– I wanna take this to areally practical level.
I wanna talk about playbecause as you know that's something that I'm passionate about and I think it is verymuch in our control.
I'm getting messages fromparents all over the world, many, many times a day, hundreds of times a day.
Saying, “Oh but how canI get my kids to play? “My kids don't play, my kids are clingy, “I'm in a small apartment.
My kids have very differentplay styles, my kids fight between them, I'm a workingparent so it can't work for me.
” All of these differentthings around how we don't have control overit and I have to tell you, I understand that, I really do.
I've been through thisprocess with so many thousands of parents, I just get that it can feel like it's not available to us, we can't get our kids to play.
For some reason, these rules won't apply to my kid or to my home or whatever.
But not to brag, but my fourchildren play independently, an average of about sixhours a day, sometimes more.
This was true when welived in a much smaller apartment with no outdoor spaces.
Now we have outdoor space whichwe are really grateful for and more space for ourplay zones but we did this in a small apartment aswell and it was no less true that four very differentchildren of different ages, different temperaments.
And they all play deeply.
Now, I can't make this guarantee about every single child in every situation, but my belief is that justlike kids can learn to read, kids can learn to play independently.
It's a skill, we justdon't value it very much in our culture unfortunately, which is very, very sadbecause not only is it a skill that helps usparents by getting a break especially now, but it's a skill thatis so crucial for kids.
It gives children so muchwhen they play independently.
It develops their skills, their imagination, their creativity, their sense of self.
They go through socialand emotional processing and skill development andgrowth and fine motor skills, and the list just goes on and on and the research is sorich to back that up.
So, I guess what I wanna tell you is that it is possible for everyoneand we, the parents as the CEOs, this issomething that we can control.
Just like we can controlthat we have books in the home and we teachour children reading and literacy and numeracy skills so too, we can absolutelycontrol that play is part of their repertoire andthat play is something that they get to do andthat play is something they are wildly seduced to do by the way that we've set up our home and it doesn't have totake any kind of budget you don't need to put any money on this.
I promise you have everything that you need already at home.
In fact, you might even be getting rid of some stuff, or makingmoney in some garage sale because you might have too much.
So, I could go on andon about this forever, but instead I'm gonna let some people who have already gonethrough this process and made these changes in their home and reclaimed to play in a big way, do the talking for me.
All right, so let me bring onour first guest of the day, Elizabeth who is a presentplayer and a mother of two.
And she tells how she has reclaimed play and completely reprioritizedthe way that she sets up a home, what she does within it especially so that she can support two very different styles ofplayers that her children are.
She has two kids, they'redistinctly different temperaments.
Let's hear Elizabeth's story.
– My name's Elizabeth andI'm living in the Yukon now, outside of Whitehorse in the woods, with my family, our two kids ages 3 and 6, a boy and a girl, and mypartner and his parents.
So the kids were pretty okay for playing but they were still very dependent on me.
Life was pretty good but I was really looking for more support in how to strengthen their independent play muscle.
So how to have them less needing me, less wanting me to playwith them all the time and being able to play more on their own, deeply and therapeuticallyand just for fun.
I'm just aware of thingskind of differently, I don't interrupt mychildren when they play now.
I understand the importanceof what they're doing differently and why they're getting messy in the way that they are.
Or all of a sudden why they'rerunning around and so active and crazy and instead of beinglike, “everybody be quiet, “I can't handle this!” I'm like, “they need tomove, they need to move, “what are we gonna do? “These are my movement options, okay!” And then it's strategy, so this whole course, the biggest thing is that it's given me tools and strategies.
Instead of acting reactively as much, I still act reactively but way less.
Now my mind and my heart is calmer and just goes into “what can I implement?” “What do they need, or what do I need “or how can we both get whatwe both need right now?” And it's working really well.
I think something that'sbeen really helpful for me is learning the differenttypes of play that my children need and that they need tohave really, ideally everyday.
Doesn't happen everyday.
