Category Archives: screentime

Are You Paying Attention?

The simplest things in life can have the most profound effects.

Would you agree?


Papayas Pinched by the Monkeys

Our porch in Tanzania was overlooked by a volcano called Mount Meru, breathtaking on clear days.

Monkeys would climb the papaya tree, pinching fruit, often boldly entering the house.

Grazes, rashes or burns eased with juice from the aloe vera

The children played on the grass infront, or went off on adventures around the vast school campus.

Adults strolled together through the surrounding villages and coffee plantations.

It’s not always easy to measure the impact an experience has on us.

A conversation with a stranger.

A connection with a family member or friend.

A family adventure

Are you paying attention?

Jane Tyson
Solving World Problems One Mum at a Time


Adults stop playing because they worry they might fall over.

A Lesson From the Brownies 

Another ‘Random’ workshop with the Brownies this evening.
Before we did some moves, mindset and mindlessness, I did a little research for my ‘adult’ playful / random / mindlessful workshop this Saturday and asked them 3 questions –

What does the word ‘play’ mean to you? –


‘Why Do Adults Stop Playing’?

Because of us
They haven’t got time
They give up
They can’t play, don’t know how to
Too old to be chased
Worried about falling over
We are faster than them and they get frustrated they can’t keep up

‘Why Do You Like To Play?’

  • Relax
  • Fun
  • Exercise
  • Problems go away
  • Builds Imagination
  • Reminds us that fun is important
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Gives us something to do
Adults what do you reckon to the Brownies list?
Next week I’m with teens at a Youth Club
link up with me at –

Can We Encourage Our Kids to Be More Responsible?

Kids spending too much time on screens, overloaded with homework, stressed out over friendships, ignoring your requests to help out around the house repeated

Join me at Family Dialogues, monthly meet ups for children, parents and families.

Scroll this event for my other meet ups too – Family Dialogues

Family Dialogues (8).jpg

Jane Tyson


Hishy, Hashy, Hoshy

A Random Diablog

Laughter, Play and Poetry

I am an IamBic Master Practitioner –  IamBe was the goddess of Laughter, Play and Rhyme,  I’ve written about her before here. My Communication and Connection Model is based on these principles with metaphorical flashing!  For may years I have explored the benefits of  ‘play’ in both little and big people and most mornings I set an intention to be playful and to not sweat the small stuff.

This week, I found a vintage red suitcase in a skip, I’m often on the look out for them,  it was a bit rusty and tired but it was perfect for my random lifestyle.  Inside were a few vintage books including  ‘Indoor & Community Games‘ by Sid G Hedges 1943, an exciting find (do I need to get out more?)


Connection & Communication Through Play

Since the introduction of the PS4 games console in the house, there has been a lot of falling out over fair usage, screen time – ‘it’s so unfair our friends get to play on it all night’ and when they do come off there’s noticeable irritability and stress and this coupled with a hormonal pre-teen. Later today, when my husband returns we are having our weekly family meeting about the best way forward with these frustrations.

The kids and I have been having a lot of fun reading the book and playing some of the simple games. They have relaxed and connection and communication has been restored. They’ve just walked to Sainsburys together too, hopefully they will sustain this friendship on their adventure and not part company in the frozen ailse.

Enjoy these Games 

Here are a couple of the simple games we’ve explored and enjoyed –

Giant Sneeze 

Split into 3 teams and appoint these 3 names – Hishy, Hashy, Hoshy
Count to 3 and then call out the name assigned to the person or team in unison and loudly to create a giant sneeze!

Laughing Game – Rollicking Fun! 

‘Someone of merry disposition is chosen to lead the game and sits in the middle of the room. He tosses up a handkerchief and immediately breaks into a rollicking laugh. Everyone else must laugh too, and the laughing must continue as long as the handkerchief is in the air. But the instant that it touches the floor every face must become stern again, and anyone who shows even the slightest trace of a smile is compelled to drop out of the game. The handkerchief is then thrown up a fresh and the game goes on until all the players have been disqualified’ 


I love this smelly old random book, it’s going to continue to be played with.

Jane x

It’s free to join our meet up group, come and play!
See also my Twitter video about this – @JaneTyson


Lost Connection

A Random Diablog – Family Connection

Cast your thoughts back to your day.

When during the day did you fully engage and connect with your child(ren)?

Just Got To Finish This… 

Like all kids, my kids are busy, they play out with other kids, watch TV, get absorbed in a book or nerf game, or quite often are on their screens for their ‘screen time‘. When they take a break from what they are doing, chances are we are distracted on a screen too or absorbed by a household task, or our minds are elsewhere. The children might strike up a conversation or want to show us something and we often say ‘oh just a sec, just finishing this’ or we listen but our attention isn’t quite there. (5)

Then when we are in the zone to sit and talk they aren’t,  the opportunity is lost and they are off distracted too!

