Category: Podcast

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

Click here to listen to Episode 3

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

https://youtu.be/UO6rbrYG-hU

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

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

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

Nicole McDonnell

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

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

About Treasure Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook!

Value bombs and tweetables:

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

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

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

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

Sophia

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

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

Nicole 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

Nicole  

Thank you, Sophia.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast.

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

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

Don’t forget to add #TreasureTime

Sophia  

Thank you so much for listening!

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

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

Nicole  

Thank you so much. 

Keywords

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


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

Click here to listen to Episode 2

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

https://youtu.be/VrL_Hfewu70

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

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

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

Nicole McDonnell

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

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

About Treasure Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

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

Value bombs and tweetables:

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

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

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

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

Shownotes

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

It’s really good.

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

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

Sophia  

Thank you so much for listening.

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

Nicole  

Thanks so much. Bye.

Keywords

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


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

Click here to listen to Episode 01

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

https://youtu.be/tF0d0ElAhVI

About our hosts:

Sophia Giblin 

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

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

Nicole McDonnell

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

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

About Treasure Time

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

Resources

Treasure Time digital course

Visit @treasuretimeuk on Instagram and Facebook!

Value bombs and tweetables:

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

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

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

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

Transcript

Sophia  

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

Nicole  

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

So I went on to train as a Play Therapist.

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

Nicole  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophia  

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

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

Nicole  

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

Sophia  

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

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

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

empathy and understanding,

self esteem and confidence,

independence and initiative,

managing feelings and resilience

cooperation and kindness.

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

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

Keywords

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


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