Category Archives: playing

Whooo Cares

Lessons from a Wise Owl

What does it feel like to you when your relationships are in balance, you are relaxed and calm, you have clarity,  focus, confidence, connection and you get thing done efficiently with few power struggles?

This weekend I’ve been on a truly special Connected Communications Course created and run by the wonderful and wise Lis Cashin –  2 days with very inspirational women exploring Lis’ R.E.A.L approach.

Meditation on an Owl

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Since I was a young child I’ve been fascinated with Owls, I often hear them and see them and it’s only in the last couple of years that I incorporate them into my meditation practice. I ponder them silently  and wisely watching, sensing, blinking and still, behaviours I am aware of and try to embody throughout the day.

By coming from this space of stillness and quiet we have time to notice our breath, observe and respond with grace.  I wrote more about this a couple of weeks ago – take a breath.

This links in nicely with aspects of  Lis’ R.E.A.L approach,  and I’m really excited to be weaving this into my IamBe practice with children, adults, business and families.

Whooo Cares

Practice being an owl, you might look a bit of a twit but whoo cares.

Jane x
Giving You A Powerful Voice, Vision and Choices

Why not join our Meet Up group where we run a number of events & meet ups across the year for adults, kids, businesses and families.

You might also enjoy Aypee’s blog  BE SAY DO HAVE

 

A Bored Book.

A ‘Bored’ Book

How many times a day do your children tell you they are bored?

Maybe you have children who can easily entertain themselves, and spend the day just making, creating and playing, I’d really love to hear from you for this idea.

I notice that if kids are on their computers, tablets, phones, PS4s etc they never seem to tire.  It’s when they come off them that they find it hard to transition from this over stimulated time to a space where they now have to do something ‘boring’ instead.

Screens produce an experience we can’t recreate

I read once that when we are on our screens, certain chemicals are released – maybe it was dopamine or seratonin – that can’t be recreated in the brain at the same levels once we come off.  For example, as a teacher, I cannot replicate the multisensory stimulation that a screen induces, hence children don’t always listen so well, sit still, retain information and they get bored quicker, however if I put on a YouTube clip explaining the same thing, they are all eyes, ears and interest for a long time, it is their language.

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This photo was taken when we were in Africa. These kids played and collaborated endlessly with the tyre, they had no screens.

What do kids do when they aren’t on screens?

My son had a friend over, they’d had some screen time together and the hour timer was up, so after a few reminders they came off and didn’t know what to do. They asked to go back on again and we said no that they could go and find something else. This  quite often means they go round the friend’s house to play on the screens there instead.

It took them about 10 minutes to transition to outdoor play and they soon found themselves engaged in a nerf gun war, followed by fire building with Paul in the garden. With the screens off, they had to find something to do, it’s so easy though sometimes to just let them go back on again and loose track of time. They might mope about inbetween waiting for their next fix.  Meanwhile, we also bury our faces in Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc, driven to distraction.

Why are we so Bored?

We know it’s good to be bored, creativity often stems from boredom and head space. Why though are we so bored? Some say we are over-stimulated, the more we have the more we need and it’s hard to put up with the slow stuff in between. Are you reading this whilst doing or thinking about other things at the same time?  Or maybe it’s too long and boring to even read. Our kids are no different.

A ‘bored’ book for kids written by kids.

I’d like to create an e-book of ideas for kids of things to do when they aren’t on their screens. I’d love your children to contribute to this please, and if they are willing to, could you share their ideas in the comments below with an image if possible of the activity.  I’ll obviously give them a credit.  All ages welcome.

Things to do that are free, with little or no adult intervention.  I wonder if we they can come up with 3 or more boring ideas?

Jane x

janetyson.co.uk

What did you have for lunch, who did you play with?

Did you eat all your peas and carrots…

Would you like your child to speak to you more and share their feelings openly and freely with you without asking? Read on as this will help.

Scenario 1 – you greet your child after a busy day and ask them all about it – who they played with, what they had for lunch, did they eat all their peas and carrots, what they did in maths, have they got homework and so. You ask them question after question (some parents I spoke to say they question like this because they feel they ‘ought’ to).

Scenario 2– your child is playing with for example their lego, you go over to join in and begin to take over. Maybe you want the bricks to match, the windows aren’t in the right place, and the door opens the wrong way.  You start to question and probe and join in with their play in a rather controlling way.  The child soon looses interest, walks off and you start to worry about their lack of commitment and connection!

Scenario 3 – your teen is in their room, the door is closed they are on their screen, you haven’t had a conversation in a while.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Let’s Rewind the Scenes

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How could you just enjoy being ‘alongside’ them?

‘There once was a wise man who said nothing’

How about you just sit there with them, in the moment and just be and not actually do anything. That’s right just be quiet. Breathe, sit and be with them. It might be hard not to talk and take over – so practice. They’ve been over-stimulated, over stretched and haven’t stopped all day, their brains are full!  Allow them a break.  It’s OK to be quiet, allow yourself to be quiet too.

Reframe the situation, what can we learn from the child, what are they teaching us about being in the moment? Notice them.

Soon, they will start to enjoy your peaceful presence and invite you into their space and start to engage with you.  You may even find they start to guide you with what to do, ask you questions and  even tell you things that are on their mind because you have allowed them some space and time alongside you, they feel free and safe to express themselves.   Resist asking them too much and taking over, enjoy being childlike with them for a while. With older children you may say something like I’m just going to come and sit with you for a while, so you watch them on their screen for 10 minutes or so, again you don’t need to speak you are just alongside them, see what happens you will be surprised.

