s put into a family setting or a friend setting isn’t as controlled,
you know, the feelings of frustration just spill out.

Sophia 

Yeah, so it’s, it’s, as we said, it can be that comparison thing
and just a bit of frustration of not being as advanced and it feels a little
bit unfair. And, you know, can tap into that more difficult feeling of sort of
not good enough. And so I
think we just we need to give kids break when we’re playing with them. Because
we don’t want to perpetuate that feeling of not good enough because what can
happen over time when have lots of that feeling is, we see it in the films all
the time how the hero has to go through lots of trials and tribulations to
achieve ultimate success. That requires a lot of resilience and everybody’s an
individual and not everyone has enough resilience to keep losing all the time
and not have an impact on their self esteem. So it can feed into those bigger
feelings of not being good enough. But the good news is that through play we
can children those experiences of feeling great and capable and winning.
10.51

Nicole 

Which is great, and quite, quite an easy thing to do. It’s
just thinking of physically doing it isn’t it’s just giving that a go. So Sophia,
how do you think we as parents can strike that balance of holding kind of firm
boundaries and being flexible with the rules? Because sometimes it does feel
like a slightly mixed message. Surely some rules are made not to be broken, or
is that just an expression? How can children distinguish the difference if we
flex the rules? Because like, for example, we don’t really want them to
obviously steal from somebody or we don’t want them to throw food at the dinner
table. I mean, sometimes like a rules a rule, is it not?

Sophia 

Well, boundaries and rules work together in a place
scenario. So I think let’s just be really clear here on like, what’s general
day to day life and what’s a because in play, the rules can be slightly
different. Generally, rules are made to be abided by, and so are boundaries. So children in general life
don’t get much opportunity to test the edges of rules and boundary. It’s, this
is the rule and you stick to it. So that’s why it’s really important that we
create dedicated play space so that children can skirt around the edges a bit
in a safe way to see what works for them as well as an individual. 12.20
And this is important because it allows you to make up their own rules and be
in charge but in a really safe way when you have time together, which isn’t
usually possible outside of a play scenario, where children have to do as we
say, but let’s talk about boundaries for a minute because this is an incredibly
important part of raising children or working with children or any kind of
dealings with children. Boundaries can look like really broad statements to
keep children safe from harm and also to keep the household running in a smooth
and consistent way. Boundaries
sound like very short statements that are not there to be argued with. So here
are some examples. Shoes are for the floor, not the sofa. Food is for eating,
not for throwing, water is for the bath, not for the floor. So you can see
they’re very short statements for what things are supposed to be where, and
that there’s their non negotiables, right. So when a child is breaking that
boundary, we can just restate that boundary really short and simple.
13.14

Nicole

That really helped. But those were some of the very first
few that you gave me when they were much younger, where we chatted about water
is to stay the bath, not to be thrown out of the bath. And it was I just kept
having to say it and say it as this little short sentence and it took awhile,
but then it started to be respected and they started to understand why mummy
would be annoyed when it would be a swimming pool on the floor. It was slippy
and it was lady and that’s not safe and but at first for them they didn’t see
any of that. They just saw that they were having a lot of fun. You know
splashing in the bath.

Sophia

Yeah, exactly, which is why we just keep it very short and
simple. And they may not understand it at first, but over time, then you just
need to say the short boundary and they get it, they stopped doing it. And what
we do with boundaries is that we don’t flex them because there are boundaries,
and they’re non negotiable. And they’re there to keep us safe and to keep
everything running in order. But the same goes for rules. So rules are normally
there to keep us safe from harm. And there are plenty of rules that we have to
abide by. So for example, the law, that’s their rules that we have to abide by.
So children do need to know how to stick to rules, of course. But when we’re
thinking about rules in a treasure time context or in a play context, we are
thinking about how we can create play opportunities where there aren’t rules
because it gives children the ability to go into their own imagination and
creativity and get what they need from the play. And what I mean by that is not
there are no rules it’s an absolute free for all. It’s just that there aren’t
rules in the play about how play is the play is executed. You let the child to
choose, so this means flexing the rules of traditional games and allowing the
child to take the lead. And
then I think there’s a question that we have to ask ourself, which is, why is
it so important to us that our children are sticking to the rules in play? And
at what point are we potentially tapping into our own inner child who still
finds it unfair when we don’t win? Because that is a genuine question that we
should be asking ourselves too, is it that I don’t like it when my child wants
to flex the rules to win because it reminds me of when I was a child and I
wasn’t allowed to do that, but that could be a real thing as well. 15.30
end

Nicole

So interesting isn’t it, multi layered. So it can be hard to
work out whatssometimes right and what to do for the best. So for our
listeners, what does healthy boundary setting look like at home? What rules are
say great to flex in a play scenario, Sophia?

