How to Survive Raising Children: A Lesson in Finding Friends Instead of Answers

Intro piece – Sharing insights on family life to bring us all closer together

I’ve been a teacher for a long time. I am happily married for 24 years, raised three children of my own and I’m proud to say I’ve created Swallows and Amazons Kindergarten. So, you might think I should be pretty au fait with most things to do with children by now. But the truth is, they still surprise me everyday! Which is probably why I do the job that I do; children are endlessly fascinating and sometimes I wonder if they’re not actually teaching us rather than the other way around. That’s not to say your little one is not in the best of care while they’re at school – rest assured that when it comes to the social, emotional, physical and academic well being of your children they’re in very safe hands.

But what of your well being? The well being of parents in our community, people who are short on time and long on demands. Mums and Dads are expected to navigate many unexpected challenges when it comes to raising their children. While bigger problems might give an indication of where to start looking for answers, what about all the little things that crop up that can’t be so simply categorised? The type of things that have you googling “my son has suddenly stopped talking and is whispering instead” in the middle of the night! I hope to share with you my experiences in order to help you find the answers to these minor yet major parenting worries or at least give you an alternative point of view.

That’s where I think I can help. Over the years, I’ve gained insights galore that may not be the best content for schoolyard conversations, but add up to a fabulous wealth of information that could put a lot of worried parental minds at ease. Which is why I’m starting blog series that I’m calling, The Family Tree – Branching off in all Directions with Jackie Barkham, in honour of the tree that is the centrepiece for so much activity at Swallows and Amazons, and as the structure that binds you to your loved ones.

Each week I’m just going to riff and ruminate on topics and concerns of parents that have cropped up over the years and see if I can offer some reassurance or an alternative view point and perspective from the position of someone that has ‘been there, and done (or experienced) that’, either personally or as a preschool owner.

I most certainly don’t purport to be an expert and have all the answers. Nor do I think that’s the point of what I want to do here. Most of the time, we just want someone to chat to about all the weird and wonderful things that children throw at us; to know that we’re all in this together; and that it’s ok to bring out into the light all those nitty gritty things that we chew over in the dark and have a laugh about them.

Now, more than ever, while we’re all house-bound and trying to keep sane in the midst of a global pandemic, I hope I can offer you some comfort and commiseration on the things that might be running through your head. Let’s plod along together.

Take care for now,

Jackie

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