But sometimes it does and when it does, they are so much more fulfilled.
I have issues with noise.
I can't stand it when my children are screaming and hollering or shrill sounds andall of that kinda thing.
Before I would get really reactive or just want to stop it.
“Stop, stop, stop stop, stop.
“Everybody be quiet, I can't do this, “I can't handle it, it was about me.
” And now I'm recognizing they need to play.
So, they need to play, they need to run around.
They need to move theirbodies, they need to spin.
Learning about children andtheir need to go upside down and spin, we have a bar, it'ssupposed to be for clothing in my son's room and itis not used for clothing.
It is his bar for hangingupside down like a bat and he hangs upside down, he does flips, he does jumps and I was always afraidof him getting hurt and that finally went away and then I just didn't getit but that's his thing.
He needs to move and now with my other, she likes to go into, takequiet, imaginary teeny play and so now that I know about the importance oftheir different worlds, I try and protect thator at least allow more of it for each of them.
So for her, whenever I can, I try to make time where she's not gonna getinterrupted by her brother, he's got his own projectthat he wants to do and she's got her ownthing that she wants to do and how to have thosecompliment each other.
So they each get the different types of play that they want and need for their own happiness and development.
– Isn't that inspiring? I love how Elizabeth knew so much already but she still realized that she has to continue her higher educationas a parent and stay inspired.
Learn new strategies, learn new tools so that she can really show up as a CEO and leader of her family.
Okay, but you might bethinking, “look that's great “for Elizabeth, shelives out on the acreage.
“I live in a tiny apartment.
” Or “I have a super clingy child.
” Or “I work full-time and I can't set this “kind of stuff up.
” I hear you, so that's why Ineed to introduce you to Galina.
– I'm Galina.
I came from Russia, from Moscow and now I live in New YorkCity with my husband, Isaac and two kids, 3 and ahalf and 10 months old.
I had a one year old at that moment and I was a little bit lost at how to be at this parenting stuff, I didn't wanna mess up.
I wasn't sure if I'm doing it right.
I was just kinda confused, I was overwhelmed withthe mess of the toys because grandparents would buy toys and we just had, eventhough he was so small but I was completely overwhelmed.
And then I joined Present Play and something that Iabsolutely love is the zones.
Even though I have a very small apartment and often times I have questions about, “Oh my God how can youhave all these zones “in the small apartment?” My apartment is a one bedroom junior.
So it's a one bedroom and one small room where you can't even fit a youknow like, queen sized bed, it's just a small room.
So, we were able to putall the zones into most of them are in the living room, okay? The play-zone and the messy-zone, but the movement-zone issomething that I brag about and everyone who comes to ourhouse are absolutely at awe and they can't believe it.
All the children love it, it took me half a yearto convince my husband, but he did install it in thesmall and the junior room.
We have several swings and not only my childloves it again as I said, all the children who come, they love it.
All the time we do FaceTime with anyone, he comes and he shows, “ohmy God look at what I have.
” And he does play all theseswings for twenty, thirty minutes and sometimes we can't really come out because we do live on East Coast, where cold weather is really predominant, so that allows him to burn his (murmurs).
And the reason why Present Playhelped me is because again, I would never in the wildest dream, think about, you know havinga swing in the apartment and the fact that other peoplealso had small apartments, also weren't able to do it, or who were also not ableto convince their husband, they did it and that was likesuch a ripple effect on me.
I'm like, “okay so Iwant it so, I can do it “and then once he sees how amazing it is, “it's also gonna be an effect on other, “you know things that we”, and messy-zone is another onebecause my husband hates mess, he cannot tolerate it, hejust like cannot stand it.
And he still, because he sees, “oh he's playing forover an hour and a half, “okay I can deal withit, okay I'll do it”.
I wasn't sure if my childwould play independently 'cause he was clingy and a lot of parents have this complaint, so when he was born and he was 1, I didn't know anything aboutindependent play as I told you, I only knew attachmentparenting so, oh my God you cry? I take you.
