Once upon a school run with Jen Pringle

Here at MORE TH>N we know that the school run is a stressful time of day for parents nationwide. With all of the PE kits, pencil-cases and packed lunches that are too easily left at home, you have more than enough to worry about already without the kids bickering in the back seat. That’s why we’ve come up with a few helpful tips to help take the stress out of the school run.

Child psychologist Dr Sam Wass tells us it can be hard as parents not to always take the authority role, but as we all know, children tend to switch off to this tone. Children crave attention and when we have to focus on driving they can quickly succumb to distractions, which often means distracting us. Read more about the science behind it...

A great way to keep the kids occupied is through storytelling and encouraging them to use their curious minds in a fun and engaging way, with a back-and-forth style conversation. We teamed up with children’s TV presenter Jen Pringle from Channel 5’s Milkshake! to show you how you can keep the kids entertained by storytelling during the school run.

Can a fairy solve the school run drama?


 


 

In episode two of MORE THAN In-Car Entertainers, Jen encourages 4-year-old Saoirse to take inspiration from the world around her to come up with her own stories. Encouraging kids to use their brains to do their own story telling is a great way to get them to get in gear for school, and a fun method of strengthening your relationship by creating something together. As the kids notice new objects each day, they’ll gather fresh inspiration to create fresh stories, or if you have a good thing going, you can always pick up where you left off the day before. 
 

Kids still breathing fire at each other?
 

These breathing exercises will help to defuse the drama and get the heart rate lowered. 

Dragon breathing

  1. Imagine you’re a DRAGON. 
  2. Take a deep breath in.
  3. Breathe out through your mouth whilst roaring, until there is no air left in the lungs – if you can, count to 10 so you can control the outflow of breath. 
  4. Claws out (spread your fingers out like claws). Tongue out. 
  5. Repeat 3-5 times.

The Tumble Dryer

  1. Sit up with your back straight. 
  2. Point index fingers towards each other
  3. Position them so your left finger is pointing to the right and your right finger is pointing to the left overlapping a bit in front of your mouth and blow as you spin your fingers round each other
  4. Make a lovely long exhalation and a satisfying swishy sound - count to 10 so you can control the outflow of breath.

The Bumble Bee

  1. Sit comfortably with back straight.
  2. Breathe in through your nose. 
  3. With fingers in your ears hum out your exhalation – as with the other exercises, count to 10 so you can control the outflow of breath.

The lovely comforting resonance of this has a calming effect and done with eyes closed can make it even more peaceful.
 

Sing the stress away
 

If storytelling or fun breathing exercises aren’t quite cutting it, you could try and do some singing together. Singing can help regulate our heartbeats and forces us to breathe deeply, which can both provide calming effects. Try singing in harmony or singing a round – the types of singing that you have to concentrate on. Or use a call and response method where the parent sings a phrase and the child repeats it back with a little alteration.

Here are a few suggestions to kick things off:

  • Children’s songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald or The Wheels on the Bus
  • Movie soundtracks, the one from Frozen is a winner!
  • Chart songs that you’ll probably hear every morning on the radio, so they’re easy to pick up
  • Your own favourite songs! You’ll be surprised how much your kids pick up from the music you listen to at home

The school run may never be completely stress-free, but with a little bit of motivation, you can keep the kids engaged and occupied in an entertaining way, giving you more time to focus on getting there safely.


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