Reviewed by: Mojomums Reviewer Charlotte
What they say: These science-backed DVDs will equip you with a wealth of games and play ideas to maximize that time you have with your child and ensure it’s meaningful, connected and positive.
We all know how busy parents are these days, and with the added draw of mobiles, tablets and TVs it can be difficult to re-connect with our children in a meaningful way through play.
Dr Margot Sunderland is a highly respected child psychologist and psychotherapist, Director of Education and Training at the Centre for Child Mental Health, and author of best selling and critically acclaimed parenting book ‘The Science of Parenting’. She’s just released a series of 3 DVDs entitled Best Relationship with your child, covering childhood from 0-12. The DVDs discuss the science behind childhood brain development and the benefits of play and games with parent-child bonding. Packed full of new games to play with your child, even the busiest of parents can find useful tips to take from this and fit in moments of connections on even the most busy and stressful days.
There is a wealth of ideas for you-me, small world, play, messy, clapping, drumming and dancing games, all of which can be incorporated into family life. So whether you’re a new first time mum/dad or an old-hand to this parenting lark, there’s something for everyone.
What we say:
Melissa: The First Five Years
“I am a mother of twins aged 2 years 9 months. This DVD is written by a parenting expert Dr Margot Sunderland who is an expert professional in child development, child psychology, child psychotherapy and parenting.
The DVD is set into three main components so you can view one section at a time. This allowed me to watch the DVD over several days, which I found useful as it allowed me time to digest and reflect on the contents. The DVD contains a wealth of information and it would have been too much all together.
The set up also allowed me to select the contents for a parent with a baby or 2-5 year old child. This meant you could watch the parts relevant to the age of your own child.
The DVD has been produced using footage of child and parents engagement and I found this particularly useful to assist me to understand the latest research Dr Sunderland was demonstrating as I could easily translate it to my own children.
The first section was about ‘key ways to communicate with your child’, this section showed many tools and techniques to engage with your baby/child. This section was filmed using real footage and it was broken down into sections. These included ways to enhance your own interactions with your baby/child using your voice, communicating in a positive ways, thinking of your eye contact and positioning of your own body.
Tools were suggested such as the OWL technique, which was to observe, wait and listen to allow children space within play. They were other simple tools suggested such as the use of suggesting, copying and using puppets.
I found this section of the DVD contained a high level of information however all could be easily implemented within your own home. Dr Sunderland discusses the importance of these techniques to allow you to become more attune with your child. Through out the DVD the footage shows varying ages of children.
The second section is titled ‘ You-me games’ this part demonstrates the significant of how important play is linked to the child’s cognitive, emotional and social intelligence. Dr Sunderland also suggests that these games are linked to social development, which is required through childhood to adults.
The games are shown throughout the DVD with the words as subtitles allowing you to then practise these with your own children. I found this section very useful especially as most of the ideas were new. They suggested using the games in times of stress or whilst waiting e.g waiting for a bus. I have tried these on several times successfully following watching the DVD. I have felt these games have enhanced my bond with my own children, especially as I think it is easy to allow them to play without involving you when you are attempting to get on with house hold chores. I personally feel within the baby section I was already doing this more naturally so it was useful to have the older section to give a fresh ideas on bonding with my toddlers.
The final section is about ‘Parent-Child Physical Play’. This whole section shows games, which could be used to demonstrate how physical play with your child can develop higher brain function and again this DVD shows ways to games to encourage this.
In summary I would highly recommend this DVD as a useful tool to support parents in bonding and playing with their children to encourage development for your child in brain development. It has given me many tools to support with own children and I working to develop my own skills to play more effectively with my children.
My only difficult I have found which was not covered within the DVD was having several children within one household as this DVD only shows 1:1 engagement with adult and child. As a parent with twins it would be useful for Dr Sunderland to offer suggestions about how to manage successful play within the household with several children.”
Sophy – 3 months to 8 years:
“Despite the fairly ‘Ronseal’-like title, I was not really sure what to expect when I sat down to watch this. I am a teacher and studied Psychology at university and like most mums out there, have watched/read/researched/discussed most of the research and mainstream articles about modern-day parenting that it is almost impossible to avoid.
The positives first – I thought lots of the practical ideas provided in this DVD were really good and especially appreciated the links to where the resources they used could be purchased from. Some activities they suggested also involved resources or materials readily available at home or to be purchased very cheaply such as dried pasta and rice. Dr Margot Sunderland explains why we should interact with children in certain ways and from my Psychology background I found myself generally agreeing with her main points.
One thing that did put me off was the style of the DVD. It seemed quite ‘budget’ and whilst I am allergic to anything too ‘slick’ or over-produced, especially when it comes to children, I did feel it could have done with a bit more oomph. The clips of the actual interactions between a child and their carer were the most interesting and watchable parts and I would have liked more of this and less of the parenting expert talking about what parents should do and why. I found these ‘narration’ and explanation parts a tad boring and wished for more stimulating visuals or a more engaging conversational style. For example, at time the parenting expert acted out how to play with a child without a child being present which I thought was a shame.
However in summary I felt that this DVD does offer a great deal in the way of useful content and guidance but the style could be improved to make it more watchable and engaging.”
Charlotte reviewed age 5-12 DVD:
“The DVD is set in four parts where parenting expert Dr Margot Sunderland shows you the best ways of interacting with your child (age 5-12), to develop the greatest relationship, in ways all backed by brain science.
I think these days we are all guilty of not spending quite enough time actually playing with our children. Working, the demands of family life and the ever increasing usage of technology, we can often find there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done we need to do and sometimes actual quality time with our children can fall down by the wayside! This DVD aims to change this and enforce the reasons and benefits as to why.
Each subsection of the DVD gives an example of games, tasks or activities you could do to enhance this relationship with your child. You are shown a demonstration of an activity and then the science and development of the brain during this activity is explained. For example pitter patta clapping games with a partner (we all used to do this in the playground) helps brain growth and maturation of frontal lobes, in turn decreasing impulsivity and increasing capacity for concentration and focuses attention. Although somewhat complex in parts, the application of benefits to real life are interesting.
The DVD seems perhaps a little amateurish, however the theory behind it is clear, informative and interesting. There are some games I will be trying out with my son and I hope to reap the rewards not just from age 5-12 but for life!!”
Best Relationship with your Child DVD’s are available from Amazon