What do I do when my child is having a meltdown?

In our last blog post I explained that children display all kinds of behaviours when they want to connect with you. Let’s talk a bit more about the more challenging behaviours you might see and what you can do in the moment to help deescalate your child’s difficult feelings. 

I explained that some children use more disruptive methods to get our attention like acting out, or ‘playing up’ as it might be known.

I like to help parents to reframe these more negative ways of thinking about our child’s behaviour and not labelling them or the child as attention seeking.

Instead, I suggest we get curious about what their behaviour is trying to communicate, as this is what behaviour is after all. It’s a form of communication.

We might feel at a loss about what we can do to connect with our child in this moment. Sometimes children will be testing us to see how we will respond and if we will attend to their needs. If this is a strategy that they use often, they will be waiting for the usual response.

Children love what they can predict, even if the response will be negative. The brain seeks familiarity. If they know they are going to get told off, but they ALSO know that this strategy works to get your attention, they’ll take the telling off and feel happy and safe that their prediction came true, even if it wasn’t nice for them or for you. We all feel best with what’s familiar, it’s just human nature.

If you want to break this pattern of behaviour we have to start thinking differently. It starts with us as adults. We can’t expect our children to change their behaviours unless we change our ways of responding. It’s a dance that we do together and it only changes if the lead person (that’s you) changes the way the dance happens.

When your child is displaying challenging behaviours you need to start getting curious about the way they are feeling. The aim here is to really understand what might be going on for them. Our children WANT us to understand them. We all want to be understood. Sometimes behaviour is a call from your child to just understand where I’m coming from and what I need.

We have to start thinking back and using our best detective skills to crack the case.

What happened today in the last hour, or even last day that might be leaving them feeling these difficult feelings?

Did something happen that made them feel vulnerable, picked on, dismissed or unimportant?

If so, how can we let our child know that we really SEE them and let them know we get it. 

The best way we can really get to know our children and understand them is to spend time playing with them. We’ll learn all their responses, and start to notice new things we didn’t see before. Our children are changing all of the time as they grow up and it requires us to get curious and learn new things about them as they grow. 

It’s always best to take a preventative approach to this kind of thing and we recommend getting to really know your child through play, learning their responses and understanding their behaviours so it’s easier to manage in the moment. 

Treasure Time guides you through 6 child-led playdates, all with a specific therapeutic purpose to help you understand your child on a different level. When there is a stronger connection and understanding between you both, misunderstandings happen far less regularly and children become more independent in managing their own feelings. 

Check out Treasure Time today to start your journey as a Treasure Time Parent. 


How to deal with ‘attention seeking’ behaviour

I recently did a video about reframing ‘attention seeking behaviour’ as ‘connection seeking behaviour’ and was asked ‘what sort of things do children do when they want to connect with you?’

There are a few ways that the need to connect can manifest in children’s behaviour.

The way that we are probably most familiar with is what would typically be known as ‘attention seeking’. Children can up-regulate their behaviours to get our attention in an attempt to get us to notice them, pay them attention and connect with them.

This is usually because they feel unsafe in some way. They believe that they won’t get help when they ask for it, so they keep testing to see if they CAN get adult attention when they need it. A prime example of this is when you’re on the phone, and they nag and nag you for the attention and when you turn to give it to them, they don’t have anything to say.

Sometimes this behaviour looks like them being disruptive, unhelpful, rude and engaging in behaviours that they know we don’t like, and then when we ask them what’s the matter and we give them the attention they reject us and push us away.

This leaves us feeling baffled, like ‘what was that all about?!’

The advice is normally to ignore such behaviour in the hopes that it will stop, but it often doesn’t and then we feel at a loss about what to do.

Another way that connection seeking behaviour can show up is in excessive talking, making up tall tales, telling long winded stories… These are all ways that children try and get our attention in a way to say ‘please spend some time with me’. They are using strategies to get and keep your attention in the only way they know how.

Or they can be overly emotional and anxious in a bid to connect with us because they know that the emotion they give gets a reaction from us. It’s a strategy that they’ve learned that works.

Generally children will stop displaying these types of behaviour that can be confusing or even irritating for us by making sure that we are giving them dedicated, consistent and predictable time to connect in a way that they enjoy. Treasure Time teaches you exactly how to do this each week so that those difficult connection seeking behaviours start to subside.