Sophia

Yeah. So I think it’s important that we don’t get confused
between rules and boundaries outside play, boundaries and rules outside of play
are non negotiable. And the boundaries within play a non negotiable as well.
Boundaries are there, they’re set by parents to keep children safe, to keep us
safe, to keep our houses and everything within it. And to keep everything
running in an orderly fashion, it’s really important that you have boundaries
so that you can manage your stress levels as well. So if you’re managing your
stress levels with good boundaries, that has a knock on impact on your
children, their stress levels will be lower too. So even if you know an
activity will be good for the child to do by themselves, and that goes back to
the last session, we talked when we were talking about allowing the child to
solve their own problems, you know that that’s good for their development, you
may still have to put a boundary in place depending on the time and if it’s
appropriate. So for example, you talked about this. I know you really want to
pour the milk into the cereal. Hmm. So I know that you want but there’s a
boundary here, but Mommy needs to help you with that and I don’t have any spare
hands right now. So this time Mommy will pour the milk to make sure it doesn’t
make a mess and at the weekend we can pour the milk together. Do you see how
the boundaries just kind of come in to contain the activity? And so yeah, it
might be okay to do that. If it’s the weekend and you’ve got time, but in this
scenario, as a boundary, I need to help you and I can’t help you right now.

Nicole 

So yeah, it makes complete sense. And when you’re explaining
these things in a sort of short, concise way like that, it does make sense.
It’s not confusing the child, you know, we sometimes we don’t give them enough credit
for what they will understand when we explain it carefully and clearly. I think
that’s, you know, I’ve certainly been guilty of not explaining myself, you
know, just kind of saying, this is the way it is. And I think that’s where
there’s been a bit of rubbing tension whereas when I have been explained, you
know, leaving the park brilliant example. I’d like to, rather than saying it’s
time to leave the park and they don’t want to leave it and say, but it’s time you
know, it’s dinner time we’ve got to go, actually saying something more like I
know you really want to stay, I want you to leave the park now, because I need
time to make dinner when we get home. And you know, it’s not about it being time
for something necessarily. It’s just helping explain to them that there’s a
reason for mummy making this decision.

Sophia

Yeah, exactly. We kind of miss out that bit in communication
with children. Normally, we’re just like, this is the way that it is. And if
you don’t follow the rules, then there’ll be consequences, you know, and
children are still learning about the world. So now this, this takes a real big
like language. It’s a language shift and it’s a mindset shift into being very
clear about why you’re doing everything. Why am I saying that you’re not
allowed to do that. And that takes a lot of self reflection. So until you do
that piece of work, which is let’s be honest, a long and an ongoing piece of
work all the time, it won’t be second nature, the first time you do it, you
have to listen to this podcast and then listen to it again. And then practice
it Treasure Time. And then like, over time, it will become part of your natural
language. And you’ll notice it will become part of your language as well. They
will really understand boundaries very clearly when you speak in this way, but
it does take practice.

Nicole

And it does take practice. I do love it when you know,
Harrison, you know, he’s six will come up and say, Mommy, Calum has just broke
a boundary. You know, and I think, wow, you know, you know what a boundary is.
That’s brilliant, you know, it took me 40 odd years to learn that. So again,
it’s just this. Like you both can learn together. And it’s just this great
blueprint from you know, knowing the boundaries between work and home or
knowing the boundaries within relationships or making time for yourself and you
know, it, could it is just a really great skill within treasure time to put in
place that the whole family. I find it’s that I found it’s just been one that
we’ve been able to talk about learning together really openly.

