Observations on the playground
Watching kids can give you some great parenting insights, muses Marlon Abrahams.
I’ve had a busy week this week, for a change, and as I sat down to write my column I had a quiet giggle thinking about a request I received from my publisher to write my first e-book in American English. Gotta hand it to the yanks though- they know how to market stuff. Oh, the book’s about parenting, they’re still deciding on a title, but it should be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks. The book contains pearls of wisdom from my experiences as a single dad, so I’ll let you know when it’s available. Anyhoo, I thought I’d be a bit self-indulgent with this column and write it in typical American TV-diary style, all about me and my week. But, don’t despair there’s lots in it for you too. Firstly the book, but we’ve spoken about that already.

Watch and learn...

The other thing I wanted to share with you was my observations on the playground at Maddi’s school when I dropped her off this morning. I love going there; it’s such a celebration of the carefree spirit that all kids possess. The rear entrance to the school requires a short walk across two huge sports fields, which are always occupied by screaming, laughing, playing, running kids. And this is at around 07:30 in the morning.

Maddi’s routine in the morning involves me cajoling her out of bed from about 6am. She’s a lot like the turbo unit on my diesel Golf…takes a while to kick in, but when it does, you’d better hold on tight. So when she wakes up it takes a good half-hour before all her wheels are spinning in the same direction. Now this is a bit of an adjustment for a pedantic Capricorn like me who when my mother shouted across the house for me to get up at 5am to go to school (back when I was Maddi’s age), I would react by hopping out of bed in an instant with all wheels spinning like clockwork. I’m a morning person.

Who turned the kids into zombies?

So there we were entering the school grounds and this time I noticed a few zombies as well. You know, those kids who shuffle around with their hands in their pockets, eyes cast down at the ground wearing sullen expressions of doom. That’s the kind of attitude you’d expect from a teen, not rambunctious 6 year olds, hey?

It saddened me that for whatever reason these kids were carrying around something so heavy that it made them drag around frowns and grumps.

The rules of fun parenting

Rule number one to make sure your kid is a happy chappy in the morning is to feed it! Make sure they eat before they go to school, even if it is a few bites from last night’s left overs. The brain needs some fuel to get going. Rule number two is to acknowledge that no 6-year-old needs to be stressed and grumpy. They will have enough time for that crap when they hit their teens and adulthood just like you and I have. Rule number 3 (yes it’s the last rule). On the way to school, engage, talk, turn the music up and sing to the damn song even if you don’t know the words.

We all have an inner child apparently. Being a kid should be fun, and it’s your job to make sure it stays that way.

Oh the other thing I’ve been really busy with is arranging a workshop for Single Dads. If you know of any single dads who could benefit from some growing up in that department have a look here.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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