So, here's the game I was going to share yesterday. This one is a perfect #zerowaste game. You could do it with anything that your kids enjoy, letters, numbers, animals, pieces of paper with drawings on, shapes, anything really.
This is the legs and base of our massage table (a friend made it many years ago from reclaimed wood), which also doubles as a cubby house on its own, even better with a sheet thrown over it. I have also put the air mattress over the top before, leaning on the kitchen bench, sort of like a bridge to make it into a 'family sized' cubby house. You could also use a cardboard box or something else that makes a frame around you. For now, though, this is our alphabet theatre and the first taste of my weird and random singing for your pleasure (possibly). So, little one has a spot on the rug in the corner which frames me and the letters like an old school puppet show. Today she brought some letters over. I've only recorded the letter A, because that's more than enough sharing for one day! If you can't quite here her, this is what she says: "Mummy, sing a song bout 'A'" And at the end: "Now the 'A' fall over" She loves letters, colours and gymnastics so I've tried to include all of these for her. I just make it up on the spot as I go.
For anyone who is actively doing #limitedscreentime, or is wanting to reduce or refine their screentime, recording videos of you and your kids doing stuff together can be a great resources for later on. Although I ideally would love to be #zeroscreentime, we're not. I have chosen to allow her to use the phone to learn how things work, like the camera, music, photos and so on and I've found that she really enjoys watching videos of us singing together. As I've mentioned, it's not about perfection (that's not even a real thing), it's not even about being able to sing in tune! I hadn't sung for over 10 years, certainly not in front of people and I would never have recorded myself. It's only in the past three years, since learning more about the body, music and vibrations that it's become important for me to sing at every given chance. It's widely acknowledged and understood that singing improves your mental health (1)(2)(3) and therefore it makes it a great thing to do each day to support yourself through PND. (4)(5) So, open your mouth and let some silly come out. For me, after a decade of being unable to sing it has taken a long time to get here, so be gentle with yourself. You can start by humming, by talking with a bit of rhythm, even play around reading something in different voices and tones. There's no right way to do it, just jump on in. When LO was over the game she came over and knocked the tower down. After this we make another game of taking all the letters back to the board and depending on her concentration by this point she either puts them away or I do. If I do it I always make sure that I'm reciting the letters and making a game out of it. Being involved in the process of putting their own toys away is incredibly important as part of the play process and one that we can start from birth. In short, it supports them to learn the value of their belongings, respect, to keep a space clean, to keep toys safe and well looked after. When it is a part of the game from birth it does not become a chore and instead it becomes a habit for life.
What blocks are coming up for you? What fears are coming up? What sensations are in your body when you try or start to sing? How does your child react or behave? How does it feel to sing, uninhibited? What's the silliest phrase you've sung when you're free singing? Anything else?? I'd love to hear about your journey and see your silly games and songs so please upload them to your preferred platform and be sure to tag #consciousparentingmovement on Facebook and Instagram.
(1) https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/20428301111140930/full/html (2) https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/MHSI-11-2016-0034/full/html (3) https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/health-and-wellbeing/sidney-de-haan-research-centre/documents/singing-an-mental-health.pdf