Check out the website today to find out more about Treasure Time and how it can strengthen your relationship with your child through connection and play.


A behind the scenes bonus from Sophia and Nicole

Listen to Episode 13 here

About this Episode

We take you on a behind the scenes exploration of how Nicole and Sophia ended up working with parents and children using the power of play, what common themes have been shared in their lives and what creating this podcast has meant to them!

https://youtu.be/m5VC_tkKr40

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.

Resources

Treasure Time website 

Treasure Time digital course for parents 

Treasure Time Instagram 

Treasure Time Facebook 

Books referenced: Becoming by Michelle Obama, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Value Bombs and Tweetables:

Treasures Time podcast gave me the push to explore learning with play and definitely calm down my approach. So thanks for the structure. And thanks for the harmony. You’ve helped us massively – Dan, Treasure Time parent

I honestly think more families are the same than they are different. We all seek connection and to be seen and to be understood by each other. And we could all just do with way less stressing and more loving going on – Nicole

I’m so happy that I got curious and was a little bit brave and leaned in to being vulnerable. Because it feels a bit awkward and it feels a bit tough, but… by being honest and doing all those things, they get much better. And that’s like… the rainbow at the end – Nicole

– Everything that I’m learning by leaning into this discomfort and everything that’s brought me, I think it’s something that’s worth being vulnerable for. It’s worth the discomfort – Nicole

– We can aim to be this soft and warm on the outside but with a core of steel which says I’m really firm on my boundaries, and I know where my lines are – Sophia

– Sometimes we just need the words, the tips, and the tools to let children know that they’re seen and accepted for exactly who they are, in all of their imperfection and glory – Sophia

Keywords

Parents children treasure podcast boundaries play experiences feel home helping moved series lovely week playful story nursery

Shownotes

Sophia 

Hi it’s Sophia

Nicole

and Nicole

Sophia

Welcome to the treasure time podcast growing up happy. Today we’ve decided to do a bonus podcast episodes to end our first series and our bonus is just in time for Mental Health Awareness Week. We’ve had such a good first podcast series, we hit number six in the charts for parenting in the UK. We also charted in the top 20 and Ireland and Japan. And we reached number three in Thailand, which is incredible. We’ve also received so many fab reviews and have thousands of listens. We wanted to share with you some of our favourites from the season, favourite moments favourite reviews and our favourite takeaways.

Nicole 

Absolutely. And we’re also taking this opportunity to have a cheeky little drink together to celebrate the success.

Sophia 

Cheers!

Nicole

Cheers! I can’t believe we’ve done a podcast.

Sophia 

Season one done

Nicole

Incredible! Thank you.

Sophia 

We’ve had some really amazing reviews on this podcast and we love hearing reviews and we love hearing what people think about the podcast but what we thought we’d start with in this episode is actually two hear some parents voices because that’s a really lovely place to start. So here is one clip from our first Instagram dad friend called Dan, who sent us this great little voice note about what he thought about the series and how it helped with his son Monty.

Dan

“So hi to all at treasure time I’d like to thank treasure time for being there when the UK went into isolation due to COVID-19. I went from a business owner overnight to a stay at home parent of my lively three year old son, and guilty of not knowing how the mind of a three year old works and always relied on nursery preschool. My wife and I have a difficult balance of working whilst ensuring a productive time for our little lad. I don’t believe the theory of the three year olds don’t need home-schooling. Treasures Time podcast gave me the push to explore learning with play and definitely calm down my approach. So thanks for the structure. And thanks for the harmony. You’ve helped us massively And we wish you all the best. Thanks.”

Sophia 

I love that one from Dan, thank you so much for sending that to us, Dan. I actually saw a really playful video of Dan and his son Monty on Instagram making frying pan pizzas. So it looks like they’ve been finding the play during lockdown too.

Nicole 

Oh, I love that. Thank you, Dan. And we’ve got another review from Suz, a mum of Joshua and Ella to be great to play that clip.

Suz

“Hi, Nicole and Sophia. I just wanted to say how great your podcasts are. I’ve been listening to them every day when I’m doing my cycles and my runs, and they’re really really insightful and very helpful. It’s a difficult time for parenting. So keep up the great work!”

