Playlistening helps the evening routine
author By Emilie Leeks,

My OH and I have recently delved into the work of Hand in Hand Parenting, who use the Parenting by Connection approach devised by Patty Wipfler. We have been impressed by the way the approach seems to get to the underlying cause of issues, rather than just addressing symptoms, and it has really felt like a good fit for us. After a bit of reading up, we both did their Parenting by Connection Starter Class, a 6-week in-person or online course (we did the online one for practical reasons), and it has given us so many tools and ideas and new ways to think about things, that I think it's safe to say it has transformed our parenting! One of their tools is called Playlistening, and here is my little story of one of our impromptu Playlistening sessions... Hope you enjoy it!

It had been a tough day. Sundays can often seem to be in our house for some reason: maybe because of work looming the following day after some nice relaxed family time together; maybe because we try to do too much at the weekends and that comes back to bite us on Sundays; maybe because the kids are feeling so chilled that they feel safe to let all their big emotions out. Or maybe just because! Anyway, my OH and I had been pretty snappy with the kids on and off all day, and a bit short with each other at times. Let's just say we had felt the need to issue one or two apologies to various parties in the course of the day!!

At the end of the day, we had a nice tea in spite of the tensions, and I think that perked us up a little; just enough that as we started to clear up, we started spontaneously to engage in one of our favourite family games of 'I'm definitely going to catch you'. As the kids come past, we tell them or each other that we're so quick we will surely catch one of them - which of course leads to them racing past us with much wild shrieking and giggling, as we try in vain to catch hold of them as they shoot past.

This kind of playing, which is often physical and involves taking the less powerful role, is something I find quite challenging (especially at the end of a long day!) but I am so grateful to have found Hand in Hand Parenting, which has not only shown us the value of this sort of play, but also what to do to make the most of it.

Our 'catch' game (where of course we are far too bumbling and slow to actually do any catching at all!), is giving the kids a chance to show us how powerful and in control they are in this situation - a welcome break for all of us from the usual rushed schedules and chores that need to be done, where they don't always get much say. It also makes us all laugh, and we really need that some days, as we get so caught up in the general 'stuff' of life that we forget to enjoy it sometimes!

And after our little Sunday Playlistening 'catch' game, we all felt much more relaxed, and the bedtime routine went really quickly and smoothly - our oldest (6 years) even got himself changed and did his teeth without us having to ask at all, which is not how it normally goes!! And I put it all down to us taking time out to spend just 10 minutes or so laughing and connecting together through Playlistening.

A word or two about Journeys in Parenting: a blog about our experiences on the path of peaceful parenting…

We are a family of 5, living in Berkshire in the UK. I (Emilie) am married to the rather wonderful and (thank goodness!) supportive Stuart, and we have 3 young children, aged 9, 6, and 4. I decided to start this blog after a few enquiries from friends and acquaintances about what our parenting style is all about. I hope that writing about the peaks and pitfalls of our peaceful parenting journey will help others in a similar position - i.e. wanting to make changes to their parenting, but not quite sure where to start! It's very much an ongoing journey for us, and in no way do we claim to have all the answers, but we hope that reading about trying to support our children in a peaceful, responsive way that works for our family will perhaps inspire others to find their own path too.

And to all parents out there reading this: I hope this will be a mutually supportive resource. It is not intended to be a comment on any parenting style which is different from ours, rather it reflects what is working for our family and that which might be useful for others - the article I Am Not a Better Mother Than You says it better than I ever could! I fully welcome respectful comments and questions (e.g. in the vein of "I have found X works well for me" rather than "You shouldn't do it like that") - please try to avoid judgement of others when posting. I have no problem with my ideas being politely questioned, but if our overall parenting style is not for you, please do feel free to go and find other resources which are a better fit for you. Best of luck to everyone, as I know we are all doing the very best that we can for our children, no matter which paths we take!

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