Getting Dressed – Giggle Parenting Inspiration


With giggle parenting the jokes wear off. After a while they lose their giggle potential. And when difficult situations come up over and over again, we’re constantly being challenged to think of new and creative ways to get the laughter flowing.

A lot of this creativity happens in the moment, and the play we come up with there and then. Every child is different and you are the best expert on what makes your child laugh.

Still we all need some inspiration sometimes.

I’ve already covered getting dressed in this post, and this one. But I thought up this game the other day, and my daughter found it hilarious.

Having a cuddly toy to get your child dressed can be really helpful. Often when a child won’t co-operate when we ask them to do something they’ll be much more likely if it’s their favourite cuddly toy doing the persuasion.

To add laughter. Have the toy get out your child’s outfit. Then the toy tells your child that they need to get on their ‘getting dressed outfit.’ Then the toy puts on your child’s outfit.

We can act all surprised and confused saying to the toy, ‘your getting dressed outfit? what are you talking about? That’s not your outfit, that’s (insert child’s name)’s outfit! You are meant to get them dressed, not put on the clothes yourself.”

Adding giggles to the morning routine, is a wonderful way to deepen the connection with your child, and makes the rest of the day go much more smoothly.

Would you like a giggle parenting solution to your family challenge? Leave me a comment or send me a message

Giggle Parenting Inspiration: For Parents That Talk Too Much!


My daughter was playing with a piece of sellotape the other day. She was trying to stick it to my nose, and then my mouth. I was acting all playfully ‘frustrated,’ complaining in a light-hearted way that really got her giggling.

We were meant to be going to clean her teeth, but I decided to stay with the play when I realised that this ‘silly’ moment, actually had a lot of potential to help release feelings of powerlessness through laughter.

I kept playfully telling my daughter that I had important things to say, and taking the sellotape off, while she kept sticking the sellotape back on my mouth.

My previous posts about giggle parenting have focused on behaviour that we want to ‘fix’ in our child. But really it’s not the behaviour that is the problem. Our children’s off-track behaviour is really just a symptom of disconnection.When we connect with our children we can heal this disconnection. The behaviour gets ‘fixed’ as a side effect of this connection.

So this post comes from a different angle. A way in which we can ‘fix’ and change our own behaviour.

Ever since reading this inspiring post , How I learned to shut my mouth and why you should too from by Hand in Hand parenting instructor Julie Johnson I’ve been thinking about the importance of silence, and how we can deepen our connection with our child by giving them silence and space.

If you have a piece of sellotape to hand (that is slightly sticky rather than the kind that would be painful to take off your mouth!) then you could invite your child to play by saying in a light-hearted tone, ”I’ve got something very important to say, so I really hope you don’t use this sellotape to tape up my mouth.”

If you catch yourself nagging or talking too much and your child is rolling their eyes or sulking, you can play this. You can also invite your child to ‘zip’ up your mouth using their fingers. Then you can’t talk and just make lots of ”mmmm” sounds.

This is the perfect way to restore the power balance between you and your child!

Would you like a giggle parenting solution for your family challenge? Leave me a comment or send me a message

Giggle Parenting For Teeth Cleaning


With Giggle Parenting the jokes sometimes wear off and what had our child in fits of giggles a few weeks ago, won’t always be so funny. Coming up with new games isn’t always easy.

I love these three playful brushing teeth videos from Hand in Hand parenting instructor Kristen Volk. They’ve inspired me to keep trying new games and making teeth cleaning a fun and playful experience.

Today we had a flying toothbrush. I spoke in an ‘automated’ sounding voice to be the  toothbrush saying, ”We are coming into land. We need an open landing bay.” My daughter’s mouth was shut. So I said, ”oh no, the landing bay is shut! Lets try another landing bay.’ Then I’d try my mouth. And then say, ”oh no! That’s not right, that’s not the right mouth!”

Then I started saying ”we need some pearly white sparkling teeth to land on.” Then I’d realise my mistake and say, ”oh no! That’s not right! I mean we need some dirty teeth.” My daughter laughed and laughed. The teeth got cleaned easily.

If you’re in a rush to get out the door or get to bed and your child just isn’t co-operating with teeth cleaning (or anything else), it can be a struggle not to lose patience, put on a serious voice in an attempt to get them to hurry up. But try some giggle parenting, and you may find that the teeth get cleaned a lot quicker.