Nicole 

Oh, I just love hearing how people have been receiving the episodes. Thank you so much, Suz.

Sophia 

It’s so lovely, please keep them coming. We’d love to hear from you all, these podcasts lives on way beyond us producing these episodes each week. And we want to always hear how they’re impacting our lives. So, Nicole, what has been your top highlight of our first series of the treasure time podcast?

Nicole 

Oh, big question. So many. My fave moment has to be that kind of really warm, fuzzy feeling and my tummy when I saw that we’d reached the top 10 in the parenting charts in the UK, it was kind of like “No way. This is too exciting!” so that definitely was my fave moment. And it’s just knowing that what that represented, so it was like, wow, the benefits of treasure time actually going to be sprinkled into families homes right now. And these are the tiny ripples that kind of mark that start of a wave of change.

Sophia 

And then we both sort of text each other where people are already in the charts today! For me, my favourite moment has to be us nearly reaching 3000 downloads in our first 30 days, which apparently, is nearly in the top 10% of all podcasts if you get 3000 in your first 30 days, which is amazing. Oh, and also we received over 100 5 star reviews on our podcast, which is incredible. Nicole, did you have a favourite tip, trick or activity from the series that you’ve enjoyed?

Nicole

My takeaway that would be my favourite would be the ABC exercise from Nikki. Because that was new to me and the yoga breathing exercise that you did on the Facebook treasure time parents group.

Sophia

So my favourite takeaway from this podcast series is it again I suggested really early on, I think it was Episode Two, which is for helping children to feel safe and secure. I have to admit that I actually made myself a den in about the fourth week of lockdown. So I suggested that all parents do this with their children type, safe and secure. But I actually thought I should practice what I preach, I was feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed at that time. And honestly, it changed my state of mind significantly. And I also know loads of other women my age who don’t have children who also made dens for themselves as a place to retreat to, so it’s really cool to see that. If you haven’t done it yet, just know that you don’t need any kids have a little play with the den. It can do wonders for your stress levels and for your mental health if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

Nicole 

So as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we thought we would share a little bit more about our own stories and explain to you a bit further why Sophia and I are both really drawn to this work. There are some real similarities and our stories growing up as well as lots of differences. But there’s definitely a common theme for us both. We’re both the eldest girls of the family, and both of us in our own way had to grow up really quite quickly when we were kids.

Sophia 

Yeah, I talked about this in our first episode just to give you a little idea about why I trained as a play therapist in the first place. So when I was a teenager, my mum died. And as the eldest of my family, my childhood felt like it ended prematurely. I stopped playing once I lost my mum and I had to take on a lot of grown up responsibilities. It is why I’m so passionate about helping children remain children and giving them the space that they need to process difficult feelings through play and actually us treating them like they are kids so that they can have that lovely time to continue their childhood. In some way, I think I’ve been giving others what I wish that I had had when I was younger. If you’re curious to hear more about my story, you can jump into our treasure time parents Facebook group, where I did a little live about this earlier today, and I’ll tell you the full story there.

