parenting q&a

From playtime woes to tiny tantrums, Samantha Malkoun of Future Kids answers all your parenting questions… 

Q.) Should there be a balance between playtime and learning?

A.) Education from the earliest possible age is very important. I often hear concerns like, ‘Shouldn’t children have time to play and just be children?’ and I think this generally comes from parents who are only aware of the very traditional, conventional left-brain style of instruction.

Our programme, at Future Kids, cultivates children’s love of play, learning and presents information that appeals to their short attention span. It is possible to combine education with playing. In fact, our classes are so fun, the children often cry on the way out of the centre – they don’t want to leave. So, I think this is a good sign that they want to be there. Remember education doesn’t have to be boring.


Q.) What are your top tips for diffusing toddler tantrums?

A.) Toddler tantrums are a power struggle, tug-of-war -tyle fits of rage that often leave us exhausted and in a heap, not even remembering what the issue was. Most of the time the ‘issue’ is not even worthy of the whirlwind repercussions that follow. It is for this reason, that I suggest taking a few moments to think before responding and always be flexible in your response.

If your child doesn’t understand that they could hurt themselves doing whatever they were doing, no amount of yelling will help them with that realisation.

If they want attention, they don’t understand that you are tired and have a million things to do, they just want you and placing them in the time out corner is confusing and hurtful. I suggest diffusing the situation by changing whatever path you were on that got you into this heated scramble. If they want one more story, read an extra story picking out a few letters and distracting them from their hot-headed purpose of getting what they want – maybe even slip in a nursery rhyme with actions. 

This won’t work for every situation but this extra bit of attention during times when it is appropriate will help strengthen your bond and trust in each other. As a side effect, the irrational behaviour will be less prevalent.


Q.) How do you help young children to overcome fears?

 A.) My daughter Jada was very scared of the water and hated bath time. We overcame her fear with a series of images and breathing techniques.

Begin with controlled breathing to calm your child, and get them to open an imaginary secret door. Behind that door is an enormous bathroom with shiny checked tiles and flowers everywhere. Your child sees a beautiful bath overflowing with bubbles. As they hop into the bath and lie down in the warm water the bubbles slowly start magically floating up to the ceiling of the bathroom, popping and bursting with glitter falling gently all over them…

This positive image play is just a quick example of not only how imagination is developed, but also how it can be used to address issues that come about when raising children. Images are a very positive tool in life and these skills will be carried through your child’s development into young adulthood.


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