Would you like a Hand in Hand parenting solution for your family challenge? Leave me a comment, or use the contact form here

And if you’re looking to set limits, and get your child to co-operate then check out Hand in Hand parenting’s online self-study course, Setting Limits And Building Co-operation

Giggle Parenting To Help Your Child Fall Asleep On Their Own


Sleeping arrangements are individual to all families. I actually love sleeping cuddled up with my daughter, and would happily do so night after night. For others it works best for everyone to have their own separate bed.

However, I began to notice that bedtime was my daughter’s ‘broken cookie’; a moment of the day that had strong feelings for her. So I wanted to help her with these feelings, as I wrote about in my last post.

Listening to these feelings for us is not about setting a rigid routine of how she must fall asleep every night for the rest of her childhood. It’s about building her confidence and checking that she doesn’t have fear and anxiety coming up in everyday situations – like falling asleep.

Last night we focused on giggles and play. As she lay down to sleep in my bed. I put her toy banana in her bed reading one of my books. Then I said, ”hey! Excuse me banana, that’s my book!” I put myself in the less powerful role, which always makes her laugh.

You might have noticed that when children are feeling nervous to separate from us they call us back because they need something. Their covers are all wonky, or they need the toilet suddenly, or a drink of water.

I decided to play around with that neediness of children to call us back if they want something. I told my daughter I would leave soon, and I said in a very light, playful tone, ”and please don’t call me back if you want…. ten socks.” She laughed. I repeated the sentence again, telling her I was going to go, and then saying, ”and please don’t call me back if you…want to go bring a real-life elephant to bed.” I kept coming up with all sorts of crazy scenarios to get her laughing, like ‘please don’t call me back if you want to… go to the supermarket, eat an ice cream, go to a disco, use some Lego as a pillow etc. The sillier the scenario the better. She fell asleep quickly and easily after that.

If your child has fears around falling asleep alone, or being in their own bed you might want to add in some giggles. Each time we laugh together we are building a closer connection that our child internalises so even if we do go into the next room, they can still feel deeply connected to us.

Working on fears and anxieties around bedtime can help children sleep through the night, because those feelings are released they don’t wake them up later. It can help prevent waking too early in the morning too. Even if your child sleeps really well you may notice that when you help them with bedtime feelings they grow in confidence in other areas of their life.

Here’s my other post about this topic, Why I Helped My Daughter To Fall Asleep Alone

To learn more about helping our children sleep well check out Hand in Hand parenting’s online self-study course, Helping Young Children Sleep

Silly Stories For Separation Anxiety


My mum is staying at the moment, and last night my daughter got very over-excited showing off to granny! When it was her usual bedtime she was really hyperactive and talking non-stop and finding it really hard to relax.

I started telling more silly stories like these ones, to help her relax, and wind down. I began to tell her about the next day, when I’d be going out to lunch with a friend, and granny would be looking after her. I suspected my daughter might be feeling a bit nervous (as well as excited!) about this upcoming separation.

I had granny make lots of mistakes just like we do in real life playlistening. They had planned to go on a bike ride, but then I had granny get in a boat instead, thinking that it was a bike.

Then I would have my daughter get granny’s phone, and call me up in the restaurant, and tell me everything was going wrong. I would answer the phone making chewing noises, before being able to talk. After our phone conversation I would then fly back in a plane from the rooftop of the restaurant and land on our balcony at home. Then I could sort out whatever silly situation granny had got into.

I had the granny tell my daughter they were going to a park with some balls, and then have her go to the supermarket and get eggs and throw them around. Then granny said they were going on a treasure hunt, and she ended up picking rubbish out of a bin and saying it was treasure. I had granny get the entire contents of the kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer onto the floor of the kitchen, and say that it was Lego bricks. She would take a chocolate biscuit, and say, ”mmm this Lego tastes delicious!”

Each time something silly happened my daughter would phone me at the restaurant and I would come back to sort things out.

My daughter laughed a lot, and even told me, ”this is helping me calm down.” After a while she was yawning and fell asleep easily.

Silly stories are great to tell about any upcoming separation. We can release any feelings of nervousness or anxiety through laughter. We can also build connections with our child, and reassure them (for example my daughter was in a powerful role because she could use the phone to get in contact with me so I could sort things out).