Nicole 

So Sophia tells her story a lot because her life’s work has been all based around this, but I didn’t even really know what my story was. Did I even have one, and then I’ve kind of recently giving it more thought. And my life’s really been quite transient as I grew up as an expat kid moving from place to place through childhood, and for really long periods of time away from my family. So ill fill you in on when I lived in a jungle and a desert! So first, my very first decade was in Scotland and it was in a little village between Glasgow and Edinburgh called Airthrey and all our family, my mum and dad’s family are from Glasgow, and but my dad worked away from home for really big chunks of time for his job offshore. So at home, it was me my sister and brother and my mum most of the time. And my brother was kind of I guess the man of the house when my dad was away and between us we took on lots of responsibilities at home. And really vividly remember dad would say, Look after your mum for me when he’d leave for the airport. You know reflecting back I took that probably too literally and a bit too seriously. And I tended to mother, my own mother and my baby sister. This second decade then brought me moving to Batam, an island in Indonesia. So it’s this tiny island 30 minutes boat ride from Singapore. And it really was such a jungle you know, no tarmac roads, no shops, no supermarkets, a couple of restaurants and the restaurants literally fish from one side of the sea through the empties back into the river and the other side. And it was off wooden jetties. I mean it I’d never experienced anything like it, it was really basic. No schools existed. So I ended up going to boarding school in Singapore, which I was very happy about at the time, but its a real massive change. So age 11 I found myself one of over 40 different nationalities and junior house with just under 60 children. Absolute melting pot, totally fascinating experience. It was also really hard to adjust to such a big change and even though I completely embraced it I did have to grow up quite quickly in lots of ways. And it played a huge part I think in house fiercely independent I became. And if there’s one thing we know, we can all depend on its change. We’re all living through it right now. So when I was 16, I then moved on to Dubai, from Singapore to join my parents who actually moved there two years before, while I stayed with my friends and completed my GCSE without the disruption of another move. It was then that me, my sister and my parents, we all lived together on a sustained sort of day to day basis for the first time in my life, and it was great, I was meeting new friends. I went to really good school again, everything you know, fab, but actually, I still really missed my friends. My life was really coloured with loads of vibrant experiences, and saying goodbye. And I sustained those close relationships across real great physical distance, which is really interesting. And Sophia recently actually described it to me as the invisible string is that connection between people that you feel even when they aren’t there. And I love the way this invisible string is what we’re helping to develop between parents and their children. So their children can feel really safe and connected to us even when we aren’t together. And I, again, I just think this is so relevant for today’s situation, when you look back on it, the importance friendship plays in our lives, and how to keep them going when we’re not able to hang out and play right now. 11.30 For our children this is tough too, the there’ll be missing a huge part of the connections that make them feel good every day and help build their self esteem. And I can see this in my youngest Harrison who’s really missing the connection with you know, grandparents, friends and, and especially his teacher too, and we are an amazing school the schools reacted really well to this situation they do lots of live lessons and zoom calls every day. But it’s not quite the same is it and so maybe this is why I’m drawn to understanding relationships and places, I studied geography at University of Kent Canterbury, with child psychology modules thrown in. After uni I then worked in marketing and advertising agencies and Ella’s kitchen, which some of our parents mom and dad listeners may know. And I played a really key part in the success of that business and it’s phenomenal growth. I’m really proud of being part of the Ella’s kitchen team. Then when I became a mom to Callum and Harrison, I realized something had to change to rebalance things. Because suddenly I was now too much to too many. And if something didn’t change, I was probably going to break. I could feel it, there was just this just this really uncomfortable feeling. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t a good moment as to change I had to really take a look at my own behaviour. And there’s nothing like having kids to hold up a mirror that you cannot ignore. So some of that was that was kind of tough. And this is where for me, I’m just really, really glad that I met Sophia whose story really moved me to volunteer for her charity, and I ended up in the chair role working closely with Sophia on her trustee board. I really admired and respected how Sofia has experienced the loss of her mother so young during her own GCSEs and yet turned that around into something so incredible to help other children, so I had no idea what was ahead of me on this journey. I just got really curious, I was playful and I was driven to help in the cause. And then it struck me that perhaps my family also needed this kind of help, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting to be the penny dropping moment.

