154: Less Strife at Home by Asking A Single Question – Part 1 in the Open-Ended Play Series

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

What might your child do with cardboard boxes?

What if there was one question you could ask – and the result would be a more harmonious home? (I know, I don’t love the word harmonious either, but it really fits here, so I’m sticking with it.)

A harmonious home is one in which the people who live there enjoy each other’s company, at least more often than not. Differences are worked out peacefully, everybody’s needs are met, and it just feels like a good place to be.

We’re looking at how to make that home a reality in the first of a series I’m creating to help you have:
– Less strife at home
– Better relationships, including smoother experiences out in the world with your young child
– Nobody living in your basement when they’re thirty

Today is all about the at-home part, digging into how you can have a more harmonious home.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/154 for the show notes and key links – including the sign-up button for our upcoming NPC FAQ Q&A on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 1 PM EST!

It may seem counter intuitive, but less strife at home is brought about by, of all things, more open-ended play. This might feel like a stretch, but I hope you’ll trust me; in today’s episode I make a pretty convincing case.

Last week – in podcast time – you got to hear my conversation with two early childhood education professors, at two different colleges, whose worlds are being rocked by the young adults who take their classes.

Their worlds aren’t being rocked in a good way, though; Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky’s students arrive at college completely unprepared, despite outstanding test scores and even though they look pretty great on paper. Daly and Beloglovsky report young adults who are “frozen” and “passive,” and they blame the major gaps in these college students’ abilities on lack of open-ended play.

Speaking with high school teachers and other college professors has shown Daly and Beloglovsky the pervasiveness of this problem. They report on the concerns of employers as well, because employers now are seeing young adults with the same traits of passivity and a massive lack of understanding of the physical world.

All because of the loss of open-ended play in their lives.

My conversation with these two wonderful authors and college professors shook me to my core in many ways. They describe real people, with huge and real problems, because back when they were small they couldn’t focus on the job of childhood: play!

I knew I needed to get that message to you, because now – when your kids are young – this is the time to get them many and varied experiences of play.

And if you’re thinking “oh, great – one more thing to incorporate into my kid’s life,” I address that in today’s episode as well.

Bringing open-ended play into your home make everything easier:
– With more initiative on your child’s part, you need to do less
– There’s less for us parents to manage
– Home life is more fun, both for us and for our kids

But, I hear you asking: what’s the question, this one question you reference, Karen?

In our conversation, Lisa Daly talks about a boy named Arnie, always in trouble for throwing stuff. She suggests looking for Arnie’s interests in a different way:
“If you start observing for the verb – the action – that children are doing, and not the noun, you will start to find their interests.”

When Arnie’s teachers looked at it that way, they realized his interest is in trajectory. Then the question became, how do you further his interest in trajectory without endangering everyone around him?

I love their answer: light-weight stuff for Arnie to throw, such as balls of yarn.

When Miriam Beloglovsky tells about a boy who wanted to swing, when all the swings were taken, who then built himself a swing – that’s where the question comes in.

This boy’s teachers said to him “what do you need?” and he replied – “I need a rope!”

THAT is the question: “what do you need?”

Asking kids that one question changes everything; instead of becoming frustrated and crying or lashing out, when asked “what do you need?” this boy used his problem-solving skills, his
enthusiasm, and his motivation to create himself a swing.

No one spent any money – this is not an expensive proposition.

Not only were his feelings of frustration and lack (of a swing) blocked, he created and built this thing himself!

What might your child create, how might your child help herself feel less frustrated, if you ask this question?

Seriously, it makes everything better.

Once you do this, and you start to see the awesome results, please get in touch with me! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact with questions or comments… I can’t wait to hear from you!

Key Links:

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/152 for my conversation with Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky, the two college professors of early childhood education with whom I spoke recently. It rocked my world, I bet it will rock yours as well!

Want some concrete tools in your quest for a more harmonious home? Check out my book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child in Amazon by clicking here, where you can read the introduction for free and decide if it’s right for you.
Then, come and grab the book for free at my upcoming NPC FAQ Q&A (see top of page : )