Giggle Parenting: Long Distance


Photo Credit: DvvortyGirl

Have you ever been away from your child and wished that you had a way to deeply connect long distance? This has been at the forefront of my mind over the last few months when I’ve had quite a few trips away from my daughter.

A while back I read this story from Hand in Hand Parenting instructor Ceci Hyoun which is a great example of how it is possible to use the tool of playlistening ( what I call Giggle Parenting) long distance.

One of our favourite games evolved when I was away, and my daughter had a lot of big feelings, which were coming up in her not wanting to talk to me. She hung up the phone on me! So I rang back, acting all playfully surprised and ‘upset’ and let her hang up the phone on me again and again. This really made her laugh, and after laughing away some of hurt feelings we were better connected again and could have a conversation.

On a recent trip away from my daughter I skyped each day to keep in touch and we played this game a lot. I also found a few other ways to get the giggles flowing. One time, I rang up and she was eating crisps, so I started trying to reach out my hand to get the crisps, and saying, ”hey! Don’t eat them all, save some for when I get back!” Or I would come up close to the camera and say, ”I just need to take a look what’s going on”, and start trying to look at what was happening at home. Or as my husband always forgets to brush my daughter’s hair while I’m away, I started telling her I was going to use my skype hairbrush to brush it, and acting all confused when I tried it and it didn’t work.

If you need to take a trip without your children and are worried about staying connected, why not bring a bit of Giggle Parenting into your conversations. Just focus on any kind of silly, playful conversation that puts you in the less powerful role, and gives your child the power. Any thing that gets your child laughing, especially if it plays around with the distance between you, can help them deal with separation anxiety.

Here are a few examples:

-If you ring and your child’s still in their pyjamas, then why not try to get them dressed. Search around for their clothes and act all surprised when you pick up your own clothes and wonder where their ones are.

-Eat a snack while on the phone to them, and then try to send them some, and then act all confused when they don’t receive it.

-Or if they seem a bit grumpy and off-track, you could even invite them to hang up the phone on you by saying in a playful tone; ”I really hope you don’t hang up the phone on me…”

Giggle Parenting long distance has really helped my daughter and I stay emotionally present when I’m far away, which really helps the reconnection process when I return.

To read more about Giggle Parenting check out my introductory post here, or the laughter chapter of my book Tears Heal: How to listen to our children



Giggle Parenting Inspiration: Silly Phone Calls


Imagine if every time you were in a sticky situation with your child you could just pick up the phone and dial for help? Well actually you can! It might not be exactly the help you were expecting, but it does work wonders.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been dealing with minus temperatures, and getting up in the morning just doesn’t feel like fun. But the moans and groans soon turn to giggles with the help of this game.

So as we’d be getting ready my imaginary phone would start to ring. I’d answer and it would be my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher. This pretend teacher would tell me some crazy things she was doing; that she was on our doorstep with the rest of the class and that they would have Kindergarten at our house today, or she was driving the train and picking my daughter up for an unexpected school trip, or she’d come to Kindergarten by helicopter and needed to park it on our roof.

Each time she told me the scenario, I would start complaining, telling her that she was being ridiculous, and to get back to the Kindergarten, and just start work like a normal teacher. I would act all playfully annoyed with her, and my daughter would laugh and laugh.

I would invent all sorts of scenarios that the Kindergarten teacher would be in when she phoned us. For example she moved her house, and turned it into a house boat, and now she was swimming in her house, because it wasn’t designed for water, or she was phoning from a digger that had just dug up a mountain and she was taking it to Kindergarten for the children to learn about, or that she had just climbed through our bathroom window and was taking a shower. The wildest and the most outlandish got the most giggles.

I’d also have the Kindergarten teacher changing her job, and phoning from a plane she was flying, or arriving at the door with pizzas to deliver for us. Each time, I’d sound all playfully exasperated, and beg her to get back to Kindergarten and do her proper job.

If your child is whining or moaning, or struggling in a particular area of their life then getting an unexpected phone call from someone doing something wild and outlandish could be the perfect way to transform grumpiness and non-co-operation into joy and connection.

For example if your child is refusing to get dressed, then maybe a wild granny phones up and says she’s going to deliver a clown outfit to wear for school, while you beg her not to. Or if your child is refusing to take a bath, have someone phone up thinking you ordered a swimming pool to make it more fun. Or if you child won’t eat your dinner why not try phoning up for a take-away and finding the only thing they have to send you is smelly socks?!

The possibilities are endless. As your child laughs and soaks up connection with you, they’ll feel better and be able to co-operate more easily. So just have a plastic phone at the ready, and remember that help is only a phone call away.

Would you like a laughter solution for your family challenge? Leave me a comment or send a pm and you could be the subject of my next blog post! For more information about Giggle Parenting, check out my introductory post here or read my book Tears Heal

A Giggle Parenting Song To Help Your Kids Sleep


So you’ve got your child ready for bed. Bath and a bedtime story, teeth and pyjamas are all done. Except there’s just one problem. Your child is full of energy, and ready to giggle rather than sleep.

