November 27, 2019
Sharing the Load
By Dr Kathy Weston
2019 has been a big year for me. I have delivered 57 talks to over 2000 parents and educators. What have I learned?
I have learned just how deeply parents love their children. I have learned that we all want the best for them, but that, sometimes, working out what is best, is hard. I have learned that parents are carrying far too much guilt and worry in relation to their parenting. I have learned that guilt can sometimes nudge us into making poor decisions. Just because your children don’t see you as much as you would like during the week, that doesn’t mean that they need more material things. Being honest and loving towards our children is good enough. It can be tough to remain authoritative when you feel guilty, but it is important. Lastly, I have learned that we have to evolve as parents (and researchers).
I will take all of my learning and reflections and feed them back into my work and new talks for 2020. We need to stay ahead of the game! As our children grow, our parenting should evolve in tandem.
As Christmas looms, make sure that your expectations are realistic and try to be as organised as possible (easier said than done).
You may need to have a family meeting about Christmas, understand everyone’s feelings about it and perhaps encourage positive suggestions and input. What could it make it our best Christmas ever? How can we get along better? What can we all do to ‘chip in’ and make Christmas work better for all of us?
Don’t be afraid to create a visual holiday schedule for the family, so everyone knows where they are meant to be, plus have a sense of who is doing what. Outsource where you can; decorating, chopping veg, doing an online shop, writing Christmas cards and even the cooking, are activities that children of all ages should and can participate helpfully in.
Christmas isn’t always an easy time for families. If your children are coming to terms with a recent loss or bereavement, for example, it is important to recognise this, talk about it and plan accordingly. Having a designated spot in the house or even specified time during the day to commemorate and think about our missing loved ones can work well.
If only there was a manual, developed by a psychologist (who really knows her stuff) about which toys are optimal for children’s development and for Christmas.
Oh, wait. There is! Check out Fundamentally Children’s new Toy Guide. Don’t forget that children love to receive a personalised letter from Santa, which happily can be ordered via the NSPCC.
In other news, I am still moving ahead with my #getagrip podcast series interviews. I have just uploaded my latest episode with behavioural optometrist, Bhavin Shah and learned all about the relationship between visual performance and children’s learning. It was fascinating. I hope you find it useful.
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