Children's mental health: In conversation with Kate Silverton
Mum to two young children, journalist and children's mental health advocate, Kate Silverton shares her ground-breaking new approach to parenting under-fives that helps to make family life so much easier with her best-selling book: There’s No Such Thing as ‘Naughty’.
Listen to the podcast and enjoy a conversation which also asks if we know so much about supporting children to become emotionally literate, why are so many Government policies rejecting all this research?
Welcome to talking early years, the podcast that talks all about things to do with early years with me, Gina Sullivan. And today I have a wonderful guest. Kate Silverton, who has written this rather lovely book called, there's no such thing as naughty. And we're going to talk about this for the next half an hour. And I have prepared a raft of questions for Kate, but I don't think we won't quite get into that. And it'll be more of a conversation. And I just wanted to say that actually, my team have chosen your book as the, we have a book club called pedagogy and Prosecco. And they've chosen it, which is interesting, because that's not the sort of usual sort of books that they choose, they usually choose something that's sort of heavy on pedagogy. So that's well done to you. And, and also, I struck it struck me that it's one of the books that I will send to our parents to help them to parent a bit, you know, because it's, it's, I found the whole thing very accessible. And I loved your your imagery, and and also your willingness to use your own children as examples, which I thought really connected. And as a mother of two boys, and one girl, I totally connected with the, the different ways you relate to girls and boys, you know, in that just in the natural sort of way, and how they, how they see things in their own particular way, as well. It's really interesting for me, Oh, that's wonderful to hear coming from you, I take that as a huge compliment. So thank you, to you and your team. Not at all, not at all, we're looking forward to it. Um, I've got lots of stickers in the book. And that's always that's what everyone knows that when I have lots of stickers in the book, it's a book that I take seriously and that I go back to over and over again and quote from so there's lots of stickers in your book. Okay, so, um, let's just just to open this thing out a bit, it was really interesting to look at the how you frame some of the the sort of the context for parents, and you noted that parenting is the toughest job in the world. And, you know, I asked the question, you know, so therefore, why are we not better prepared? And, you know, the question I wondered about was, and what you talked about was, should pair it, you know, childcare, be taught in schools as a means of supporting people who are likely to become parents. And also, you know, I know the Duchess of Cambridge is doing quite a lot of work on on kind of raising the challenges have been apparent in in modern day, so to speak. But you should be able to national campaign to raise the status of childcare and early childhood education. So sort of to the we sort of build a national appreciation of the importance of our children. In short, absolutely. Yes. I think the key here is in support, isn't it? And I think the key for me doing the research as I did, and training as I am now doing, I'm a counsellor on placement. And as a mother, the key findings for me, you know, when I became apparent for the first time, it was just wow, first of all, as I say, in the book, well, I knew it was gonna be so hard. And secondly, like, Is everyone else finding this hard? And thirdly, why is it so hard? And I think there's so many different strands to it. But certainly there is a huge amount in that lovely saying it takes a village, you know, to raise a child, and it certainly does. And I think if we can view it as that not some finger wagging nanny state esque type scenario, this is about us coming together, as a society to support each other to go back to, I think something of the way it was, you know, when we did live in these extended families, and we could ask for advice. And now we have the benefit of having the latest neuroscience to help us really understand what's going on in our children. And one of the quotes that really struck me was it was around emotional regulation. I quote a lot of people in the book you included, of course, thank you. I'm all the people that have inspired me and eminent scientists and people working in childcare. And it just struck me that emotion emotional regulation is the greatest gift we can give to our children under the age of five. That's it, forget about sort of Little Einsteins or whatever creating little Mozart's if we can give our children the gift of emotional regulation that is a large part towards future mental health. And actually, when we understand that we can also understand ourselves better. I've just been interviewed by Joe wicks of all people, you know, and he said, Thank you for writing this book because it's changed my life because he said, I grew up environment, which was very difficult. And I know that I'm in danger of repeating that cycle, the slamming doors and the shouting. But as I understand myself on my own emotional regulation from a really lovely, you know, perspective that's welcoming and accessible, which is what I wanted the book to be, then we can start getting to a place where we have regulated parents, and regulated children. And that's where the magic happens is you and I both know. So, you know, I really, it's just wonderful to hear that it is translating in the way that it is. And I just wanted to do it from a place of well, it helped me. So yeah, it can help me and my husband and my children, then I hope it can help others too. Yes, because I mean, I looked at it from two perspectives, because, again, the point you made about, you know, in one way, parents are overwhelmed by information, I mean, just too much. And on the other hand, there isn't enough kind of, you know, kind of relevant and immediate information. And we did a survey with the parents who use leaf nurseries. I don't know, maybe a year or two ago. And one of the things we found was, who do you look for for support? And of course, you tend to go to your own parents? Are your friends your immediate kind of group yet? I don't know if there is, because what we wanted to understand was, do they come to the nursery? You know, can we help? Are we informed enough? Are we knowledgeable enough? Are we supportive enough? To be able to answer those questions? And that was really the rationale for asking the question in the first instance. But it did, it struck me that, you know, when you when you kind of stripped it all out, and all these, you know, as you say, these kind of platforms, and blogs, and influencers and all that sort of stuff, actually, when it came down to it, you went to your immediate kind of connected friends and family. But given that we have so many people now having gone on their bikes, you know, are you know, living this to parent economy, the disconnect between them from their family and their friends, actually, sometimes it's quite long. And I think you've noted that in your book, especially if you come to parenthood later, for whatever reason, that you know, you're not always surrounded by people who have small children themselves. So I was just wondering about how we rethink the kind of way of supporting parents of all different kinds of persuasions and backgrounds and I think to myself, I was 20 when I had my first child, it was a, let's say, a bit of a