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I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

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The Problem With ‘Time Traveling’

“He needs to learn to hold his pencil now, so he can write properly in Kindergarten.”


“She should get used to sleeping alone now, so you don’t have a 7 year old in your bed.”


“If he doesn’t learn to follow instructions now, how will he manage in high school?”


“She should be talking by now.”


As parents, most of us are driven by an investment in our children’s health and happiness (we can question the accuracy of these goals at another time). The question I’d like to ask today is this… Health and happiness, when? Now, or later?

It seems to me that so often we tend to sacrifice our children’s health and happiness in the present moment at the alter of their future health and happiness. In other words, “jump through these (unpleasant or even painful) hoops now, so that at some later date you may enjoy eternal nirvana (read: good college and decent job).

I call this parental “time travel”… where, rather than being present with our children, loving them for who they are in this moment, we’re constantly traveling to some time in the future when they have become the person we wish them to be. When they have finally filled their so-called “potential” and when they’re “cooked”.

The problem of ‘time traveling’ is twofold

  1. When we time travel, our children miss out on their childhoods
    Childhood should be about play, exploration, unconditional love, forming an unshakable foundation of emotional health, physical well-being and deep relationships.Instead, childhood is increasingly becoming about achievement. About resume. About future. “Does she crawl yet?”, “Can she read yet?”, “Are his grades better yet?” (hint: whenever there’s a “yet” attached to a question, perhaps there’s an indication of the ‘time traveling’?). They’re essentially giving up their childhoods for a series of arbitrary rungs that they had better climb, fast.What’s more, their very sense of worth is hooked on some future date, some vague time yet to come when all of the investment we’re putting into them will pay off. It’s as though the message is “you’re not worthy yet, but someday you will be.” What do I mean by “worthy”? I mean valuable and whole, deserving of unconditional love and acceptance, just as we are, right now. Isn’t that what each of us wishes for, anyway?Childhood isn’t only the path to adulthood. It is that also, but I wonder if we can pause to reconsider our thinking of a 5 year old as “almost a person”. Just as it’s unbefitting to consider an 80 year old merely a “cute, old” version of their younger selves. Perhaps a 5 year old isn’t merely a 25 year old in the making, but also a person – whole and complete, right now?You guys, none of us is 18-25 years old forever. We had better start embracing ages – all of them – as worthy. Worthy of acceptance in their as-is state. Worthy of their humanity in and of themselves. Right now. How miserable for us to go through life looking back over our shoulder at an age that has passed. And how sad for our children to be constantly primed to the potential for an age yet to come.
  2. When we time travel we miss out on our children’s childhoods
    Constantly anxious over what’s next – we can’t possibly stop to enjoy and revel in what is now. As the world of mindfulness teaches us – we only ever truly have the present moment.
    Do you know, these are the first of the top 5 death bed regrets

    I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

    I wish I didn’t work so hard.

    I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

    When we are focused on the future, we are missing out on our opportunity to actually take part in our children’s lives, right now. We are living according to the expectations of others… society, grandparents, teachers… and not true to our children and ourselves, right now. We are working hard. We aren’t expressing our truest feelings – of unconditional love and connection – but we are driven by angst and worry.

So, I propose we all take a deep breath and look at our child exactly as they are, warts and all, right now. Not at their ‘unfilled potential’, not at the many steps still ahead of them, and definitely not at their future earnings and achievements. But just as they are. And perhaps we can also extend this kindness to ourselves, too, and embrace our age and stage in life as it is, in this moment.

I would love to hear from you – are you guilty of “time traveling” in this way? What brings you back to the moment? For me, it’s an acute sense of mortality. I know that this could be the last day with my children, I want to live it to the full.

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Imagine that instead of brushing your kid’s teeth every day, you decided to wait until they’re 16. ⁣

The side effects of this choice would be…⁣
😝 Bad breath⁣
😬 Plaque build-up and discoloration⁣
🦷 Toothaches and cavities… ⁣
and eventually, BIG $$$$$ at the dentist for treatment.⁣

Of course, this is not a good plan!⁣

I'm going to assume you would rather create a small, manageable daily habit that invests in our child’s oral hygiene to last a lifetime.⁣

Because we know: ⁣
It might be a pain to get started and stay consistent, but over the long haul, it will save you so much pain, $$$, and grossness.🤢⁣

And it's the same with, independence.⁣

If you invest a little bit in your child’s independent play right now - taking small, manageable steps every day to maintain and establish healthy habits - you will reap the benefits over time.⁣

A tough-love moment here - it’s not realistic to wait until your child is 16 and then suddenly expect them to be independent enough to drive or get their first job or figure out a plan for the summer.⁣