You cry? Right away, right? And he would not leaveme alone for a second and the moment I joined Present Play, I started implementing all these things like decluttering, (murmurs), allowing him to be on his own, holding the boundary, I'mhere, I know you're there, I'm here, just play.
So, and I wasn't sure if it's gonna happen because it did take, I wouldsay close maybe to a year? That he would really learn.
Like one day I see and hejust plays for twenty minutes and then thirty minutes and then one hour.
And I was shocked and amazed that I didn't know he can do it.
I really wasn't even, I'mlike, “it's all for the kids, “it's okay maybe with another kid, “I'll start with the rightfoot and I'll do it right.
” You know? (laughs) Which is actually, she's 10 months old and I put her often times in this and she has this littlepockets of play of ten minutes, fifteen minutes, which my older never had.
So, I think I did startwith the right foot with my second one, but even with my first one that I didn't start with the right foot and was always having him, holding him, he is now able to play for a long time.
I was just amazed and even now after it's been almost a year that he plays that way.
I always get amazed and I take joy in it because I see how much he's learning while he's doing it in his head, he narrates what he's doing and I see how he processessome of the things, he would process adoctor's visit sometimes.
He would go and play with doctors and I see he processes that or he processes reverse parenting, like he becomes the father and he is able to say allthese things to his “children.
” You know? And this way, he kinda comesout of it and he's emotional and much more balanced and he doesn't have totantrum because of it, because he can process thisthrough his own little play.
And also, physical things like physics.
He was doing yesterday, beads and water and I was seeing how he learnedto pour just enough water from a bigger cup to a smallercup without spilling it and I was looking at it and Iwas amazed because I'm like, “oh my God, you're learning this whole “concept without being told in school “of how to measure correctly.
” So, that probably was thebiggest takeaway for me.
– So, guys you see? Galina lives in reallycold weather conditions, she can't always get out, her child was very clingy after a very tight attachmentparenting relationship and she has another child and she works and she deals with all ofthis in a small apartment where she didn't think shecould set up all her zones and yet, she has like a boss.
When we say, I can't doit, it won't work for me, my house is too small, my budget's too small, my child's too clingy, Idon't know I'm too busy.
Those, with all the lovein the world and respect, I have to call them out, those are excuses because people make it work in so many different scenarios and it transforms their lives.
Let's talk to another working mom who's rocking it like a boss.
– My name's Melissa Marfioroza, I have two children.
I have a 7 year old daughterand I have a 6 year old, they're 20 months apart and my husband, he works at home sometimes and he works at lots of different places.
And then, my mom and my dad live with us.
So that's kind of like, other complications.
– Six people.
– In a three bedroom.
So like, I was just notknowing how to organize my life in the middle of chaos and I was just all thesetoys and I was like, “I don't know how toorganize all these things, “I don't know what to do!” I was scrolling throughFacebook, crying (laughs) and there was an ad aboutimmersing your child in play and I'm like, “that's what I need.
” And what I didn't realize at the time was that it was also all theparenting tools that I needed, in the midst of stress, right? Like this is how youcan do all these things and you don't have tobe everything at once which was fantastic.
Something I learned from Present Play is that it's really, really, really helpful to put, to make sure that the structure of the spacematches the intent, right? And that it's really understandable and easy for children to identify.
So, this is a space for tumbling and that this is a space for play and that this is whereyou can be messy area.
And that this is for thisand that is for that.
Since the corona virus, mykids were out of school.
So the first thing I didwas make a desk space.
And I'm like, “this is your school space “and your school space hasall your school materials, “this is where schoolwork is done.
” And it didn't take awayfrom their art area before so all of their stuff still exist.
And it made it really easy forme to have my place for work and my husband's place for workand my mom's place for work.
And we're all kind of in thesame place while doing our work and that really helped withat least the transition to homeschooling.
