My 11 yr Old’s Recycled Craft…

“Creativity is making marvelous out of the discarded.” ~Unknown

This decorative piece of art was made by my 11 year old daughter using an empty wine bottle, thermocol, aluminum foil, cardboard, acrylic paints, a vine of fake flowers and leaves, and a glue gun. We originally planned to work on this project together, but she didn’t want to wait for me to make time for it, so she did it all by herself 💕

On Free Play in Schools…

Are there schools like that around anymore, that allow the children (especially the young ones) to indulge in free play? Where you constantly hear laughter and giggles in the hallways? If yes, I want to know about them. All I see is schools that are heavily focused on training the kids from a very young age to survive a competitive world, so that they can maintain their school reputation. Schools in America in general seem to have become commercial institutions. Even in Montessori schools, where catering to the individual needs of the child is supposed to be the core philosophy (and the school fees are very high for this reason), there seems to be an effort to control the child to make them fit into the classroom, in order to make the teachers’ lives easy. And most parents don’t seem to notice this disconnect because it takes a deeper look to spot this, and they can’t take this deeper dive because most of their resources are allocated to earning the money to keep their child in that “renowned” school. This makes the one parent who asks tough questions stand out as alone in this fight. The teachers are surprised when this one parent speaks up because they are not used to parents questioning them or correcting them. This has been frustrating to me as a parent. Free play seems to have become a luxury for kids these days in schools. How can this be improved? In all honesty, I am only sharing my own experience here which may not be accurate for everyone. But, I would love to hear if there is an opposing experience out there.

Chapter 4: Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen…

Oh, the irony!

In Chapter 4 of my #currentread : Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, Dr Cohen talked about the power dynamics in parenting and how to diffuse power struggles using a playful approach. He also talked about how children experiment with power. This was a very insightful chapter for me because there were a couple of examples cited here that really resonated with me. One such example, is a child calling a parent “poopyhead”. This is a common occurrence in my house, with preschool aged twin boys. We have tried quite a few things to stop this but every effort that we made to stop it only made it worse. Dr Cohen gave a couple of practical playful parenting strategies that actually worked for me right away. One was to joke with the kid and tell him that “poopyhead” is actually your nickname, but that it’s a secret nickname. The other one was to tell them that they can call any name (including poopyhead), but calling some random name like, for example, “bobblehead”, is not acceptable to you. Of course, the moment you say it, they only want to call you “bobblehead” and you have stopped them from using bathroom words. I tried both these strategies repeatedly with my boys with great success. It’s interesting how I was able to side step all the power struggles and instantly burst into laughter with my children. It’s all common sense if I think about it now, but I tend to complicate things in my head because of my own subconscious fear that I won’t be able to teach my kids right vs wrong. But, I forget that they know this already, which is precisely why they are doing it. They don’t do this at school or with outsiders, for example. It happens only with their parents. Why not let them experiment with power on people they feel safe to experiment with? They are kids, after all. .

Really enjoying this book, and how it is helping me prioritize joyful connection with my children by giving me practical strategies that I am able to apply successfully in my daily interactions with them 💕