Look for Opportunities to Connect

Notice when opportunities to connect offline arise and when they do, stop and be fully present to what they are saying and doing and immerse yourself in the experience.  This could be a valuable moment for you to connect together and it’s on their time – even better that the conversation starts with them.

Why Connection is Important

When we connect to ourselves, we are in the right space to connect to others.  I wrote about this earlier in the week how can we be when we are so busy doingWe slow down and teach our kids to do the same, and when we connect with them it makes them feel noticed and valued and the mood in the home can change considerably.

We can even tell our children what we are doing.

A Parenting & Kids Model for Behavioural Transformation

You might know a parent who’d like to come along to this rather unique & unusual parenting workshop –

For a full list of our meet ups click here 
#parentingrascal #RandDialEvent #LWWD

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.

File 20-02-2017 15 37 12

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

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Tips for surviving long journeys Part 1 – Car Journeys

Are you planning a long journey with children, if so how are you feeling about it, perhaps you’re already a seasoned experienced traveller?

I’ve done quite a bit of independent long distance travel over the years, last year we returned from a 2 year adventure in Tanzania. My husband often travels/works long hours so in the holidays I regularly drive in the car with the kids in tow to Carlisle to spend time with cousins, which can be around 8 hours if the traffics heavy.

car africa

Our Car in Tanzania – we did quite a bit of long distance in it

Based on these experiences and more these are my tips for long distance car travel, you may have some top tips to share too –

Setting intentions & Expectations

I set myself an intention and visualise myself how the day will go. I have an expectation that the journey will be fun, playful and an exciting experience together. The journey is part of our adventure.

Map It Out

First talk about the journey with your children, so they know what to expect.

Involve them with planning the route,  even younger children enjoy this and could use a magnifying glass to make it more fun and learn about blue Motorways and red A roads . If they are older print the map off and give it to them to help you navigate (or use an app). Talk about journeys they are familiar with and how some are long and short to help them understand timing more, explain that this one will longer.   Look at stop points so in the car they can help navigate to them. Also a good opportunity to practice telling the time and working out what time the next stop will approximately be.

For younger children before you travel, look out for service stations where there’s a play area or maybe a pond to feed ducks – the AA give tips on this too.


Support them in packing a bag with things to occupy them on the journey – paper, pens, bags of lego, card games, books, little things they could easily make picked up in advance from craft stores.

Over the year I buy little things from charity shops and car boot sales and share them on the journey, afterwards they get added to our special time basket at home (don’t pack  their bag for them but be ‘alongside’ them if necessary to do it)



Pack snacks – mine always enjoy chopped veg, crackers, oat cakes, rice cakes, other healthy snacks etc, I tend to avoid sweets until maybe the last leg of the journey and even then not always. I’ll often pack a lunch too to avoid rip off prices at service stations.


Choose a time of day that suits you to leave, we’ll often head off early in the morning sometimes at 6.00am, as I really dislike spending all day in the car, I usually plan to arrive around lunch to places.  When they were babies I used to try to plan it around their sleep times but it never worked out this way and I soon learned to go with the flow and take jars of food, bottles etc ready. Maybe you have children that sleep well in cars, mine had their own agendas.

Break Up the Journey – it’s OK to be bored.

Break the journey into sections, if the children know what to expect they won’t constantly asking for screentime, sweets and ‘are we nearly there yet’ and ‘I need a wee’, when you’ve only just pulled out the drive.

Warn them there are going to be times when they feel bored and it’s OK to be this way they can look out the window and watch the scenery. There may even be times when they grab a nap too. I don’t like them being on screens the whole journey as it just makes them irritable and I feel it’s good for them to be bored at times and find other creative things to do. Each part might look like this –

  1. reading time / stare out of window / play a story CD or music they enjoy
  2. continue above and ideas from their bags, share your car activities / charity finds, if they get fractious then we play games together in the car like I spy, 20 questions, more great ideas here
  3. buy a magazine at the service station with lots of crap in so this entertains them for the next section.
  4. screen time – they take their tablets with them and have an hour and then more activities from above.

I did once try putting a film on but they argued over the film and then the headphones didn’t work for one of them and it ended up being one of my most stressful journeys. This may not be the case for your journey. It’s not something I’m fussed about taking on a journey.

My children have travelled in this way since they were babies for these 8 hour trips and I have to say they really do travel well now that they are 10 and 12, I think they enjoy the routine too and spending time with me in the car not distracted with chores etc. They aren’t so keen on my singing. They’ve contributed to this post with their ideas also.

Mindful Driving

From a ‘mindful driving’ perspective I’d advise ‘checking in’ with yourself regularly notice your breathing and staying centred and calm so that when your children are getting agitated you are in a good mind-space and have the energy and enthusiasm to deal with them. Regular hydration and movement breaks for you are important too.

Importantly take yourself some good tunes too and enjoy the music. You’ll be proud of yourself when you arrive.


My daughter in Tanzania not such a long journey

Look forward to reading your comments below.

Jane Tyson