**THIS IS A SPONSORED POST**
I just wanted to get that out there right away. I have been given a year long free subscription to the tool that I am going to tell you all about in exchange for writing a review of it. I’m really excited that I’ve been offered this opportunity because of my little blog which I began to write as a way to record my time spent with A (and a means of staving off boredom!)
Anyway – with that out of the way – on with the review. (Also if you read all the way to the end you can actually win something!)
First things first
WeParent is designed as an accessible tool to help parents with the development of confident, robust and psychologically healthy children by working through common areas of challenge such as independence, sibling rivalry and social skills.
It’s all based on Child Psychology and has been created with a psychologist and everything (and I am sure as a primary teacher, particularly as an early years practitioner, I should have heard of him but there you go). The psychological bits are presented in a way that’s easy to understand without all the usual jargon that goes with it. So that’s nice.
So what is WeParent?
WeParent focuses on five different areas of psychological development: Emotions, Friendship and Social Skills, Independence, Positive Sense of Self and Sibling rivalry. These areas are then split into sections. For example Friendship and Social Skills is subdivided into categories such as ‘Sharing’ and ‘Managing Envy’.
Let’s take a look at sharing. If you click on that ‘module’, you see an overview of the approach to be taken and why it’s important. There is a simple map of how the learning and activities will fit together and then you get some fun psychological facts about sharing such as, “As toddlers, we are self-centred” (I think this goes for babies too: A is at a particularly grabby/screamy phase so woe betide you if you try to reinstate your pilfered glasses on your face!) Lastly, you encounter the strategies, all supported by activities, that will help your Little to learn more about sharing.
What do I think? (Where it becomes obvious that I once had to think about this sort of thing in a professional capacity)
Well clearly A, at 10 months, is not ready for this stuff yet. However, as a responsible and overly anxious person (the kind that gets to airports 4 hours before the first check in time, which is 2 hours before the flight) I like to read up on things before they become something I really need to read up on. It’s been great finding out strategies for things I will inevitably encounter in A’s future. For example, in ‘Positive Sense of Self’ there is a section on ‘Managing Self Talk’. The section explains that “Self talk is the voice in our head which can be positive or negative and has a great impact on weather your child has a positive or negative sense of self”. Now, as someone with anxiety, I have talked to professionals a few times about what my internal monologue is saying about me so this section was of great interest. You, as a parent, impact your child’s self perception so the tips focus on thinking as a parent how you talk to your child, particularly when issues arise. After all, children develop their internal monologue based first on what they hear being said about themselves and this will first come from their parents.
In teaching, we talk about describing the action and not the child. No child, after all, is stupid, but their actions may not have been well thought through. No child is horrid but they may have made their friend upset so need to think before acting. It is this principle that WeParent suggest adopting with your toddler.
For example, if your toddler breaks a glass you may be tempted to call them clumsy and careless but repeated use of this phrase may well make your darling offspring believe themselves to be clumsy and careless (and when thinking of managing a behaviour: once someone believes themselves to be something, they often act out this behaviour more often). So, instead of labelling the child instead label the action. “You broke the glass as you were not paying attention. Lets’ pay more attention please.” This not only avoids telling the child there is something innately wrong with them but also reinforces positive behaviour (paying attention).
So in summery (where I try and not ramble like I did in the other section)
For me, these strategies really make sense. I think – with rephrasing – a lot could be used in primary schools (especially early years settings). As a parent, it’s great to start thinking of the many parenting challenges hurtling my way!
The layout is really simple. It’s easy to find a particular thing that might be concerning you and quickly access the advice and practical steps which are laid out without theory so you can put it into practice immediately.
Lastly, and probably most importantly for me at least, it doesn’t feel patronising or preachy. The description of a role play in ‘Self Care’ particularly resonated with me and was something I could definitely see myself acting through both with my own children and in the early years classroom.
The exciting bit (where you can actually win stuff)
So the lovely people at WeParent have given me 10 free twelve month memberships to give away to my lovely readers! 10! As I have never run a give away before this is actually jolly exciting for me. So what I am going to do is give the memberships away to the first 10 people who leave a comment on this page and share it on a social media. There simple.
So tell me what you think and also let me know what challenges your darling little one has given you recently?
Until next time.