We hadn’t gone through a trauma like some of the experiences that clear sky children’s charity were helping. I was frazzled from parenting and trying to do it all, whatever that means. But I’m proud of how we got curious and learn the importance of healthy boundary setting and a look back in realization that basically, I didn’t have any boundaries between home and work. I just worked a lot and it over spilled into most of the hours in the day. And some of that was driven by passion. I truly loved the work I was doing and I was good at getting results and that drove me further. But being completely honest with you, some of it was just perfectionism wrapped in a big people pleasing bow, sitting in room with really, really poor boundaries. And you’ve just got to laugh like it was it was such a Oh dear, this is actually what’s going on. And then couple that with the feeling of real stress when I’d be leading say a new product meeting at Ella’s kitchen, everyone’s round the table, and then the nursery that dreaded call would come through on their mobile saying Callum had conjunctivitis and could I collect him and he has to stay home for two days, and the stress levels they just went through the roof. And I’m sure loads of you parents listening can totally relate to that. Perhaps except, you know, today in these situations, yes, we’re a home with our children. There’s not the nursery call, but we are doing super tricky work of home-schooling, cook-a-thon, eat, sleep, repeat. And it’s totally exhausting. And the boundaries on all levels are blurred, and they do need to be reset. And it’s really, it’s really hard. But there’s also this absolutely wonderful opportunity to connect with our children once we can see the wood from the trees. And I actually the irony as I went through this last night, and we had to reset lots of boundaries last night, and today. I’m so pleased today it’s been a really good day, but the past the past week has not been a good week. So it’s really you know, we’re constantly having to adjust all these goalposts that keep moving so I think it’s really important that we can come out of behind our TV laptop, you know, is it the ipads, is it the phone? All these screens are creating a literal barrier to our children feeling seen, heard and important to their friends, their teachers and their family, you know that this is the reality we’re dealing with. So, you know, we’re spending time with our children. But I’d question if it’s quality time, you know, what message are we giving them and how are we behaving in lockdown? If I take it away from children I know loads of parents who crave date night and you know, they talk about date night even though they see the other half every night of the week and I’m “Why is date night a thing?” But it’s a thing because quality time is a different way of being together. So I’m so happy that I got curious and was a little bit brave and leaned in to being vulnerable. Because it feels a bit awkward and it feels a bit tough, but it does require you to be honest and by being honest and doing all those things, they get much better. And that’s, that’s like the, you know, the rainbow at the end. So yeah, I just loved it you know, my story so far is where it is today managing to create treasure time with Sophia. This new and simple, fun way of being with our children that’s just so calming and so rewarding, and me and my boys absolutely love it. We get to see each other truly without distraction. And it does feel safe, calm and really comforting. I honestly think more families are the same than they are different. We all seek connection and to be seen and to be understood by each other. And we could all just do with way less stressing and more loving going on.

Sophia 

Yeah, definitely. Thank you for sharing your story, Nicole. What really strikes me about your story is that it must have been incredibly hard as an 11 year old to go to school in a different country on your own. I went traveling earlier this year, and I had a breakdown almost every time I had to get on a flight alone, and I’m in my mid 30s! But I know you get used to overtime, but as an 11 year old, were you really very, very brave for being able to do that. And I can see why you grew up so fast, really, at that age, but also why you keep your playful spirit into adulthood as well. Like you never really lost that.

Nicole 

Yeah. Oh, thank you. Thank you. It’s funny because it was just part of my normal experience. But I can see know how all those experiences really shaped me. It’s really interesting. Michelle Obama talks in her book “Becoming” about how children will invest more when they feel they’ve been invested in Miss Lajam did this for me. Miss Lajam took her register when I was 12 and I wasn’t there in English. And I had appendicitis and I’ve been rushed to hospital on the Sunday night at school for this emergency operation. So Miss Lajam found this is from Anne, who was in my dormitory at boarding school and also in my English class and she’s actually one of my closest dearest friends still today living in London. Back to Miss Lajam, this teacher was so creative, she took risks she knew when to bend the rules. She basically said, Well, okay, let’s take the lesson to Nicole. And she got the class into taxis, and arrived at the hospital in Singapore. And everyone in the class squeezed into this tiny little room. And she didn’t have you know, a school trip permission slip to do this. But she followed her heart, her passion and she taught us all a lesson about togetherness and kindness to each other, about inclusion and about helping our friends when they’ve gone through something difficult. And she always just made us feel so special and listened to and heard. I’m sure that was for many, many people in my class. She would do things like invite us all for different local festivals to experience her culture and the authenticity of her home setting, beautiful food. And she was really down to earth. She just had this massive heart and was a bit of a maverick. She was so brave and she did what she believed in and I remember I just decided I wanted to be like her age 12 sitting in that hospital room.

Sophia 

She sounds lovely. I bet she’s one of those teachers that you have that invisible string with you know that she made you feel safe?

Nicole

Yeah, totally. Yeah, totally right.

Sophia

Bless. That must have been really hard for you to be in 12 in hospital.

Nicole 

I did milk it, actually. But yes, it was also difficult haha! Think I managed a whole week off school, great!

