Play And Positive Interaction

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I’ve been reading a book called ‘Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice‘ and in the first chapter Sarah Chana Radcliffe talks about the 80/20 ratio of how we talk to our children.  She says:

“Eight out of ten parenting moments should be pleasant ones from the child’s point of view. Ideally, 100% of parental interactions are meant for the well-being of the child; however, not all interventions feel good to the child….Typical good-feeling interactions include smiling, hugging, touching, giving compliments, praising, using affectionate names, verbalizing love and affection, listening, playing, joking, giving treats, showing interest, sharing ideas and helping. … Typical bad-feeling interactions include yelling, criticizing, correcting, looking angry or displeased, complaining, ignoring, reprimanding, threatening, punishing, nagging, lecturing, interrogating, insulting, supervising, commanding, directing, and instructing.”

*Note that the bad-feeling interactions aren’t necessarily bad things, they’re just not necessarily ‘feel good’.

Since reading this, I’ve been remarkably conscious of how I speak to Ameli, and what I say to her, and how quickly my 20% quota runs out –especially on commanding, supervising and instructing.

Now, I spend a lot of time with Ameli, but how much of it is quality is debatable. We do a lot together – go to playgrounds, play groups, soft play, for walks, to the coffee shop and so on, but I don’t often play with her, even at the park or soft play – it’s usually more me watching her or talking to her. Neither of those are bad things either, but they’re not always as interactive and dedicated attention as play would be.  I have said before that I don’t really know how to play, and in secret I would admit that I find it boring, and imagination isn’t my strong point.  But I know that I’d love to learn to play, if only someone could teach me, because I realise that in play, and in playful parenting, there’s a lot more opportunity to utilise those good-feeling interactions in every day ways.

And then someone came along who could (maybe).

Anna, from The Imagination Tree, and Jamie from Hands On: As We Grow have set up a project called 30 Days To Hands On Play, and I’ve decided to try to participate as much as I can. I can’t promise I’ll take part every day or with every challenge, but I can promise that I’m going to try.

For me, and for my children.


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5 thoughts on “Play And Positive Interaction

  1. That sounds like an easy ratio to keep in mind. Did you like the book? I am always up for a good read that would help me be a better parent.

    Also, I hope you have fun exploring playing this month. I think that I also “do” lots of things and have small amounts of playtime many times throughout the day, but aiming for a longer time continuously is a good challenge for me!
    Amanda’s last blog post ..Tot School Fall Painting – A toddler Masterpiece


    Luschka Reply:

    @Amanda, Hi Amanda, I’m only on chapter one (I take forever to read books these days) but so far so good. It’s amazing though, the impact the 20/80 thing has had on my interaction with Ameli. Even today I started singing and ‘dancing’ in the car and it made her laugh and join in, which I think counts towards the 80. I look forward to it becoming habit though.


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