A few years ago I ran a series of mother-and-child movement, music & connection classes based on a conscious movement practice called Nia. The weekly program was my way of helping mothers embody the latest in connected-parenting practices.
It was SO MUCH FUN and could have been disregarded as ‘just play’… but all of us who were there KNEW IT WAS SO MUCH MORE.
I met up with one of the mothers recently who, with her face brimming with joy, couldn’t wait to share how her daughter still talks about how much she LOVED those classes.
Zoe, the mother, shared with me, “those were special times . I feel like I gave myself permission to play, to be silly, to share imagination with Chloe. But most of all I feel like we got closer. I got to ‘see’ aspects of her I didn’t realize were there and it was so beautiful for her to see ‘me’ as a person not just as her mother!”
At that time her daughter who was 3.5yrs old, was very clingy. This was becoming a problem and Zoe was worried . By bringing in some ‘power-reversal’ and ‘follow your child’s lead’ games into her parenting at home as well as in the classes she noticed that Chloe wasn’t as clingy any more. Chloe had gradually gained more confidence and was learning to use her voice, express herself more and ask for what she needed.
“She seemed happier, and was laughing more. I was more of a fun Mum too”, said Zoe.
I remember back that Chloe had loved the ‘animal games’ where she was the mama lion being in charge of the cub (ie. being bossy towards her mother Zoe ;)), and the floor play where she got to nurture and soothe the cub who was afraid (ie. She got to be the carer to her mother).
Even though it was just a game she got to firstly release some of her frustration towards her mother and gain some personal power and secondly soothe her own anxiety (which resulted in less clinginess).
It was all done without ‘teaching’ her anything. It was just play.
Sadly I don’t run these classes LIVE anymore #cannotdoeverything lol!
But I DO continue to teach the principles and practices of CONNECTION & PLAY- using GAMES based in wisdom. Mothers everywhere are finding the benefits of this approach.
It’s a very effective strategy to dissolve tension, release pent up emotions, and ward off unnecessary melt downs and tantrums.
Kids want connection . It’s a big reason they misbehave – when they don’t get the real, authentic attention they need.
Better still if there is laughter. It helps shifts their big emotions very quickly, and the body begin to relaaaaaax.
Then when you go to offer a hug they can really receive it. They soften and melt, and the connection is way more delicious.
What to do….
Give them regular playtime – with you and without you – and see the shifts.
Make play and games part of your parenting tool box.