Sophia 

Well, thank you, Nicole for sharing your story. It’s the first time that you’ve really talked about this. And yeah. It’s funny telling your story. I mean, I’ve done it a lot over the last 10 years. And when I started the charity, I kind of realized that I had to tell my story again and again and again. And I feel like after 10 years, I can walk the line between emotional factual when I talk about my experiences, but very early on, it was really, really hard for me to talk about these sort of things without really tearing up sometimes, but we learned a lot about ourselves who, through telling our stories and through being honest about our experiences and recognizing them for what they are. So you’ve been talking a lot as well about your experience of being a mum to Callum and Harrison, I’d be really curious to know what’s your biggest learning been by doing this podcast and talking so openly about those experiences?

Nicole 

It felt really vulnerable during this Sophia, like for me to be sharing so honestly, and being able to, you know, say yes, I struggle at times I struggle a lot. But the thing is, I know I’m not the only one. And I’m so committed. I feel so passionate about helping other parents and everything that I’m learning by leaning into this discomfort and everything that’s brought me, I think it’s something that’s worth being vulnerable for. It’s worth the discomfort. There’s one book that actually has really changed the way I see things is Brene Brown Daring Greatly. And it was it was recommended to me by my friend, who also went to school with me in Singapore. And she said it was great for her work. She’d learned a lot, and I might like it and gosh, she wasn’t wrong. I fell big time for Brene. She’s a storyteller and she’s taught me so much about leaning into vulnerability. And being a recovering perfectionist and good enough-ist, and I can’t recommend it enough. All her books are great. I really, really recommend Brene Brown. I’ve now read the full suite of her books, currently completely and utterly hooked on her podcast “unlocking us”, which she started just as we started ours, so I’m like, “Oh, we’ve got a connection with Brene!”

Sophia 

She is amazing. I absolutely love her wholehearted parenting manifesto, which is from Daring Greatly, which as an activity for you guys this week, we recommend that every parent prints out and frames this parenting manifesto for the wall. I know you have this framed up in your house, don’t you Nicole?

Nicole 

I do. I framed it up. I framed it as soon as I read it, I was really taken by it and reading it, actually, I just found it really, really powerful as a reminder of the kind o parent I wanted to be

Sophia 

Yeah, definitely. So everybody should go and have a look at this and either type it up or find a print and put it on the wall. But at the end of the manifesto, it says I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you, truly deeply seeing you and the type of seeing. It’s just it’s just lovely.

Nicole 

It’s so beautiful. And it’s, I think it’s, it connects so perfectly. Brene has got such a good way with words, but that I think every parent feels that instinctively and it’s innate in all of us. But to practice it, is not always easy, right?

Sophia

So the type of seeing that Brene talks about that truly deeply seeing is exactly what we want for parents and children doing the treasure time course. Sometimes we just need the words, the tips, and the tools to let children know that they’re seen and accepted for exactly who they are, in all of their imperfection and glory. They are after all children, and they will make mistakes when they’re learning. They will not be perfect, far from it sometimes, but neither are we. So we can role model what imperfectly perfect looks like by showing our children that we’re human by apologizing when we do things wrong. And by explaining to them when they don’t understand something, as people that’s kind of what we owe each other right? Just because they’re little people. We don’t know them any less. Audiogram 26.50

Nicole 

There is a lovely quote that they use at our school Sophia and Callum and Harrison say it a lot, which I really like, which is mistakes are the first stage in learning.

Sophia 

Oh, I love that.

Nicole 

It’s really good, isn’t it? So that’s really helped have a different attitude mistakes and say I had when I was when I was younger it was I didn’t want to make any mistakes.,

Sophia 

So using our treasure time skills, we can flip this notion that we need to rule an iron fist on its head a little bit. I think sometimes we talked about it before. You can worry or there’s a fear that if you allow children too much control that they’ll run riot or they won’t be well behaved. But actually, we’ve talked about why the opposite is often true. And we know that children feel respected by us when we show them respect. It works in turn and some of the best therapists that I know, children’s therapists, they’re soft and warm, like you would expect therapists to be on the outside when you meet them, you feel like you’re bathing in sunshine or you’re getting a warm hug. But they have this – I know it’s so lovely. There’s a real special quality about therapists that I mean, they do lots of training for lots of years, right, expert. But on the inside, they have a core of steel that says, These are the boundaries. And I trust that you know where they are, and you know not to cross them, if you do cross them I’ll very clearly lay out the options and the consequences for those boundaries. And this is what we can take as parents from therapy and from therapists. And we can aim to be this soft and warm on the outside but with a core of steel which says I’m really firm on my boundaries, and I know where my lines are. And I’ll explain it to you as a human being in language that you understand.