You could make up silly stories about anything. Have your child be in the more powerful role, and have some silly adults that make mistakes just like in playlistening. Root the stories in the everyday life your child knows well, but have events take an unusual twist. Catch an aeroplane to playgroup, drive a flying car or go in a secret underground tunnel. Turn your child’s worries and difficulties in life, into a story where they get to be the powerful one. Experiment with using silly stories to build your child’s confidence and release fear and tension through laughter.

What silly stories made your child laugh? I’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂 

Would you like some silly story suggestions to help with your child’s challenges? Leave me a comment or use my contact form here

Giggle Parenting Inspiration For TV Addicts!

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I’ve been setting a lot of limits recently. So when my daughter was watching videos on her Ipad this morning, I didn’t want to rush in and tell her to turn it off. For the last week or so I’ve felt like a big of a nagging mum, it seemed like I’d been spending a lot of time telling her to get dressed, clean teeth, leave the house etc. I needed to restore the power balance, and strengthen our connection.

So I decided not to use the Ipad as an excuse to go off and tidy up or go on my own screen. Instead I went over to the sofa, and sat with her, paying attention to what she was watching, and to her.

Then I had an idea. My feet ‘decided’ to sit either side of her, and snuggle up with her to watch the screen. They started dancing to the background music. Then my hands sat on her shoulders to watch to, then my elbows, snuggled up to the side of her.

This was a playful way to stay connected without interrupting her. My daughter joined in the game, ‘feeding’ my feet the fruit she had been eating.

Instantly we felt much more at peace. Now I was playful mum again instead of the nagging one. I was accepting her screentime instead of getting embroiled in a power struggle.

I then decided to get some soft toys to snuggle up next to her and watch. She was watching a video where they build Lego sets, so I had one of the toys do silly things like try to go on the screen and help build the set, or eat some of the toy Lego food on the screen.

So if your child is absorbed in a screen, you can use little bits of play to keep the connection strong. It’s a fine line, between sitting with your child, and being a bit playful and actually interrupting your child, and their concentration on the screen. But having your presence there, can do something to minimize the disconnecting effects of screens.

There will be times when setting limits around screentime is appropriate. With Hand in Hand parenting you can find an approach to screens that works for your individual family circumstances. Check out our free Hand in Hand parenting setting limits booklet, to learn more.


Reader Question – Separation Anxiety

Dear Kate,
My little boy is 2 and every now and then decides that for 5 minutes he’s terrified of one of his loved ones. He can be excited for papa coming home then when papa walks in the door he runs away screaming in hysterical terror. Or be playing with my parents happily. Then suddenly refuse to even look at them and starts acting “scared.”
He can cry for me in the mornings then when I open the door flee bashing into walls and screaming in terror. He’s rarely out of my sight. I would never hurt him nor would anyone else. He’s been treated with nothing but love and has no reason to fear these people. He’s not shy by nature but very confident.
And 90% of the time adores his family. Then this. It’s hard not to be hurt. I don’t know why he does it or what to do. I’ve tried making a game but he gets more hysterical. Tried kissing it away but he needs space, and attacks me. It does pass after a few minutes but it’s not good for anyone while it lasts as he runs into things and could hurt himself. Any advice gratefully received, From ‘E’
Dear ‘E,’
thanks for your message. It sounds like your son is experiencing sudden bursts of separation anxiety. Often our children use normal, everyday safe situations, to ‘pin’ their fears on them, so they can have the chance to express and heal from them. It can seem strange to us when our child has a great relationship with their father/grandparents etc.
Separation anxiety is a normal part of all children’s development. It can also be related to
our child’s early life, and if they experienced any stress or difficulties.  For example stress in pregnancy, a difficult birth, or medical intervention that involved separating from the parents, even for a brief time can cause strong separation anxiety.
Hand in Hand parenting has five tools that can all be used to strengthen connection with our children and that can help reduce separation anxiety. Reading the Hand in Hand parenting booklet set, and putting all these tools into practise can really help.
As you noticed play in the moment of upset didn’t work. So I’d focus on staying with whatever emotion comes up for your son in that moment (rather than trying to shift away from that emotion). So if he’s crying or angry just try staying close, and listening to the upset. This can help your son to process the feelings behind his outbursts. This is the Hand in Hand parenting tool of staylistening.
Here is a story about when my husband came home from work, and my daughter was suddenly afraid of him. She was much younger than your son, but the listening principles are still the same.
At other times when your son is happy or fine, and in a playful mood you might want to try some of these playful games games to heal separation anxiety.
 You might also like to read this article Helping Children Conquer Their Fears.
I hope this helps. Feel free to get in touch, and let me know how it goes!
Would you like a Hand in Hand parenting solution for your family challenge? Leave me a comment or use the contact form here

Giggle Parenting N.O 10 – For Confidence


Giggle parenting is great for building our children’s confidence. The more we can be the silly, less powerful one, the more they can grow and shine.

