Best of the Web: How to win back your kids, and more

The best-selling guide to reconnecting with your children, the concerning impact of kids missing PE during lockdown, and the teenage 'pianola man' bringing joy.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

'If you focus on control, you have lost the battle': how to win back your kids

(Paula Cocozza, The Guardian)

So many books about parenting come and go. Those that have something special to say continue to resonate long after they were first published. Such is the case with Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

It was first published in 2004, updated in 2011, and has been translated into 15 languages. The book’s central message is that if your child’s attachment to their peers supplants the relationship with primary caregivers, you need to reclaim them.

As this article explains, it’s about reconnecting with your child. Gabor Maté, who worked on the book with renowned developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld, says the key is for parents to reconnect with intuition. They should ignore  books that portray parenting as expertise to be acquired: ‘They’re useless,’ he says.

‘When you get down to the nitty-gritty,’ writes the author of this article, ‘instinctive parenting sounds pretty straightforward: speak nicely to your kids, treat them as you would any loved one, be ready with a hug, avoid overuse of your phone in their company, spend time with them, solicit their good intentions.’

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Missing out on PE during lockdowns means students will be playing catch-up

(Jora Broerse, Cameron Van der Smee and Jaimie-Lee Maple, The Conversation)

Kids have missed out on many school experiences over the past 18 months. This article sounds an alarm over one critical element – Physical Education.

The authors point to international evidence suggesting that COVID lockdowns have meant poorer movement skills in children, with reduced physical activity at school, socially as well as the community.

Two Melbourne primary school teachers told authors they were concerned about their students’ reduced physical activity in lockdowns. A teacher of grades 4 and 5 told them: ‘We have noticed a massive lack of physical activity in the students. Some do say they went to the park or played basketball in the backyard, but a lot talk about being on their devices. We have certainly noticed over the past year that students have put on weight.’

The authors call for extra support for physical educators to reintroduce students to physical education and help them catch up.

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Teenage 'pianola man' Lloyd Baker 'brings joy' with hobby restoring vintage self-playing pianos

(Andrew Kelso, ABC Wimmera)

In our search for items to share with you for Best of the Web, we’re often taken by stories of young people doing interesting and unexpected things.

So it is with this story about Year 11 student Lloyd Baker, from the Victoria’s Wimmera wheat town of Murtoa. Courtesy of the ABC, Lloyd has shot to prominence over an unlikely pursuit for a teenager – he has become the area’s ‘pianola man’.

His hobby is restoring the self-playing pianos that were popular early last century. The passion began when he asked his piano teacher about them, who just happened to have one.

‘I read the Player Piano Servicing and Rebuilding book by Arthur Reblitz, and it has a detailed guide of how to restore them, so off I went,’ Lloyd said.

It’s also much more than a hobby. Says Lloyd: ‘I just do them for people and bring them joy … it’s good.’

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