Here’s a fun way you can help them release that last minute burst of energy. Tell your child, that you’re going to sing them a lullaby to help them sleep. You can start off by singing something in a slow sleepy voice like, ”and now it’s time to slowly close our eyes…” to give the impression that it’s going to be a very slow song, and then surprise them with an upbeat line like, .”..and then jump on the bed!”

This is a sure-fire invitation for your child to start jumping on the bed in a lively way. You can act all surprised that you sang that line, and say something like, ”hey that’s not how my song goes. I wanted a sleep song, not a jumping on the bed song!”

Tell your child you’re going to try again, and then start with the sleeply line, and surprise them again with another action line, like running out of the room, running and say hi-bye to your dad, pulling socks out of mummy’s sock drawer.

Each time come up with a crazy suggestion that is going to make your child laugh, while you act all confused about why the song isn’t coming out right. You can chase your child around the house to playfully get them back to bed and let them have the most powerful role as the giggles flow.

If this is all sounds completely wild and crazy to add to your bedtime routine, then here’s the science bit, about why laughter actually helps children sleep. And this is my introductory post about Giggle Parenting, and why beneath all that raucous play with your child you are actually building the connection they need to co-operate with you in the future. And here’s why I think staying up a little bit later to laugh, or listen to tears, can actually have benefits for your child’s overall wellbeing.

If you’re new to Giggle Parenting your child might want to play for quite a while, but if you add it in on a regular basis, your child will get their dose of wild and laughter, and won’t want to stay up playing till midnight! Check out my Giggle Parenting Archives, for more fun ways to add it into you family life.

Have you got a family challenge you’d like a Giggle Parenting solution for. Leave me a comment or send me a message on facebook, and your challenge could be the subject of my next blog post! 

Would you like regular Giggle Parenting ideas delivered to your inbox? Sign up to follow my blog in the top right hand corner of this page, or click here to follow me on facebook. 




Giggle Parenting For Whining And Screaming


Does the sound of your child’s whining and screaming drive you crazy? Here’s how Giggle Parenting can help.

The main guiding principle of Hand in Hand Parenting is that when our children behave in off-track ways it’s because they are feeling disconnected and have upset feelings. When children need to re-connect with us they tend to ask in all sorts of ‘crazy’ ways because when they don’t feel good the part of the brain responsible for rational, reasonable behaviour isn’t functioning well.

When a child is whining and screaming we are often more likely to want to run away and shove our head under a pillow than connect with them, but here’s a fun game that will have you running towards your child for playful closeness, and it will help diffuse the behaviour too.

When your child starts complaining or screaming, or making any irritating sounds to express disconnection run towards them as quick as you can and give them what we call a vigorous snuggle, (you can read more about it here). Tell them in a playful, warm tone, exactly how you feel about the sound, ”Oh my you’re driving me crazy! I need to stop those scream with kisses,” etc. Nuzzle and snuggle your child, in a playful (not overpowering way) and soon all those whines and screams will be giggled away.

After that walk away. Your child will probably enjoy the game and repeat the behaviour. Or you can invite them to play again by saying as if thinking out loud, ”I’m so glad that screaming has stopped. Now I can have a peaceful time.” Then when they start up again you can exclaim, ”oh no! Not again!” And run back over and snuggle with them, again. The benefit is that you get to release your tension and frustration by expressing how you feel, but in a playful, warm way that actually increases connection between the two of you.

After playing this fun game your child gets to release the stress and tension that caused their behaviour so it’s less likely to happen in the future.

If screaming and whining are still making you stressed check out my article Screaming For Connection to learn how listening time can help, or read What’s The Cure For Children Whining? 

For more Giggle parenting solutions check out my archives here. Have you got a challenge you’d like a Giggle Parenting solution for? Leave me a comment or send me a message via facebook

Giggle Parenting For No Reason


A lot of my giggle parenting posts have focused on using laughter to deal with specific family challenges. Although this is a great way to apply the giggles, it’s also worth bearing in mind that of course we can laugh and have fun with our children for completely ‘no reason.’

Today I went down to the cellar with my daughter to hang up some wet washing. There were some dry towels and other clothes hanging up. As I hung up the wet stuff, I told my daughter in a playfully serious voice, ”okay, I really don’t want you to pull down that towel.”

She immediately yanked down the towel, then went to pull down a pair of trousers. I chased her around putting things back up, and acting playfully exasperated. It became a race for her to pull things down, and for me to put them back up. We had lots of fun and laughter. (by the way, the cellar floor is immaculate so I wasn’t worried about the clean washing getting dirty! And there were only a few things she was able to reach, most were too high up)

Now you might be thinking, why on earth would I encourage my child to pull down clean washing and dump it on the floor? What sort of parenting lesson does that send?

Well time and time again I’ve seen that if we let our children be ‘naughty’ in a controlled way, it massively reduces the chance that they will misbehave in real ways. We had both been ill this week and had been missing out on playfulness, so I spotted my chance to leap in and have a few giggles. I know that every time I invest time in connection, I’m increasing the chance my daughter will be co-operative when I really need her to be.