Sophia

Yeah, exactly. And I think you like learning why it’s
important to explain boundaries to your children, but also you’re learning it
for yourself why it’s important for me to have boundaries and keep you safe.
It’s not just because I feel like it today is because actually, there’s really
good reason why you can’t run out into the middle of the road. It’s because you
know, that’s a very fairly obvious one to keep you safe. But why can’t my child
pour the milk in the cereal? Well, the fact is, we’re about to walk out of the
door and they’ve done it before and they will pour the milk all over the table
and they’ll get it on their school uniform. They’re all the reasons but we
don’t have five minutes to list all the reasons. So sometimes you just say no.
But if you say you need mommy’s help with that, and mommy doesn’t have any
hands right now, but at the weekend, we can do it together because we have more
time. That’s a very clear boundary and it helps explain to the child

Nicole

It is and while we’re in this lockdown situation, you know,
you’ve said before Sophia we’ve got slightly more time to experiment and play
and let the child take the lead. And you know, today was a really good example
where I may be let that happen more than I actually had time for us. So there
was a it was quite funny. There’s a little science experiment of vinegar and
sitting in an egg setting in vinegar. It’s been there for four or five days,
and it’s lovely like it changes color, there’s loads of bubbles, and the
eggshell disappears and to really like elasticated cover that just slides off
the egg and the egg is spongy like a stress ball would be and they’re touching
it because they say oh yeah it’s really spongy and then I can see thinking oh I
should go over there and they move away from the sink. And then they press it
too hard and this you know, raw egg that’s been sitting in vinegar for four
days is all over the kitchen floor. And with you know within an hour, Harrison
goes and does watering his sunflower seeds that he’s planted and he said Oh, I
forgot to water the mummy and no worries Harrison well you get the jug and you
get the water and you know, occasionally they’ll help water the plants in the
house. But he ended up putting in too much water and I was thinking don’t
interfere don’t interfere and he tried to put it back out and then the soil
when the pour onto the floor, back into the jug with some of the water and he’s
like mummy I’ve made a bit of a mess what should I do to clean it up? Should I
use that pointing to the tea towel or should I use that to the kitchen roll, a
cloth and he was and I thought was really good he’s making their you know I
could do without all this cleaning up happening today because we’re trying to
juggle two times tables and work and, and all the meal prep and everything. And
the same has happened in the morning with the cereak wanted a second ball, and
he’s going to help himself and I thought I’ll let him do it but it’s quite to
near the top and it’s a big box and the inevitable happened and there was lots
of rice krispies or cocoa popd all over the counter and on the floor, and we
just referenced our day of mistakes and we had a good giggle we were like I
said, I think this is your day of mistakes Harrison isn’t it, remember that one
mummy had and he just kind of gave us off smile and I’ll be honest, there’s a time
where I would have raised my voice and just started grumbling about all these
things to them. And adding unnecessary stress to all of us because in reality,
we’re not going anywhere, you know, the soil can be cleaned up later, as the
breakfast cereal can be cleaned up later, you know, you can just you need to
let go of being perfect or aspiring to be perfect, you know, you need to be
good enough in this situation and literally turn a blind eye to some of these
things and just not worry about them. And I think that’s half the challenges of
us you know, setting clear boundaries and flexing the rules is sometimes, it
won’t or go to any kind of plan. And it’s being relaxed around that, you know,
being creative going with the flow because it’s not easy. Sometimes when you feel
that you’ve got 100 things to do or certainly, you know, it was, it was great
for me to be able to draw back on the day of mistakes and bring humor back into
it, rather than focusing on, you know, any of the negatives, which I could so
easily have done.

Sophia

Yeah. And I think he’s really good that he was then willing
to help with the cleanup, like, what should I do next? Because that shows a
real respect and also ownership of what he’s doing. So rather than just kind
of, so I think that’s another fear that people have is that if I allow my child
to do these things, are they just going to be belligerent and break rules for
the sake of it and then I’m left clearing up a mess, well, actually, your child
can take ownership for the whole thing. Obviously, they’re going to need your
help at some point. And that’s part of the boundaries, right. So it’s like,
well, if, if you’re watering the plants and you make a mess, then you are
responsible for cleaning up that mess. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s
a good boundary to have. It’s a good thing to learn in life. So we can use that
when we’re, you know, 18 years old and going off to university and we learn
that when we use pans and stuff, we don’t just leave them lying around someone
else to pick them up, its good life skills. Right?

