Monthly Archives: October 2016

A ‘Should’ Sorry?

Yesterday, my kids had a scratchy day. One of them had thumped the other during a football kick about together with us and their behaviour continued to slip all day.

I didn’t occur to me until close to bed that their bad feelings towards all day were a result of the earlier conflict. They’d been too cross to speak about it at time and we didn’t delve deeply into it, sort of let them make up and deal with it themselves moment. I’m also not one for forcing a ‘sorry’ when it isn’t meant just because we think as adults it’s what they ‘should’ do –  a should sorry. I’d rather step back and let it cool down, problem solve it, talk reasonably and let them create their own heart felt sorry.


We sat in the lounge together when everyone was well fed and in a better mood to replay a little of what had gone down.  We all  took it in turns to talk about how we had felt at the time and reacted and why it resulted in the punching.

Finally we identified the primary feeling, the puncher had felt jealous of the other and perceived them to be having more attention from a parent whilst playing the football game and this had been an ongoing emotion.

The emotion of jealously wasn’t recognised by any of this at the time, and it had escalated to anger.

Nobody was blamed. We simply discussed other ways it could have been handled both as parents and kids.

Just by talking it through and taking it in turns to listen to each other, today the atmosphere was completely changed. It was a calm, more playful and connected day with the children mostly playing with each other.

And there was a real sorry without an adult prompt.






Family Connection – Too Busy To Read?

How to Connect with Children by Reading Mindlessly


Ever picked up a book and just read it to your child without having a clue what you’ve just said because you’ve got so much else on your mind and you were distracted?

Reading together is a wonderful way to spend time together and to connect as a parent whatever the child’s age.  Yet not always easy to do when we are busy running around, shuttling school runs, working, shopping, cleaning etc.

Below I share a simple way we can connect to ourselves, slow down and become more present to ourselves before reading.

Disconnect to Reconnect – Connection to Self

A simple breathing exercise to help you centre in less than 2 minutes. First, switch off your phone, TV and other distractions and park the housework.
Sit up straight or even better stand – take 3 nice deep belly breaths – put your hands on your belly to feel them – they will be a continuous in and out. Notice now how you feel and what state this has created in you, if you need more then there is no rule!  Model what you are doing to your family, it’s up to them if they want to join in you are just sharing a relaxation technique with them.
Hopefully you feel calmer, more present, grounded and connected to yourself, and in this state you are in a great space to connect with your child – so how about now reading a book together?
Mindful Reading
Again choose a quiet place to do this with no distractions for either of you. Use a steady, understandable pace where you notice each word and are aware of the whole experience and being with them. If they are reading too, listen and notice the spoken words, their voice, the spaces between the words, the pauses,  be present with your child. 
As a teacher I so often speak to parents about teaching children to read. Reading is expressive, fun, playful and connecting, if your child doesn’t know the words they don’t need to struggle, it needn’t be a chore. Read it with them, enjoy the story together. They are far more likely to want to read with you if they aren’t feeling stressed or pressured to do so and it’s a playful and enjoyable time.  Let them work out the unfamiliar words, help them to relax no need to pounce impatiently. If every word is a struggle then read it together first of all and choose an easier book!
See how they respond to this experience, notice the effect it has on them.
 If you are reading with a fluent independent reader, it’s still great for them to share what they are reading, or you can simply just read alongside them with your own book and enjoy this reading time together.
Make it even more playful! 
To make this a really playful experience with younger children, why not read the book back to front, upside down, and find other playful ways to connect when you are in this space together. Enjoy reading together, make it fun.
Jane x

Exploring Play – Knock Out

Day 2 of Exploring Play (see previous post for Day 1!)

Luke doesn’t remember slipping,  he says he wasn’t high up, but the fall knocked him out and left him dizzy, dazed and confused –


My 11 year old son went off to play with his friends and they ended up at their usual hang out  on the ‘green’.

Luke’s always been good at climbing trees and loves the creative meditative flow it brings, the physical challenge and independence. We taught him how to climb them when he was small and ways to also test for dead branches and good ones to put weight on etc. As always, he partly climbed the tree on the green, but fell upon descent.

A trip to A&E confirmed he had mild concussion. My husband, a journalist, is away in Yemen for 3 weeks. Each time he goes away one of the kids ends up in A&E, perhaps I have now completely jinxed us by writing this.

We encourage our children to play out, assess risks, explore and be independent as often as possible, one of the reasons we moved into this area and why we also went as a family to live in Tanzania for 2 years.

Today, I have read around the pros and cons of tree climbing and encouraged Luke to as well.

This article was pretty sobering –

I gave my definition of ‘play’ in my previous blog post – so how was this experience/accident ‘playful’?  I believe my son took a risk, explored with confidence, made a mistake,  learned from the experience and will need to consider whether he does it again and take a fresh perspective.

More play less daze next time. x




Exploring Play

I am going to spend the next few months exploring play and writing about it.

Yesterday we met two musicians who said they explored play through their music and that they were reminded recently  that music was play.

What words does ‘play’ conjure up for you?  These came to my mind –

exploration,  experimentation, creativity, spontaneity, free from goals, challenge, thinking outside the box, collaboration, connection, balance, negotiation.

Shake it Up

Play x





It’s so Unfair

Yesterday we went to visit Rosamund community gardens, Pewley Downs, Guildford.

Initially my children didn’t want to go with me to the point one of them cried real tears that I was daring to leave the house  –  ‘it’s so unfair’

They cut, chopped and pressed apples, mixed mud with straw to make mud houses and came home with bottles of apple juice. They didn’t want to leave – ‘it’s so unfair’.