Nicole 

I really liked that image Sophia, and I really They like when I’m doing treasure time. I’m working on my core. It’s kind of like a workout for your boundaries for your relationship. But one that feels really fun and enjoyable 29.03. And you know that once you’ve done that 30 minutes a week of treasure time, the benefits are then seen for the rest of the week. I love that, really love how it just plays out in our house. But I just totally Wish I could do 30 minutes in the gym each week and continue to see all the benefits for myself like the actual gym.

Sophia 

Yeah, you could create a program core of steel in 30 minutes!

Nicole 

Yeah, totally buffed abs.

Sophia 

Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing your story today. It was really fascinating to hear it and I just appreciate you leaning into that vulnerability too. And I’m sure all of our listeners do as well.

Nicole

Thank you.

Sophia

So that wraps up our bonus episode of the treasure time podcast. And we are saying a fond farewell from us on our first ever series of the podcast and we’ve had so much fun making these episodes. And we hope that they continue to have a massive impact beyond this series, come back, listen to them all. Again, share them with your friends, this will continue long after this weekly production is going on.

Nicole 

But it’s definitely not goodbye forever from us. We’ll be back later in the summer with our second series, so do head over to iTunes or Spotify. Make sure you click on subscribe so you get notified when we next go live with season two. And while you’re there, if you could pretty please remember to give us a five star review and some lovely words so that we can help reach more parents.

Sophia 

And if you’re looking for your treasure time fix in between series one and series two, you can actually go and get more content from us over at our treasure time parents Facebook group where I’m live each week, you can ask me any questions you might have about your child, about treasure time and about anything that might be a challenge right now and you can get my take on it, which is obviously very helpful at this time. So head over to our website to join the group www.treasuretime.co.uk/resources, and you see a button on there to join.

Nicole 

Thank you so much for joining us today and for this series. We are so grateful that you’ve all joined us to listen and come on this journey with us. And we’ll see you again in the next series where you can expect more hints, tips and activities and special guests and lots of playfulness.

Sophia 

We’ll see you next time.

Nicole

Bye!

Sophia

Bye!


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.


Two top tips for building children’s independence

Listen to Episode 8 here

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

https://youtu.be/d2YgOZSiNGo

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin

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

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

Nicole McDonnell

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

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

About Treasure Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Community

Value bombs and tweetables:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subscribe

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Shownotes

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

Exactly

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

Yeah.

Sophia

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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


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

Listen to Episode 7 here

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

https://youtu.be/7JksjNtHqU4

About our hosts:

Sophia

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

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

Nicole

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

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

About Treasure
Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Group

Sophie’s Stories – therapeutic stories for children

Value bombs and
tweetables:

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

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

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

Transcript

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

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

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

Nicole 

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

Callum

Yeah.

Nicole

Are you a Stay Home Superhero, Callum?

Callum

Yes,

Nicole

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

Callum

Yes. And I’ll show you who Cute is.

Nicole

Who’s Cute?

Callum

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

Nicole

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

Callum

Yeah

Nicole

Have you been playing lots of games together?

Callum

Yes.

Nicole

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

Callum

Jailbreak/123 and out.

Nicole

Oh, these sound good games.

Callum

Trampolining, swings.

Nicole

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

Callum

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

Nicole

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

Callum

Bye bye!

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole 

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

Sophia 

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

Nicole

Bye!

Good luck at being a stay home superhero! Callum


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

Listen to Episode 06 here

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

https://youtu.be/6WGltYdHc6Y

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin

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

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

Nicole McDonnell

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

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

About Treasure Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Treasure Time on Instagram

Treasure Time on Facebook

Treasure Time Parents Facebook Group

Value bombs and tweetables:

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

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

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

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

Transcript

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

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

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

Nicole

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

Yeah, I’m really good at that!

Sophia

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

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

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

Nicole

Yeah, I completely agree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia

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

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

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

Nicole

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

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

Nicole

Yes, I definitely have had that.

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Sophia

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

Nicole

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

Key words

Feelings children parenting emotional literacy reflection emotions


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