Nicole

Yeah, they are life skills. And it’s very interesting
because the more boundary setting that we’ve put in place at home, and clear
communication of those boundaries and responsibilities to children have
actually become more and more responsible. So we’ve got one in place at the
moment, we’re like, Well, actually, we’re living at home in lockdown we’re not
as rushed in the mornings and, and at certain stages of the day. So let’s teach
the children some of those life skills. So for example, the boundaries that we
and we rewrite our boundaries as a family probably, like maybe every two three
months, we sit down with the kids and, and probably have five to eight things
on a list and the top one never changes. You know, no kicking hitting shouting
name calling anyone at any time for any reason it’s a red boundary, it’s not to
be crossed. And there’s something negative does happen if that if that if that
boundary is crossed, all the others are just boundaries that we should respect
is what we talked about. So we’ve put in place that we’re not to go downstairs
in the morning unless we’ve made our own bed, brush their own teeth, and
changed, put clothes on changed our pajamas. So that’s been fascinating how
they have really really just taken it on they’ve been fantastic about it.
They’ve made their beds nearly every day there’s been a couple of days where
they’ve said oh ive forgot and and we said well that’s okay. It doesn’t matter
go up known do it is you know, we all forget sometimes. And, you know, a few
weeks in, they’re just making their bed as routine practice. It’s like oh,
that’s fantastic. So we’ve moved on to the next thing which is clearing your
plates after dinner and lunch because men tend to they just get up and leave
the table and they don’t do that and many families that their kids may be
already doing that. Fantastic but it’s not something that my boys have really
ever done. It’s been a bit occasional and hit and miss but no, they know they
take their plate, they make sure it’s clean, they pop it in the dishwasher and
they’ve been occasionally then helping up with washing pots and pans and
occasionally set in the table. So it’s just

drip feeding all these things in but I definitely can look
back and I think they are better behaved and take more responsibility. The clearer
these Boundary setting has been they’ve almost like I don’t know, it’s almost
like it’s been a little bit of a relief for them. Like oh I know now, it’s
really clear to me what’s expected. And, and that’s easier to follow us. And if
you’ve got short sentences of what is and what isn’t how we do things around
here, it’s easy, and it’s less stressful for everyone.

Sophia 

Because its consistent. And it’s not based on your mood that
day as to what happens, you know, it’s very clear. And there’s a great quote by Gary Landreth, which
says, without limits, there is no safety. So children actually really need
limits and boundaries to feel safe. And sometimes we might feel mean putting
boundaries in place, but children really need them, and they thrive under them.
And when they, when they don’t have clear boundaries, they can feel a bit
wobbly and a bit unsafe. And that’s when you start to see behaviours where
children can really grasp for control. 29.40 And this can even look like
things like stealing or hoarding or excessive organization or sometimes being
controlling in relationships and friendships or with siblings, and it comes
from maybe that feeling of being out of control. So when they have really clear
boundaries, they can just relax a bit. And a lot of these challenges can be
reduced by keeping safe boundaries for your child, but also for yourself. So
that this is again, it’s always a two way street, isn’t it on treasure time
podcast?

Nicole 

It is. I didn’t realize how much it was. Yeah, a little bit
of time thinking about my behavior,

Sophia 

That’s the tiring part. I think we’re just on automatic most
of the time. So when we can just be reflective, lots of this stuff will shift
really quickly.

Nicole

That does, that’s the thing is, is all of these things, a
little bit of time and attention. But it’s not a lot of effort to make these
subtle changes that do make a really big difference quickly.

