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DAY 2 – Fewer Fights & Fabulous Fun!

Welcome to Day 2!

Today we look at

  • a brilliant parenting book called Playful Parenting by Dr Lawrence Cohen – I can’t recommend it highly enough
  • why play is so effective.  Apart from it being great fun – there are a variety of reasons it’s so helpful.
  • the importance of emotional release – perfect for releasing embarrassment, fear and powerlessness, even though it may happen at inappropriate times
  • a really simple game, which you would have played at some point, but may not have done for a while.
  • how you can use a high-energy game strategically when you need your children to ‘behave’ for a particular occasion
  • [note – bonus videos with additional games further down the page]



Chasing Game

So the chasing game is super, super simple.  And you’ve probably played it a lot.  But have you played it recently?  It can be so easy to let these sort of games slip us by as our kids get older and there are lots of other things grabbing our attention.  But chasing is so useful because it:

  • enables your child to become the more powerful, faster, more cunning person
  • allows your child to release feelings of powerlessness (which they will inevitably feel in everyday life) through laughter, rough & tumble and physical touch
  • reconnects us with our kids in a fun, physical way
  • can be used for 10 minutes before, for example, going to church or visiting an elderly relative, or anytime you know your attention will be elsewhere.

Other Variations (not in the video)

I’ve also used it at the beginning of a party – all the parents played with their kids for 10 minutes before then moving indoors for more adult conversation whilst the children, filled up with connection and fun, stayed outside happily playing

You can also use it if your child is afraid of monsters.  You could pretend to be the goofiest, most useless monster trying to get your child but you keep on falling over and being completely unable to get them.   Or you can switch it and the child is the scariest monster and gets you.

If your child is too afraid to even want to have you be the silliest monster, you could still play the game but not specifically say you’re the monster (or whatever they are afraid of).  Simply by playing the game, to the level your child is comfortable with and providing your child is laughing, will help to release some of their upset feelings and fears.

The key – is that your child is laughing.  Once they start to cry or not want to play anymore, obviously stop and listen to the tears if crying, or move on to another game.  ‘Follow the giggles’ as Dr Larry Cohen says.

IMPORTANT – No Tickling

Often we tickle our kids because we know it will make them laugh.  However, being tickled is actually a very powerless position to be in.  Often the child is held and can’t get away, and is saying “Stop” despite laughing at the same time.  They laugh automatically, but often we having it done.  I still can’t have anyone touch my feet because of being tickled as a child!

Now this is not to say that all tickling is bad.  Most kids still like it a bit and can ask to be tickled.  So if you do want to continue and your child asks for it, then just do it in tiny short bursts, whilst reading your child’s cues.  And obviously stop when they say stop.

If you didn’t want to continue with tickling, you could progress onto rough and tumble instead.  So you’ve still got that physical connection, but it’s now in a different, less overpowering, form.  Maybe throwing them on the bed or nuzzling into them, or kissing them all over, you get the idea.

BONUS GAME – The Sock Game

This is a lot of fun and is also super easy and addresses feelings of powerlessness.  Basically, you’re both on the bed wearing socks – I wear hiking socks that are easy to be pulled off.  And the idea is who can get the other person’s socks off first.  Overall you’re going to let your child win, but you build up the difficulty as your child gets older and more capable.  It’s a high energy game, that’s quick and fun.  Lots of laughter and physical connection.  And this is a picture of my daughter after she had just won!

BONUS GAME – The Pillow Fight

Some of you may have already seen this, but I’m posting it her for those who haven’t.  This is an example where I turned a challenging situation – my daughter starting to become aggressive with her friends – into a fun, connecting game that stopped her antsy behaviour.  It’s obviously super simple, but very effective and great fun.


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