Parenting with PLAY!
I'm a certified Parenting by Connection Instructor, an Aware Parenting Instructor, Doula, Maternity Services Advocate and Mum to 2 children.
Which basically means, I love working with mums, just like you, to have the best experience possible - when pregnant, giving birth and being a parent.
Because I too have struggled - to know what to do, to be the parent I want to be, to not shout so much(!) - and I have been so fortunate to receive incredible support and to discover an approach that has had a profound impact on mine & my family's lives.
And I want to pass this on to you.
We're not designed to do it all. And we're not supposed to do it all on our own.
So I'm really pleased you're here and I look forward to helping you: through my free blogs, videos & podcasts, my online courses and 1:1 consultations.
When I was pregnant in 2008 I had visions of being the perfect mum. With my perfect baby. I was going to do it ‘right’ - be super calm, patient, responsive to all of my baby’s needs and basically a domestic goddess.
I was going to nail it! Because, really, parenting couldn’t be THAT hard.
Hmm, well yes!
Needless to say, things did not go to plan. My baby (Emily) was a rubbish sleeper. Despite us co-sleeping, bedtimes would take ages and she’d wake frequently throughout the night wanting to suck me dry (TMI?!).
I once gave her a dummy to help night wean but she just hurled it across the room in a fury!
I loved carrying her in a sling, but would have liked to put her down without her crying.
I loved breastfeeding her, but surely she wasn’t hungry all the time?
I did everything I could so she didn’t need to cry. And yet she cried - A LOT!
I was exhausted, struggling from no family support because they’re all back in England & Ireland, really irritable at my husband and beating myself up for thinking I was a terrible mum.
And then she started hitting me - I had no clue why, or how to stop it.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was one day, when she was 10 months old, she was repeatedly banging on a mirror and I realised I had no idea what to do.
- I kindly asked her to stop - she ignored me
- I moved her away & tried to distract her - she scooted straight back & resumed banging
- I patiently explained the reasons why I didn’t want her to do it - she just looked at me whilst continuing to bang away
So there I was, a 35 year old professional, capable woman, completely at a loss of how to combine my desire to parent respectfully and gently, with actually being effective.
I was defeated by my 10 month old!
Something had to change.
And change it did when I discovered Aware Parenting and Hand in Hand Parenting.
I found the answers I was looking for:
- why my baby was behaving this way
- why I was finding it hard to respond in the way I wanted
- and, crucially, what I could actually do about it.
Emily started to sleep better.
Bedtimes were much easier
She stopped hitting so much
She was happier to not be carried around all the time and to play on her own
I could night wean her without leaving her to cry on her own or using a dummy
I understood what was going on.
I was less snappy at my husband.
I felt more confident again
And I was really prepared for the toddler years and beyond.
Being a parent is not always easy (understatement of the year!), but it’s much easier when you know what to do.
And that’s why I’m super passionate about helping parents just like you. Who obviously want the best for your baby and children, but don’t know what that looks like when they’re hitting their sister, flat out refusing to go to bed, and taking forever to get ready in the mornings.
I’ve since trained with Hand in Hand Parenting and Marion Rose to become a Parenting by Connection Instructor and an Aware Parenting Instructor, and I love supporting parents by educating and supporting them with amazing strategies.
When my son, George (an IVF baby born at home), arrived in 2014 I've been able to apply this approach from the very beginning. It has made a HUGE difference - to his sleep, his behaviour, my sanity!
It's also meant I've been able to film some of his tantrums so you can see the theory actually put into practice (these are available in my online courses).
In addition to parenting, I am a Doula (birth support) and have been very active in campaigning for good quality public maternity services which has involved many hours of organising, lobbying, liaising with the press, meeting with politicians and health authorities & speaking at rallies.
Emily is now 10 and George is 4. We all live in Sydney with my husband Evan, Marlee the dog and a bunch of chickens & guinea pigs.
There’s still challenges & there always will be.
But I now have the resources & support to navigate them better.
I’m much closer to my initial vision of being a respectful, empathic mum, thanks to these approaches and I’d love to help you too.
About my Approach
I'm a certified Aware Parenting Instructor and a Parenting by Connection Instructor.
Both approaches are strongly based on attachment theory, are non-punitive and incredibly supportive of parents. They provide a true understanding of what's really going on for children and provide practical & respectful strategies to help parents manage their own emotions, and to respond lovingly and effectively to their children.
They both have connection at the heart of their approach, which strengthens the relationship between parents and children of all ages. I love these approaches and love sharing them with parents.
Aware Parenting was created by Aletha Solter who is a Swiss/American developmental psychologist living in the US. She studied with Dr. Jean Piaget in Switzerland, where she earned a Master's Degree in human biology. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is internationally recognised as an expert on attachment, trauma and non-punitive discipline.
She is the founder of the Aware Parenting Institute and has written many books including:
- The Aware Baby
- Tears & Tantrums - what to do when babies and children cry
- Cooperative and Connected - Helping children flourish without punishments or rewards
- Attachment Play - How to solve children's behaviour problems with play, laugher and connection
- Raising Drug-Free Kids - 100 tips for parents
I trained in Aware Parenting with Marion Rose Ph.D. who pioneered this approach in Australia and who supported me in my early days as a parent. She has since become a great friend and I continue to receive mentoring support from her. You can hear her being interviewed on my podcast - CLICK HERE
Parenting by Connection
Parenting by Connection is an approach developed by Patty Wipfler who is the Founder and Program Director at Hand in Hand Parenting based in the US.
During her 40 years of work with parents and children, including being the Director of a preschool and a child care centre, she has developed a simple but powerful parenting approach that nurtures the parent-child connection.
She has led over 400 residential weekend workshops for families and for leaders of parents in the U.S. and in 23 countries and there are Parenting by Connection Instructors throughout the world.
Patty has written
- Listening to Children booklets
- numerous online courses & in-person programs
- Listen: Five simple tools to meet your everyday parenting challenges - with Tosha Shore
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