Little and often.

To a Child Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E (1)

IamBe Approach

Are you wanting a little guidance and support to help you to communicate and connect within your family? I am an IamBe Master Practitioner, more details about what I do are over on my Linked-In page here which includes a full list of workshops including our ‘BE SAY DO HAVE’ Ⓒ Contented Parenting model here.

Jane Tyson x

Whilst at University studying Education and Child Psychology,  I volunteered with various ‘play’ schemes and trained as a ‘Play Leader’ alongside children in mainstream and special educational need settings from 4 to 18. These experiences led me into Primary School teaching and yoga and mindfulness for families.  My stepmother and two step sisters are both play therapists, so I’ve been pretty immersed and passionate about play for 25 years, well 45.  

Core Process – Exploring Play.

‘They’ Made Me Do It.

A Random DiaBlog from a concerned Mum and Primary School Teacher.
My first Primary School teaching job was ten years after the introduction of the 1988 National Curriculum, which was about bearable.  I was an Art Coordinator; my lessons were as creative as possible, I had freedom, fun and autonomy to a point.  We made time for Golden Time and if there was Wet Play with board games, paper aeroplanes, Connect 4, craft, etc then the children were ecstatic.  A chance for them to just BE, share, collaborate and discover with their friends.

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Now, though, the intensity and control in schools is quite overwhelming and quite out of touch with 21st-century educational research and thinking.  While there is a big noise around the terms ‘mindfulness’ and ‘wellbeing’ I’m not seeing much evidence of it being practised or supported in schools.

My experiences and conversations with teachers reinforce that it’s constant lesson after lesson with little space and intense, time-wasting form filling in and marking.

The kids call me the yoga lady and I sneak in downtime: “Quick kids let’s just STOP and breathe for three breaths, and if you’re feeling rebellious you can close your eyes.”  We don’t need more mindfulness; we need to shake things up and encourage more playfulness.

In some schools I still see kids sitting in corridors missing entire playtimes for being ‘naughty’.

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Kids are playing up more I feel because they are so systemised and controlled.  From the age of 3, cameras are uploading photos of them to add to a personal statement, judgements made about their performance on tick sheets.  They are quite happy learning and playing,  put the clipboard away.  I was once advised by a forward thinking rebellious Headteacher, never to disturb a child when they were concentrating.

I see a few schools with outdoor learning provision for Year 1, but  it’s rare to see a dressing up box, role play area or golden time box valued after Year 2, ‘we haven’t got time.’ What do kids do when they go home, do they catch up on this lost play?

My son was in a detention a while back, and I remember asking his teacher if anyone had taken the time to listen to him and offer him some guidance and to think about how he might have handled it differently. The response was ‘oh we haven’t got time for all that’.   It’s often quite a  punishment escalation system – name on board, then missed playtime, loss of this, loss of that- constant carrot and stick intervention.

What no punishment? Why not create a meditation space –  a safe place, time out space for children to reflect and work things out if necessary with older kids or adults on hand to talk things over with and socially coach them with language, kindness, compassion, empathy, eye contact, sharing skills, manners, responsibility, self-control, etc.?

Why not trial a no rewards system? No stickers or house points or, ‘good boy’ remarks to work and behave well, no good or bad judgements, but instead foster a playful, self directed community where children are excited, engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn.

Playtime, Downtime, Be Time – it’s our kid’s natural state.  Kids waste a lot of time filling in their confusing and controlling Steps for Success forms and writing paragraphs using prefrontal adverbial prepositional lobotomy phrases, how about we give them back their playtime and mind space and treat them like the kids they are.

But it’s what we’ve always done. It can’t possibly change.  ‘They’ made me do it.

In my next blog, I will explain the simplest and quickest way we can help our children to find ‘space’ in these busy days.

There is always hope – a rebel alliance

Jane x
Exploring Play
Random Dialogues

shake it up

Larfter, Kindnese, LOVE

For the past couple of weeks a small group of children aged 6 and up have met at our local hall, to play, have fun and build a little community.   My intention is to create a safe play space for the kids tyoga 2o turn up, lead,collaborate, co-create,  learn from each other and largely just ‘BE’. A weekly meet up for kids with little adult intervention, voice and rules, with a loose routine and structure.

I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and seen our curriculum get more and more contrived, outdated, irrelevant and intense.  My favourite ever times for ‘teaching’ are now when I’m NOT. In particular, last week  I noted a wonderful wet play  lunchtime where every single child in the class was joyfully and playfully engaged with something or somebody.  An unplanned time without targets, adult intervention, photographs being taken of them for a profile or worksheets.  They rushed to the wet play activities and I noted an incredible amount of natural learning and collaboration.  I felt sad disturbing this short lived, powerful, self directed, exploratory and sociable time ready for another dull prescribed, adult centred and crowd controlled lesson.

So this is a random playful experiment with kids for them to collaborate and co-create using:

  • Games 
  • Circle time 
  • Yoga
  • Craft
  • Story
  • Relaxation 

I also introduce a ‘REAL’ approach for connection & communication and we share how we get on each week with developing our own personal and empowering communication style.

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2 weeks left of this playful experiment for ages 6 to teen in Burpham, Guildford.

Click here for more info.

Jane x

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#iambe #RandDialEvent

Family Connection – Too Busy To Read?

How to Connect with Children by Reading Mindlessly

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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