These are skills you’ve got to build slowly and gradually.⁣

It’s also not desirable to spend the next decade suffering through burnout, exhaustion, clinginess - because you’re not making the little investment that it takes to establish healthy independent play habits (just as it’s not awesome to endure cavities, toothache, and bad breath for years - rather than invest in establishing healthy brushing habits early on).⁣

So I guess my message is: Don’t wait with this. ⁣
When we neglect our child’s need for independence - it gets worse, not better.⁣

But when you take the time to follow along with the small, daily, doable actions that are outlined in the Reclaim Play Challenge - it will pay off in spades years later! ⁣

That’s why you’re here.⁣

You can do this. 💪⁣

It’s SO worth it. The small actions you’re taking now are going to pay back dividends... forever.⁣

Reclaim Play is all unlocked! Link in bio

We're kicking off Week 3 "Inspire" with a set of #StrewPro challenges!

So, what is a strew? It's simply leaving out toys, books, activities, or objects in a new and inviting way. Silently waiting for your kid to "discover" them and maybe - just maybe - to bite into independent play.

Did you know there are a myriad of "toys" in your home, strews waiting to be formed right under your nose?

Today, I want you to head to your KITCHEN and find things that your kid might take interest in...

Nesting bowls
Measuring cups
Wooden spoons

There's literally so many options and combinations to explore!

Try putting them out on a tray or somewhere that is not the kitchen. If you're feeling brave you can get really fancy and add in some water, slime, or dry beans (only do this if you're happy to clean it all up later).

There's really only ONE rule to becoming a Strew Pro:
Don't tell your child to play with it, don't tell them how to, in fact - you might kinda ignore it all together and just watch what happens.

Go! Grab a few items and arrange your first strew... take a 📸 picture of it and share with me @parentingjunkie in your instagram stories!

Welcome to the wonderful world of strewing, my friend!

#reclaimplay #strewpro #strewing #strewingforthewin #kitchenstrew #presentplay #playinvitation #playinvitations #playinvite #invitationtoplay #independentplay #playisimportant #playisenough #playistheworkofchildhood #playisfun

Can your child play independently for 30 minutes in a day?

This week you have done a lot of designing - you created a "pop-up" (a quick and scrappy) Imagination, Messy, Movement, Quiet, and Focus Zone. If you have a little one - you made a YES space for them.

Phew! 😅 Time to give yourself a pat on the back!

☕️Grab your hot drink, 📚your book, and a fluffy pillow because I'll bet my Lego collection you're going to be able to catch 30 minutes of play.

Remember everything you learned in week one:
🌈 Observe without interrupting!
🌈 Practice the "BRB" technique
🌈 Set up little "pop-up zones"

...and I believe you'll be able to catch your child playing for 30 minutes today and 10x the independent play in your home by the end of this week from when you started this challenge.

Now, I know you might be feeling like you're totally not "done" designing your zones - of course not!

Rome wasn't built in a day (or a week!)

In Present Play, we're going to dedicate the entire month of May to perfecting your zones. But this should set you on your way and whet your appetite for more design solutions.

When you catch those 30 mins (or more!) make sure to share it with us! Tag me in your stories @parentingjunkie

★ SIGN UP for the Challenge - link in bio!

#reclaimplay #playzone #playmatters #playspacedesign #independentplay #playistheworkofchildhood #playislearning #independentplaytime #mombreak #reclaimplaychallenge #playspace #intentionalparenting #simplicityparenting #childhooddesign #childdesign #presentplay #presentplaymovement

Attention is in short supply these days. Many parents have difficulty helping their kids to focus on anything for any length of time - whilst there are so many reasons this might be the case, one thing that can help is creating a little "work" environment that makes focusing easier...

Cue, the Focus Zone! 🙇‍♂️🙇‍♀️

The Focus Zone is where kids go to do their "work" (like schoolwork) and also where they do any activity that requires following instructions properly.

Think about things that have a "right" and a "wrong" way of doing them - like puzzles or science experiments. Of course, you're not necessarily going to be able to set up a whole Focus Zone right now - but can you gather your materials - things that need to be treated with respect and extra care.

CHALLENGE #13 - Create a Pop-Up Focus Zone!
Find that third cleared area that you prepped last week - preferably a quiet area away from the hustle and bustle of the home. Try placing the materials in a box, bin, tray, or basket right there, and see what happens.

Show me by tagging @parentingjunkie 🤗

#reclaimplay #focustime #focuszone #homework #puzzles #kidspuzzle #kidspuzzles #kidsfocus #preschoolactivities #preschoolathome #preschoolplay #montessori #montessoriactivities #montessoriathome #playmatters #playspacedesign #independentplay #playistheworkofchildhood #playislearning #playislearningplayisenough #playismywork #montessorihomeschool

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