As far as being home all the time, now there's challenges with resistance or helped us to be able to say, “okay, “let's go into Present Play “and see what kind ofchallenges there are.
” “What are some thingsthat they can do that “are away from play that I can set up “and already have readyfor them so that when “they're done doing their work, “they've got something thatis drawing their attention.
” And that way you can kindof structure their day where I've gotta get some work done, I can't deal with fighting and dealing with all of thediscord that they might have.
So it's just really easyto be like, “okay here, “you're gonna move onto this area now.
“You're gonna move onto this area now.
” And just kind of treat it alittle bit like a preschool.
– If you too haveexperienced this challenge in transitioning into homeschooling and working from home and managing perhaps amulti-generational family and how to flow throughout the day and feel novelty within your space, like yes we're always home and always in the same four walls however, there are different experiencesto be had within that space.
I really want you to take aleaf out of Melissa's book here.
And finally, let meintroduce you to Victoria.
A stage manager over at the Disney Resort, who works very hard and long hours and is often away from her son.
However, Victoria has foundthe ways to be in touch, deeply in touch with her son, through the ways that shecaters to his play needs even when she's not home.
Take a listen.
– Hi, I'm Victoria, and I live in Southern California, I have one little babyboy and his name's Nash and he's about 21 months.
And we both work inentertainment so he's a musician and I'm a stage manager and we work at the Disneyland Resort, here in Southern California.
I think my son was around 10 months old when I joined Present Play and it was a very simpleguide that I could follow to set my home up and to make these small changes with stuff that I already had, it wasn't like I was goingout and buying more stuff.
Yeah slowly I started to maybebuy some furniture pieces to store toys into differently, but for the most part, everything is stuff that I had and I was able to redesign myspace for my son to play in and we got rid of the gates, these horrendous gates that I hated and we just had this open space for him and we created the “yes” spaces and it's really, was a game changer.
And I'm grateful that I foundit when he was 10 months old because at that time I waslike, “well is this even “relevant for a 10 month old baby?” But it was and as he's gotten older, he naturally kind of has been molded into this independent play toddler.
It's allowed me to parent from work by setting up this environment for him.
It's allowed me to feelokay to leave the house because I'm like, “okayI've set it up for success.
” I've set up my caretakersfor success in our household because I've created thesesafe environments for him that are geared towards him with his toys and everything that he needs.
There's days where I leave thehouse at 4:30 in the morning.
So, I'm leaving thehouse before he wakes up and I don't get homeuntil right at bedtime, which is 7:00 pm.
So I'm gone basically the whole day, so there's days where I'llget up early and I'll strew and I'll leave stufffor him in his playroom and then go to work andI'll text “did he like it?” “Did he play with it?” (laughs) And then they'll be likeyeah he was like “ooh!” And then he destroyed itwhich is what he does, but its okay.
When you join the group, these are a lot of thebasics that we are learning, is how to declutterand create these spaces and let our kids play independently.
And I'm very excited tokind of start over again in this new year, because within a year, it's amazing how much you can acquire and you need to declutter again and how your child is growing so you wanna maybe create adifferent kind of space for them or reorganize their spaceto fit their needs now.
– So you guys, you too can reclaim play.
You too can create five play zones, in whatever home you havewith whatever budget you have.
This is doable stuff.
I know that it is so easyto just Netflix and chill all day in our pajamaswith a bottle of wine.
I get the temptation.
But I am calling you to use this time to step into your leadershiprole, your creative role, and to really kinda get yourMBA in parenting, right? Get your training, make thisyour creative self-actualizing, self-growth realm that you step into.
Through the lens of parenting, I can have creativity, I can self-actualize, I can find fulfillment and I can grow even spiritually.
And it starts with thelowest hanging simple fruit of just designing ourfive play zones in a home and watching the play flourish.
So don't forget to check out the challenge and the (murmurs) before they come down and I hope I get to welcome you a warm welcome into Present Play because that is where wetake things these things, to the next level.
– (speaking in foreign language).