The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Junior School

Commonly known as Australia's "queen of common sense", Maggie Dent is a passionate, positive voice for children of all ages. On Tuesday 16 May, Maggie presented to an audience of 250 people about raising children "From the Sandpit to Adulthood".

Maggie provided some key suggestions on how to raise children who flourish.

The hunger for safe touch and repetition
Play games in cars, talk with our children. Use gentle touch with your child. "There is no app that can replace your lap. Read to your child".

The need for silence, stillness and calmness
Life moves at a tremendous pace even for little people. It is ok for them to be bored from time to time. Teaching your child to self-regulate and manage his different states of arousal is important. Music, drama, sport, time in nature, safe touch, real play and reading, are self-calming strategies. Try 'Go slow Sundays'. It is simple, stay home and stay in your pajamas…all day!

The power of puddle and the sandpit
Previous generations played and learned in the streets, woods and fields, without having their parents present, where they learned about themselves, risks and communication. Today children are much more sheltered. Lack of time in nature has a definite impact on a child's development. Provide more time for unstructured play outside. To simply climb a tree.

The secrets of play
The more children move the healthier and smarter they will be. Children want to stretch themselves to the next level. They get braver each time they play which helps with anxiety. They learn to manage risk. Let them play on their own. Let them use their imagination and create the play they want.

The drive for human connectedness
Children's wellbeing needs to be a priority. As parents, we need to use our time to connect with our children in their world. Have "welcoming strategies'' for when you return home in the evening. Kneel down on their level and say hi. Tell them "I love you more than all the stars in the night sky, all the sand on the beach and the hairs on a bear's back." Use surprise bedroom attack - five minutes after lights out, parent bursts in and tickles and blows raspberries. Apparently, this works very good after a child has had a particularly bad day and has been punished. And have a sense of humor with your child.

Building resilience matters
Value effort and attitude over prizes and winning. Teach your child to get back up when they get knocked down to turn up and have a go.

Nurturing the spirit of our children
Inspire the awe and wonder of life. We all make mistakes but they need to know that at home, as in school, "we do second chances".

Everyone, matters - no matter what
Teach your child that we can all make a positive difference every day and that they are here to make the world a little bit better.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School