Sophia

 Absolutely. And as
always, my favourite thing about treasure time and the treasure time play that
we teach people is that it gives parents the opportunity to practice these
skills together with their child each week to learn how their child reacts and
responds to these sorts of things that we’re talking about like boundaries and
rules. And then naturally, people will start using these principles in day to
day life like you have Nicole, it becomes the way that you frame your life at
home. You have things like clear boundaries, flexible play, allowing the child
to lead, being aware of our own reactions and feelings are also allowing
children freedom of expression and accepting their feelings. And that happens
then just all the time naturally, once we can practice it, parents practicing
these things during 30 minutes of play a week helps it just to leak out into
normal life and it will just become part of your way of being. So something
that I recommend that everybody who listened this podcast does off the back of
this episode, and all around rules and boundaries, is allow your child to teach
you a game. They and that game might be a game that you already know. But
you’re going to pretend that you don’t. You’re going to get a game that
immediately game without rules. So a good example here is like with a deck of
cards depending on how old your child is. And you can let them teach you a
game. And they might try and teach you new rules to game like snap. That’s
okay, just go with the child rules. Or what you could do is you could get a
game that that typically does have rules, and then just give your child a free
pass to make up their own rules if they want. So a good example of this is top
Trumps, because you never know what the child has in their hand, you don’t
necessarily know if the child is lying or cheating. Or they might say, Oh,
well, I win that round, because actually, I’ve got the lowest points, you know,
they might start making up rules like that, and just go with it and just be
like, Oh, you are so good at this game. You are really beating me here. And you
can you’ll notice that children who need to experience winning a bit more will
sometimes bend the rules in their favour, and that’s okay. There’s nothing
wrong with that. In this type of play. Just allow them to do it. Because it’s
part of what they need to do and children who don’t have that need probably
won’t do it quite so much. But just give them permission to make up the rules
and play by their rules. For that game, and your job, as always, is just to
notice what they’re doing. And be curious, just like David Attenborough
watching his wild animals.

Nicole

It’s really great advice. I love hearing it all over again
and the opportunity to chat to you because you just, you just don’t learn these
things as a one off if it doesn’t work like that does it takes patience and
practice and the great thing about this is because it’s all about focusing on
your child, like your most precious thing in your life and it is just so much
fun and wonder like stopping and watching them like this. It’s really good. And
we did actually do the game with a deck of cards, but we chose Uno. And it was
hilarious, because they you know, they change the rules of cards that you know,
if it’s normally a pickup to it was that you had to give two away it was
because it was the opposite of what it usually is. It was so confusing as an
adult, but it’s funny because the kids are just like, Oh yeah, they totally get
it. And they, they had a lot of fun. And sometimes if Harrison was a winning,
or it wasn’t going the way he wanted it to, he did just change it halfway
through as well. And that’s okay, you know, and the rest of us just went along
with it. And it was good fun. It was good. It was really just lovely to see
them enjoy being with you and playing and knowing that it really doesn’t matter
what the rules are, as long as you’re having a bit of fun together and enjoying
each other’s time. So yeah, I can’t wait to hear what other parents they think
of how their children reacted to being given a deck of cards.

Sophia 

Yeah, absolutely. And like, like you said, all of these
skills take practice. This is lifelong learning and it’s so specific to your
child. But just for everybody to remember that you are the expert in your child
and every child is different. And really this is all about as Nicole said, the
relationship between yourself and the child, the play is a vehicle to allow
that to happen in the best way possible.

Nicole 

Brilliant. So next episode, really exciting we’re going to
hear from one of our treasure team parents, one of our first parents that have
been through the beginning of the course. She’s called Anna and she lives in
Washington DC with her two sons, husband, dog. And yeah, Anna is going to be on
telling us and sharing next week about her experience of treasure time.

Anna

Just wanted to commend you both for the excellent work you’re
doing and to provide you with an update that it’s taken me some time to get
through the first modules of treasured time. And I finally got my box ready and
tomorrow will be your first session! So I am inviting Luke later today to join
me tomorrow and I will let you know how it goes. I’m super excited about it.
I’m already implementing some of the things I’m learning and I look forward to
growing closer to him and seeing some more improvements in his behavior and
just that he can grow up healthy.

Sophia 

Thank you so much for listening. Make sure to tune in for
our next episode is going to be a good one. We’ll get to hear all about Anna
Luke’s first treasure time session together. We’d love it if you could head
over to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast and give us a lovely five star
review and some words to help us keep reaching more and more parents with our
treasure time podcast. Thank you so much and bye for now. See you in the next
episode.


Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google