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  • 3 weeks, 5 days ago
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Sharing a playful parenting story

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    • #12205
      Rebecca Coaton

      I thought it might be helpful to share this little game called ‘the towel game’ that helped make a big shift for my daughter on a hard day. I have copied part of a behaviour reflection sheet below:

      Healing tears and tantrums. Play. Quality time. Active listening ( I incorporated all of this in our game time)

      Today was E’s first day back at kindy after the isolation period. In the morning there was lots of screaming and crying and telling us, “No-one loves me,” “No-one likes me,” “I hate you!.”
      It was very hard to send her to kindy as I knew she really needed to reconnect with me but also she needed a chance to get out of the house and see her friends after all this time (having Covid).

      I was ready for big melt-downs after kindy- which is what we got. After a big cuddle there were lots of tears and “Nobody wanted to play with me!” I listened to her talk about this on the way home and reflected she was feeling lonely.

      I took her learning portfolio home to share with Dad and so we could spend time admiring her together.
      Unfortunately while she was spending time with Dad on the couch doing this, little brother came along and there was instantly kicking, screaming and anger.

      I took E to do some quiet painting just with me. This ended in lots of frustration, screaming and ripping up the paintings. I gave her more big paper to tear and scrunch and throw. I was trying to show empathy but it wasn’t being received.

      Then I had a great idea. “Do you want to play the towel game!?” We had invented this the day before and she had been thrilled with it.

      Yes! The smile on her face showed me I had hit on the winner.

      E and I went to her room to play the towel game and I asked Ben to keep little brother out.
      The towel game is where E runs around me and I hook her with a towel. Then I can swing her around, pull her in close, shake her about etc. She absolutely delights in this with lots of big giggles! I add to the drama with “I’m gonna get you” “You can’t get away!” etc.

      I find it a lot easier to catch her with the towel than general tag or other rough-housing. It’s like a lever which means I can lift and swing her more easily. It also brings back happy memories of Dad doing this for us after the bath when I was a child.

      I set a 5 minute timer knowing that I would not last longer with the game, being sick with Covid. Then I would need a break before more playing.

      Of course, there were big tears at the timer. I held the boundary and directed E to choose a book for us to read, while I had a rest, then told her we would have one more round.
      This was a very snuggly, connecting time. Then back to the game.

      I was surprised how quickly this game managed to reconnect us and help us get back on track.
      Sometimes it can take a lot of time and energy to get things back on track with E but this particular game seems to have struck a magical chord. I have given her a little piece of paper with a picture of the game on it so she can bring it to me to request to play at another time.

      I will need to continue coming back to the releasing tears and active listening. Honestly, this a daily practise. But I am glad to have found this little gem to help us through a tough time!

      If you want to try this game I highly recommend making sure you have plenty of space. There is definitely some risk involved. And a timer is a good idea unless you are very fit!

    • #12393

      Becky, thank you for sharing this! I love this game, and generally love learning new gems like this to share with other parents. I love that it’s a bit easier on the parent physically as well, and great idea to help the child create a little card that they can use to both help them remember and help them communicate that this is what they need! Love it!

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