Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Guest post: children's playtime = parent's learntime

The child is father to the man, as Wordsworth once said. We probably learn as much from our children as they do from us, and that's the idea behind today's guest post from Susie Newday, who blogs (appropriately) at New Day New Lesson about learning and seeing the positive in the lessons that life hands her each day. She writes...

"Becoming a parent is a heck of a lot easier than parenting.   When I think about it, I find it amazing how clueless many of us are when we start the journey of parenting. I find it even more amazing that no matter how much we learn, there are constantly new things we end up being clueless about.

"As parents, we often wonder how well we are doing with the whole raising our kids business. We want the best for our kids. We them to have a better life than we had. We want to encourage their talents and be there to support them. Mostly, we wonder whether we are managing to instill good habits and values in our kids.   We talk to them, we teach them and sometimes we forgot the most important thing.

"Sometimes we forget that the things our kids learn the most from are our actions. Darn. I'm in trouble.  Our kids are mirrors of our behavior, for good and for bad.   They will pick up the little acts of kindness they see you performing, like helping old people, but they will also pick up your short temper. They will pick up your way of talking through things, but they will also pick up phrases like because I said so and that's it.  

"For me, the best parent education I have received has been to surreptitiously watch my kids play, especially when they are young. My 5 year old highlights all my parenting fails and faults and also my triumphs. She uses her toys and her dolls to play mommy and when she plays I know where I have gone wrong and right that week and in general.   When my daughter plays a yelling and impatient "mommy", I know that I have been impatient that week. When she tells her "child" I need to finish writing this, you have to wait, I know I have neglected her in favour of the computer. When she tells her "babies" momma loves you so much, I know I have made her feel loved. And the list goes on and on.  

"If you want to know how you are doing at this whole parenting lark, find a way to watch your kids to play when they don't realize you are watching. Why?  Because playtime = parent education, for good and for bad. Playtime is the best insight we have into what are kids are really feeling and absorbing.

"What things have you learned from your kid's playtime?"

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