Parent is a process. But it’s not just any process… it’s a Playful Process.
Becoming a Peaceful Parent means learning to approach the art of raising our children from a very different place: from a space of curiosity and wonder. In fact, developing the Peaceful Parent within you means learning to approach your child like your child approaches you. Much of what our children do is in an attempt to have fun, and what I want to propose, is that even as adults, we can incorporate humour and laughter in just about everything we do.
Take me, for example. My doctoral work was rather strange: I examined African American stand-up comedians who spoke about race in their comedy and argued that they are today’s anti-racist educators. I received my PhD in a Faculty of Education, and often times, when asked about my research focus, I used to begin by explaining away the value of this work. But today, Peaceful Parenting has taught me that my academic work was tapping into the heart of this new paradigm: Laughter brings connection, and connection will allow us to talk about things that we never ever thought was possible.
Children are naturally curious, and much of that curiosity is developed and harnessed through play, fun and laughter. So it just makes sense to find our playful spirit in order to create stronger, more long-lasting connections with the little ones in our lives. Playful parenting can help our children soar because they learn through their play about all sorts of important things: they learn about limits and developing friendships… they learn to negotiate with others and they learn to stand by their core values… they learn to communicate both verbally and non-verbally… and they learn when it’s time to laugh and when its’ time to be serious. What often appears to the adults around them as “mistakes” and “errors in judgment” or even “immaturity” is truly opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to learn and grow. That’s why approaching young people (and adults for that matter!) without judgment is so crucial.
For a Peaceful Parent, moving past a lens of judgment and towards one of curiosity means creating a space for connection with others in the world that might teach everyone of us a new thing or two. And play, humour, and laughter can become phenomenal stepping stones into the ever-flowing river of connections that awaits.
Just yesterday I realized how important play was in facilitating my connection with my children. After a long day at work and a late evening meeting, I came home to find the girls dressed in their pajamas and waiting for me before bed. So what did I do? I sat on them. As they laughed and squirmed to get out from under me, I just kept twisting and turning asking where they disappeared to. It was great fun, we were truly connected in that moment and, best of all, it was quick. In less than 5 minutes we were all giggling and happy – a family reunited after a long day at work and at school.
These moments of re-connection are key. And recognizing that they can be quick, easy, and loads of fun make them even better.
The Fun Tracker: Games the kids and I love to play
- Sitting on one child and asking the other where her sister disappeared to.
- Helping the girls get dressed but “forgetting” what part of their body their shirts and pants should be covering.
- Walking right up to the girls and, while staring deeply into their eyes, screaming for them to come here so I can tell them something.
- Narrating the instruction for their homework using silly voices.
- Reading their favorite bedtime stories using different silly voices.
- Telling them it’s time for their bedtime story and then beginning to read the words as loud as I can. When they tell me to quiet down, I switch to a whisper so they can barley hear me.
- Beg the girls to whine just a little louder.. and just a little longer.. and keep fighting while they are at it!
With love, light & healing,