I recently finished a parenting skills course based on the Incredible Years programme developed in the US, which was run jointly by my son’s school, the local council and facilitated by Barnardo’s (Tony Day and colleauge Natasha did a great job).
I wanted to go as I think I have a lot to learn about being a parent, have never received any tuition about how to do it and thought sharing experiences with other parents in a safe, confidential environment would be good.
I consider myself to be a good parent, by the way. I haven’t been advised, told or ordered to go – I just wanted to (for some reason, I feel I have to say this to justify myself!). I also consider parenting to be the most important, enduring and rewarding ‘job’ there can ever be.
When I started the course I decided I wanted to blog each week about what I learned (and it would be just that for reasons of confidentiality) and wondered about the best place to put these posts as they are not strictly focused on content and communication. I was going to put them on my Posterous blog but then I thought I’d put them here as my view is that content and communication is influenced by so many factors and some of these factors are what we will be talking about on the course.
Roll on a few weeks and I never did write up each week so I am going to do that over the coming weeks.
I don’t want to make big leaps from parenting skills to content/comms but just share some of my learning from each session.
In the first week we looked at play. Learning points:
- How much real play time do we spend with our children. By this I mean time that is spent sharing an activity, enjoying what they and we are doing (it can be parent as well as child led, after all)
- How good are we at submerging ourselves in an activity and enjoying it for what it is? By this, I mean just doing the activity without thinking there has to be a particular aim to it.
- Play is crucial for children because through play they learn social skills and in particular it helps them start to build relationships.
- Relationships are based on shared experiences through which you start to build a bond, which is why play time is so important for children and their parents.
Some good points about play:
- Let the child lead it and do it at their pace.
- Encourage and praise – and be attentive.
- It’s not a chore – it’s fun, so have a laugh.
This might all sound like the bleeding obvious but it can be difficult to create the space and find the time to do this on a regular basis, especially if you work long hours etc.
Here’s my leap from child’s play to the work place: if having fun through play is so important for building relationships and being creative, why can’t we do more in the workplace?