My daughter loves working through these comics,  doing the stickers, and puzzles, etc. We got to this activity, where she counted up the bugs, and then had to draw her own bug.

”You draw one,” my daughter said.

Ok I thought. Here’s an area where she doesn’t feel so confident. So I said, ”okay, I’m going to draw a square bug.” Then the pen  drew a triangle bug, so I exclaimed acting all exasperated. ”Hey! Pen what are you doing? I said a square, not a triangle!” Then I tried again drawing a rectangle bug, but drew a sausage bug instead. Then I said I would draw a circle bug and ended up with a snail. Then I drew a semi-circle bug, and added six legs. Then the pen started adding many more legs. Every time the pen did it wrong I would start, exclaiming and complaining while my daughter laughed and laughed.

It’s little moments like these that can help our children to release tension, and their confidence. With each giggle we are closer to our child believing that they CAN do it, after all.

When Your Child Just Won’t Fall Asleep – Giggle Parenting Inspiration


How Silly Stories Can Help Your Child Fall Asleep Faster 

So you’ve gone through your child’s bedtime routine, and now they’re in their bed, but you’ve suddenly realised, that they don’t seem completely tired, or they’re tense, and you’re worried it’s going to take them ages to get them to sleep.

Last night I was in this position, and when my daughter asked for another story, I said I would tell her a story. I told her about a day trip we had planned with some friends. I said we looked for a restaurant to have lunch in, and went in one and looked on the menu, and all the menu said was ”carrots, carrots, and more carrots.” She laughed at this. I then continued the story as they looked for another restaurant. They went in and looked at the menu, and it all it said was ”peas, peas, peas and more peas.” She laughed again.

I had the grown ups exclaim, ”Oh no! Not again! What is wrong with the restaurants in this town?” I drew out lots of dramatic tension by having them choose another restaurant, and say, ”okay lets try this one, I hope that doesn’t happen again.”

I repeated the game with all different restaurants, and different foods, until she told me, ”now I feel really really, tired.”

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that laughter helps to release melatonin, the sleep hormone, so a few last minute giggles can be just what our child needs to fall asleep easily. Telling silly stories, especially ones where the grown-ups are in the less powerful role is one of many ways that laughter can be used to help your children fall asleep more quickly.

Sleep is a separation for children so they need to feel well-connected, and free of emotional upset in order to fall asleep easily. Hand in Hand parenting is all about helping children with the emotions that can make sleep hard.

Looking for more info? Check out 5 Sleep Secrets For Peaceful Nights. Hand in Hand parenting also has an online self-study sleep course

When Your Child Pushes You – Giggle Parenting Inspiration


Has this ever happened to you? Your child walks up to you, looks you right in the eye, and then completely out of the blue, pushes you?

Sometimes children ask for connection in the most challenging of ways. And it’s not their fault. In this article here, Patty Wipfler explains why children act aggressive when they are feeling disconnected, and how this can trigger fear and upset that causes them to lash out. Sometimes this disconnection can happen because of difficult experiences where they felt scared.

We probably don’t even need to tell our children that pushing or hitting is wrong (no child really wants to hurt others). What they do need us to is help them to process whatever stress or upset is behind their behaviour. Listening to tears can help. Laughter also plays a part.

It can take a lot of patience and understanding to save the lectures and act in a connecting way when your child lashes out. If you can manage the following game, it’s a great way to prevent aggressive behaviour from recurring. So when your child pushes you you might want to say in a playful way, ”hey!” and then actually encourage the behaviour. Tell your child that you hope they don’t push you into the living room/bathroom etc. And then stand waiting for them to push you. I’m sure they’ll take you up on your offer to play!l When you get there act all surprised about what you’re doing there. Repeat as long as they are laughing. Try pushing back (as long as it’s not to hard!) and walk backwards if that gets your child giggling.

Read here why getting giggles out in the moment actually reduces off-track behaviour.

For further reading Larry Cohen’s Playful Parenting is packed full of Giggle Parenting ideas.

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Do you have a family challenge you’d like a laughter cure for? Just leave me a comment or connect with me via facebook and I can find a giggle answer for you!