Game, Set and Match

Family with two kids having fun playing board gamesThe Festive season is almost over.  How has your family benefited from the wave of activities and time spent together?  The secret to success at times like these is to keep the momentum going and realise what a lot of wonderful positive parenting has been achieved through giving time to your family. Thinking of sports analogies can help in taking time out to build onto the active parenting that took place during the holiday time.

Its about practise makes perfect, making sure you follow through and if you are a cricket fan then you need to ’bend your back’ and get into the game.

Practice makes perfect

Parenting, like achieving a better handicap in the golfing circles, takes practise.  It is not a once off attempt at doing something better.  Parenting takes time and effort over time.  Think about the holiday period when there was no work pressure and decide what activities were successful.  Use those same activities to invest in your relationship with your children.

What did everyone enjoy?

  • Outdoor sports and picnics – make time to go on another outing in the new year and plan for one every month
  • Board games – play the old favourites as part of your weekend routine and buy a new game every so often to keep the momentum going.
  • Puzzles – have a puzzle table that the latest puzzle lies on and can be done as part of the morning routine if there is still holiday time available.
  • Baking – investigate new recipes perhaps you have a budding chef in the family. Start a family recipe book to record favourite recipes.
  • Having friends over for ‘play dates’ – invite the friends that had a good time with your children over for keeping social skills and friendships active.

Family Playing Board Game At Home With Grandparents WatchingPractising positive parenting through activities that you know were a success gives everyone the confidence to try again and be happy doing things together. Success breeds success they say, so carry on doing something everyone enjoyed. It is always especially meaningful to children if their parents are there showing that they too are enjoying the activity.

Making sure you follow through

The ‘follow through’ is the most important part of many sports actions. If you don’t keep your head down or your eye on the ball and follow through then you will not be guaranteed of a good accurate shot. This analogy applies so perfectly to parenting. Children need to know that the promised game or event or treat is going to happen.

How can you keep promises and follow through?

  • Make sure you have put aside the time before you make the promise
  • Budget for the event and choose something that is within your budget.
  • Be prepared to get actively involved as that adds to the success of the outing or activity. Children love knowing that their parents are taking part in the fun.
  • Invite like-minded people or close family. The more the merrier is a good way to go.
  • Make a plan to switch your phone off for the time that you are spending with your children.
  • Set the ground rules before you go so that everyone knows what is expected and this will make the event a positive one.

The ‘follow through’ is going to be the part of parenting that makes engaging with your children an on-going positive affair. During the festive season most families had time to get together and initiate activities, play games and go on outings. Follow through on these successes and keep spending time with your family.


Bend your Back

A classical cricketing term for putting some extra effort into your bowling. Parents can easily use this analogy to put some extra speed or spin into their family activities. Building onto the time you already spent together and your successes think of other engaging ideas and before you know it your extra effort will pay off and create a culture of family games and outings. New additions to your repertoire could include:

  • Packing away the decorations used for the Festive season together. Wrapping delicate items in paper and setting them in a box ready for next year. Put a goodwill message in the box to be opened at the next time you decorate your Christmas tree.
  • If you had a real tree to decorate find out ways to recycle the tree, don’t just discard it into the bin. There are some great ideas of things to do to recycle your Christmas tree. Standing it in the garden with pine cones dipped in peanut butter to attract birds is just one idea.*
  • Have a family theme day where everyone dresses up, eats food related to the theme and plays games too. Pirates is always a good theme to choose because boys and girls can relate and mums and dads can join in too.
  • Go on a colour hunt as opposed to a treasure hunt. Children collect objects round the house of the same colour and then build a collage with their collection. Photograph or draw the collection to add to the fun. ‘Beafunmum’ has a 100 ideas to stimulate your imagination.**
  • Get healthy again! After eating a lot of sweets it is a good idea to start getting back to a healthy eating and exercise routine again. Exercise is a great way to combat the after holiday blues as exercise releases endorphins and will lift the mood of children who may feel a bit low after the excitement of the holiday. Make your own obstacle course at home and have some fun races to get everyone motivated.
  • Put together a Magic Moments family journal recording the events of this year and start a family tradition of recording the year gone past to read again at the next year end festivities.

Reminiscing on the wonderful festive season, celebrated with family and friends, gives parents the opportunity to congratulate one another on a job well done. Practising the techniques learnt through playful interaction with your children will have made a difference this holiday. Think about sports you have enjoyed and use those dedicated analogies to draw a parallel to parenting. Whatever the final score is you will always be a winner when you spend quality time with your children.