So if you have a few moments to spare, and get some inspiration for what might make your child laugh (while they are in the more powerful role) then try out some giggle parenting.

You might also like

Why You Should Let Your Children Be ‘Naughty’

What To Do When Your Child ‘Just’ Wants Your Attention

Giggle Parenting – The Best Discipline Tool Out There 

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 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.

Giggle Parenting Inspiration N.O 9 – For a clingy, ‘shy’ toddler


Here’s one to try if you’re at a parent-toddler group, birthday party, or other social engagement when your child is clingy and ‘shy’ and doesn’t want to leave your lap. Hug your child, and tell them, ”oh this is a very strong hug. I’m sure you’re not strong enough to escape this hug!”

This is bound to inspire them to try wriggling away. After a bit of wrestling, you can let your child escape. You can then chase them and say, ”hey! How did you get out of my arms! I am going to come and get another hug, I’m sure you can’t escape.”

I’ve tried this when my daughter was feeling shy in a social group when she only wanted to play with me. Of course as a Hand in Hand parenting instructor, I think it’s great to honour our children’s needs, and play and connect with them! But I could sense my daughter’s underlying desire was to connect with the other children and play with them. She just wasn’t sure at first how to join in.

After a few giggles she was able to run off and play happily, coming back for hugs, to repeat whenever she need some extra connection.

Related post – Giggle Parenting The Best Discipline Tool Out There!

Have you got a problem you’d like a Giggle Parenting solution for? Leave me a comment or pm me via facebook and your challenge could be the subject of my next post! 

If you’d like an in-depth look at how laughter can solve behavioural challenges, then check out Playful Parenting by Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen. 

Giggle Parenting For The Morning Rush – Reader Question N.O8


Hi Kate, I would love some advice on how to being more playful and laugh and relax with my kids. I am often way too serious and feel because of it my kids think I’m always mean and fussing at them. End result I have two kids 3 and 5 who don’t listen well, are actually very good kids but I feel so disconnected with.

One of our biggest struggles are getting out the door in the morning. I don’t like rushing them and saying hurry up 100 times. HELP!?!

From ‘A’

Hi ‘A’

thanks for your message. It’s not easy getting two young children out of the door in the morning and with all our responsibilities as parents it can be hard to figure out a way to bring connection into our daily routine.

I have a daughter who is not a morning person, at least that’s what I thought. Winter has been the worst, and my tactic to get her up for her one morning of playgroup a week was to wake her up at the last minute so she got enough sleep. Yet whatever I did she ended up grumpy.

Then one morning I suddenly had an idea. I decided to wake her up 15 minutes earlier than normal. Before waking her, I got every single soft toy she owned and put them around the edges of her bed. Then I found a balloon. The toys started ‘singing,’ ‘’welcome to the bed party, it’s a bed party,’’ and dancing as my daughter slowly woke up. Then they started bouncing the balloon round, and they bumped the balloon on my head, and I would start complaining, ‘’hey toys! Why are you having a party, and stop bouncing that balloon on my head!’’ My daughter laughed at this, and that’s when I noticed her mood shifting from sleepy grumpiness into fun and joy.

Then toys started bouncing the balloon too high and I would complain about that. My daughter laughed some more.

Then I started introducing the idea of my daughter getting dressed, by her toy banana asking if she could get dressed now. There was still a bit of grumpy reluctance on her face so instead I lined up the toys, to get dressed by banana, then banana would throw them to to the other end of the bed, saying ‘’hey, you’re not the one I need to get dressed for playgroup! Let me try again.’’

After we went through the whole line of toys my daughter happily let the banana get her dressed. We ended up with lots of extra time, and my daughter was co-operative through the rest of our routine.

I suddenly had the revelation, that my daughter can be a morning person! She just wants a morning full of play and fun, not chores and drudgery. And we can get things done in playful way! I also realised that my daughter’s complaints about being ‘tired’ were more about disconnection, and her mood, than about lack of sleep. A few minutes less sleep, meant a more connected child. Everyone was happier, and she could catch up on her sleep later.

You could try a ‘bed party’ one morning with your children. It doesn’t mean you have to do so much fun and laughter every day, but it’s great to try if things have been getting serious. Then you could just add in a few giggles wherever and whenever you can. Perhaps have a soft toy get your child dressed, or a toothbrush the flies out of the bathroom instead of into your child’s mouth. Maybe when you serve breakfast the plates and cups start ‘jumping’ off the table saying that they don’t want to be eaten. You could set up some giggles before your children wake by having toys ‘wearing’ your children’s clothes when they wake up. Then you can act all confused, because they aren’t the ones needing to go out.

You might want to set a timer for ‘playing-getting-ready-time’ when you can add lots of laughter, without focusing on clock watching. Then after the timer gets off, you can switch into more productive mode.

These games can take a bit of extra time, but in the long run, they actually save time because when children are more connected they are more co-operative.

Let me know how these work for you!

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Have you got a problem you’d like a Giggle Parenting solution for? Leave me a comment or pm me via facebookand your challenge could be the subject of my next post! 

If you’d like an in-depth look at how laughter can solve behavioural challenges, then check out Playful Parenting by Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen.