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What Hat do you Wear? Day 65

5.19.20 Day 65

When children have an idea or you are just playing together...What hat do you wear?


Are you the parent that loves:

1. Helping? Oh honey that looks fabulous, if we were just to add a bit more blue over here then it would really look like a sky. Do you want me to do it? If you hold this here it will come out to be the exact right angle that it is supposed to be, can I show you?

  • Child thinking “Mine is just the way I wanted it not the way you do it, now I have to pretend I like yours better”

  • Instead compliment their effort- after all that is what we want them to do...work hard, right?

2. Controlling? First we are going to play a game of tag, then we will go and have a snack whether you are hungry or engaged elsewhere or not, after that we will paint a picture of our family. Make sure there is grass.

  • Child's thoughts: but I wanted to draw a tiger riding on a rabbit while swimming in the ocean- there was no grass in my imagination.

  • Here are a few things we could do today, which of these would you like to do? Lets choose the order together and leave the ideas more open ended so they have say too. Being in charge of your own decision making is extremely important for confidence.

3. Protecting? Careful, careful, UUUUHHHHHHH -gasp, watch out. You aren’t really old enough to be trying that, are you? You could get hurt! You could fall and scrape your knee!

  • Child’s thoughts: Wait, I'm not old enough? I know I can do it though! I'm going to try again when they aren't looking. (first I'll tell them to turn away- they’ll never know my plan)

  • Now instead of being there when they try and may need a helping hand to get back up again, they will try when we aren't around. When a child gets in their head they need to try something or prove to themselves they can do it, believe in their potential, don't shun it. An injury that they invoke they will also overcome!

4. Remonstrating? Boys, stop that rough housing, someone is obviously going to get hurt and you will end up in tears! Make sure you all play nicely!

  • Child’s thoughts: “We are playing nicely, we all want to play this, we all want to take this risk, c’mon you never let us do anything!!!”

  • While roughhousing kids get a chance to overcome anger and fear and to cope with these emotions. If they can not get past them, well then the game ends- their goal is to keep playing!

5. Let Me Play?! Ooh that looks fun let me try, I can jump the highest!

  • Child’s thoughts: “I like when mom wants to play with us but she is taking my turn. I want my turn and I want it quicker. Why doesn't she ever come when I want her to come”

  • On the outside the child smiles because you are interested in playing with them and they like it when you are near. But there is a conflict. Ever notice how they play near your feet no matter if they have a play room designated for playing or not. They want to be near you but they still want their turn. It is also very different if you are invited into the game, also, don't be a showoff!

6. Taking Over? I have an idea that will work even better. Look you just need…

  • Child's thoughts: “if you want to go build a boat, build your own…

  • Let them build what they want how they want, even if it fails. We learn when we make mistakes not when we are constantly right. Life is about overcoming hardships. However, if they ask you to help ask them very specific questions about what they want and help in that way. Do Not help them by asking them “ what if we were to do it this way?” They don't need your suggestions, even if you know your way will make it better or fixed. Disappointment and putting in effort is what's important. Because when they do succeed, the satisfaction is so much greater.

7. Teaching? That's very good Peter, but you don't spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with a lowercase s. It's at the beginning of the sentence which means it must be capitalized. Give me a pencil, I'll demonstrate what I mean.

  • Child's thoughts: I know, I know, you don't have to show me… ugh. Look I spelled it correctly though!

  • Um, yeah let's decide on what's really important. Do you think their teachers wont show them to capitalize at the beginning of a sentence?. If you happen to be their teacher at the moment too then we are not talking about that- we are talking about when you are engaging in play or playful activities with your kids. FYI, I had to copy and paste that word.

8. Looking After? Wait, wait, wait don't run your shoes are untied, let me tie that for you. Oh, it looks like you need more markers, I'll go get them for you.

  • Again different if they ask you to tie their shoe or for more markers. Otherwise, they might trip, and they might only draw with one color. And?

9. Saving? Sorry, I'm going to stop you right now because you may fall back and hurt yourself.

  • Child's thoughts: I know it's hard. I wasn't going to do it, but maybe I can?, hmm I want to try”

  • Maybe they wouldn't have tried the thing you deemed too dangerous, maybe they would have understood their own capabilities on their own. When you think you need to interfere, wait another second, and then another and then another. Most times kids won't try things that they know to be out of their reach. At the same time, this is the only way for them to know their strengths and their weaknesses. To Try! Of course there are certain kids with temperaments that make them think they are superheroes, so you may want to stand closer to those fellows.

So, what hat do you wear? And Can you take it off? Can you put on the supporter hat?, the one who shows confidence in them?, trusts them?, sees them?, understands their needs and less your fears?

(This piece has been adapted from a presentation I heard by the amazing Ali Wood, author, playworker, inspirer)


Would love to hear about what hat you wear, would like to remove, or keep?


Today my kids literally walked on ceilings...played an ample amount of pretend play with dolls and much more.




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