Have you noticed how busy everyone is?

I’m lucky because I work for myself and have a very active dog, so despite being busy I have to take time out to walk him twice a day. Some days I listen to a Uni lecture while I walk, some days I catch up on phone calls and emails while I walk, some days I purposely leave my phone at home so I am forced to notice nature and enjoy the walk.

On my walk yesterday, I saw a mother whale with her calf taking turns to leap out of the water just off the southern end of my local beach. I kept watching and as I did, I imagined the mum laughing and feeling blissful despite the fact that she is busy too! (It’s a long journey back to Antarctica with a baby calf in tow!)

“When was the last time I played with Jack?” I thought to myself. Certainly not recently! Oh actually, Jeremy, Jack and I shot some baskets together a couple of weeks ago for a little while and then Jeremy and I went back to our jobs and left Jack to it. I’m sure he was disappointed but we both had stuff we had to do. (Sound familiar?)

Back to the whales, apparently calves have a very high death rate in their first 12 months. I wonder if mother whales know that? Maybe that’s why they make sure they enjoy every moment they have with their calves which includes teaching them how to play?

My Steiner experience taught me that it is incredibly important for kids of all ages to play. I also know how important it is for kids to stay connected to their parents regardless of their age. Logically then, taking time out of our busy lives to play with our kids is incredibly important both for their development and for our connection with them.

Let me clarify my definition of playing – good old fashioned get outside and move your body! Games like; chasies, throw and catch, hide-n-seek, go-home-stay-home, ball games, bike riding, tree climbing, swimming, Marco Polo, building sand castles on the beach, skipping with a long rope, elastics, treasure hunt, swings, slippery dips, playground equipment – yes grown-ups are allowed on there too!

The old fashioned inside games are playing too – snakes and ladders, Uno, cards, toy cars, lego, dolls, construction sets, anything age appropriate that will get your child interacting with you face to face because that’s when the magic happens.

To test this theory (I am studying psychological science after all!) I played a game of ‘sequence’ inside with Jack and asked him about his day while we played. He told me heaps of stuff including the little things like; who he sat with at lunch, who he walked to the beach with, that the bus was late and why it was late.

Our one on one conversations usually take place in the car while I drive and he sits in the passenger seat, but during our game, he was more open than he is in the car. Mmmm. I wonder if anyone has done research on the best place and way to get kids to open up? I’ll look into it!

What about computer games? Do they count as playing? Well technically – yes! I think it’s important to know what games your child is playing but we don’t want our beautiful kids to spend more than 2 hours on screens per day as it could mess with their brain development.

If your child loves their digital device maybe you can compromise and play the computer game with them for twenty minutes and then they can play outside with you for twenty minutes. Hopefully, it won’t be long before they prefer playing outside. A great way to make outside playing even more fun is to invite other kids in the street to play too. Do you remember those days when kids used to play in the street all day on the weekends and in school holidays? I was one of those kids, how about you?

Why is it so important to play with our kids?

When we make time and play with our kids we are telling them (with our actions):

• You are fun
• You are important
• You are worthy of my time
• I really want to spend time with you
• I enjoy playing with you
• I’m interested in you and your life

We are also teaching them:

• This is how you be a good sport
• This is how you take turns
• This is how you follow the rules
• This is how you be a humble winner
• This is how you behave when you don’t win.

Playing is good for our kids and it’s great for us too! When we play we stop thinking and worrying about all the jobs we have to do in our busy lives. When we do too much, we think too much which disconnects us from ourselves and others. Playing puts us in the here and now which is where our beautiful kids are most of the time, that’s probably why it’s easier to connect with them when we are playing. The other benefit of playing is that our thinking becomes clearer and more creative, this is a great state of mind to be in when we do return to our jobs.

Thanks to that mother whale and her calf, Jack and I will be doing lots more playing! After all, if I make time to walk the dog twice a day, I can definitely make time to play with Jack once a day!

Happy playing!

Love Kathy

Upcoming events

Parent & Child Two-Day Holiday Workshops

6-9 yrs Thursday 3 & Friday 4 Oct
9-12 yrs Thursday 10 & Friday 11 Oct

* Build your child’s confidence, resilience and self-worth
* Connect your child to their inner loving wisdom
* Ensure your child stays connected to you
* Learn how to play Go-home-stay-home! It’s the best game I’ve ever played with groups of kids and parents (no running unless you want to!)

$880 for one child and one accompanying parent for the two days. Yes, compared to holiday care this sounds like a lot of money so I’ll break it down for you; $440 for the online course, $60 for the two books, $25 for course materials. This makes it a bit less than $90 a day per person to learn how you work, how to cope with problems, how to believe in yourself and how to follow your dreams. Not a bad price to learn everything you need to live happy, loving and fulfilling lives!

Payment plan – you can also set up weekly direct debits of $44 a week if that helps your family budget.

In case you noticed and were wondering, I previously offered Sept school holiday workshops in Sydney, but due to low numbers I recently cancelled. Sorry if you are from the city and were thinking about coming but hadn’t booked yet! But hey, Coffs is only 6 hours away by car and a great place for a spring holiday! Or if you want to wait, I’ll be offering workshops in the city again next year!