I’ve been reading a book called â€˜Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice‘ and in the first chapter Sarah Chana Radcliffe talks about the 80/20 ratio of how we talk to our children.Â She says:
“Eight out of ten parenting moments should be pleasant ones from the child’s point of view. Ideally, 100% of parental interactions are meant for the well-being of the child; however, not all interventions feel good to the childâ€¦.Typical good-feeling interactions include smiling, hugging, touching, giving compliments, praising, using affectionate names, verbalizing love and affection, listening, playing, joking, giving treats, showing interest, sharing ideas and helping. â€¦ Typical bad-feeling interactions include yelling, criticizing, correcting, looking angry or displeased, complaining, ignoring, reprimanding, threatening, punishing, nagging, lecturing, interrogating, insulting, supervising, commanding, directing, and instructing.â€
*Note that the bad-feeling interactions aren’t necessarily bad things, they’re just not necessarily â€˜feel good’.
Since reading this, I’ve been remarkably conscious of how I speak to Ameli, and what I say to her, and how quickly my 20% quota runs out â€“especially on commanding, supervising and instructing.
Now, I spend a lot of time with Ameli, but how much of it is quality is debatable. We do a lot together â€“ go to playgrounds, play groups, soft play, for walks, to the coffee shop and so on, but I don’t often play with her, even at the park or soft play â€“ it’s usually more me watching her or talking to her. Neither of those are bad things either, but they’re not always as interactive and dedicated attention as play would be.Â I have said before that I don’t really know how to play, and in secret I would admit that I find it boring, and imagination isn’t my strong point.Â But I know that I’d love to learn to play, if only someone could teach me, because I realise that in play, and in playful parenting, there’s a lot more opportunity to utilise those good-feeling interactions in every day ways.
And then someone came along who could (maybe).
Anna, from The Imagination Tree, and Jamie from Hands On: As We Grow have set up a project called 30 Days To Hands On Play, and I’ve decided to try to participate as much as I can. I can’t promise I’ll take part every day or with every challenge, but I can promise that I’m going to try.
For me, and for my children.