surprise to me. But I come from a family of five children. So I wasn't uncomfortable with the idea of being around small children. But But the reality of being a parent at 20 was a it was a kind of, you know, me and him. We kind of figured it out between us, but had I the time back now, I'm sure there are many things I would have done differently, but at the time, you did what you thought was okay, you know? Well, I think there's a there's two things that struck me as you were just speaking, and I'm just trying to think they're my first point. It just take a pause. Because it was lovely. What you said, I thought that's exactly it. about going to who you go to for who you are. That's right. Yes. Sorry. That's going to be a little edit for you. Maybe but so it's so what struck me I've been working with a number of charities for the last decade or so. So the NSPCC, the Anna Freud centre place to be. And I sat in on the parent school with the the Anna Freud centre, they do wonderful work, as I'm sure you'll know, in supporting parents who've had a very challenging time. And one mum and I sat down, and we were chatting, and it was clear that she was carrying and she would admit, this is not me putting words in her mouth, but she was carrying an awful lot of guilt, because of the circumstances of her son's, you know, his experience of parenthood, there was domestic violence in the home and he was taken into care and, and she was carrying an enormous weight around that. And then we were talking and talking about our son's behaviour, both of our sons, and the wonderful relief, of shared experience, when I could see that there were certain aspects of her son's behaviour that she felt was, you know, she was taking on his guilt. And then I just had here my son does that too. And it the relief of Oh, okay, so that bits normal. Yeah, that's it. No, you know, all of our children are responding to various things with a sort of stress response as I talked about in the book, when we can understand it, we can work with it rather than taking stuff upon our shoulders or thinking oh, I did something wrong. actually know our children. respond to all sorts of things in everyday life. And actually, once we, and, and she and other parents on that, during that time that I was filming, they said, we now know how to repair. We all have rupture in our lives, all of us will all have, you know, as you've just said, your circumstances, my circumstances we're all going to have whether we're working parents, single parents, there's going to be challenged the key as many psychotherapists and psychiatrists would say, if there's always going to be rupture in our lives, the key is if we know that we can repair, that is where the glue comes between us and our children. That's where the resilience gets built. But that does take a process, we have to be engaged in that process, we don't want to retreat into a place of guilt and shame around our circumstances, actually, to know that our best is good enough, I think is really helpful. And those parents said to me, we now have had the support from the Anna Freud centre, we now have, feel able to break the cycle, the sort of that sort of sometimes a generational cycle where trauma gets passed down and, and the same behaviours get replicated, because otherwise we don't know, as you've just said, if we're only taking from Granny, that smacking is the way to discipline our children, then we're going to do the same doesn't make as bad people. It's just that that's what we've been taught works in inverted commas. So she said, when when I then started talking about writing a book, they said, Look, we understand how powerful this is, and having spoken and shared it, our experiences as parents, they said, we want to, we now get it. But if you could put the science in there, Kay, because then that means that I can go back to Granny, and say, I don't want to keep smacking my son, because he's not naughty. He's got needs right now. And I am going to be helping him with those needs. And I do not want to stick him in a corner, I do not want to put him on a naughty step. I do not want to discipline with smacking. But they said we can't kind of push back on that generational thinking, unless we know the science. And then came the rub the warning, Kate, remember, the average reading age in the UK is eight. And I thought, Oh, goodness. And to me as a journalist. My job is to communicate, I don't come from a privileged background. My dad was a London cabbie. And, and he, he always said to me, you know, hard work works. And also, Never be afraid to ask questions. It's not you, if you don't understand something, it's actually it's not being explained to you in the right way. And that always stuck with me. And with this book, I just wanted to write something that was really hefty in terms of the science, so that my mums and dads that I met that time in the Anna Freud centre could go back and say, here's the science, this is why we're not going to smack our children anymore. And moving forward to also put it in a way that wasn't some great big academic paper that was, you know, gone, you know, we're all tired and exhausted, and I don't want to be sat there in my bed at night, when I'm fraught with a baby and a three year old. I just Just tell me now what works. And so I just wanted to put that imagery in there of the lizard, the baboon, the Wise Owl and the bear Bab tree so that every parent could kind of go out, right? We're in baboon mode right now. And that's where that sort of lovely understanding for me, for me personally came from, because I could sort of put all the neuroscience into a really easy form that I understood. And I like that that's my child's brain, that's my brain. And I can move forward from there as a parent, not shouting where my kids, my children are running, right, but understanding that there might be a stress response going on or anything else. And just simply asking the question, right, okay, I might be tired, I might be at the end of my tether. I've got 50 emails to answer. But right now I'm looking at two children who need me to help them to regulate and calm down before bedtime. That's my job as a parent, and I can do that. And you know what, parenting becomes so much easier, so much easier, our kids are happier, we're happier. And that was the key for me if I could get this message out there, as is that it's very long answer to your question, Jim. But the point of this is a new if I could do this in a way that made sense to everybody. Then I could get some progress, because we could all get a light bulb moment exactly as had happened with me as a parent. I mean, totally get that actually. And I'm really interested in the fact that there was a whole chapter in your book about emotion regulation. And this is really timing because you know, it's very interesting, isn't it that you know, we're still a bit shocked and a bit Oh, Victorian, you know, children should be seen and not heard yet. We don't even bat an eyelid to allow a child to cry are to cry it out, as they say about baby sometimes, you know, are you know, sending them to their room and I mean, the whole television programmes on naughty steps and, you know, counting to three and all that sort of stuff. But and I totally get that and I was very interested because I wait, I waited till I found the bit in the book where it said, but we need boundaries too. And I thought that was really helpful and something to really kind of I think highlight because a lot of parents panic, because we do know that the theory tells us quite carefully that very authoritarian parenting doesn't really work. But so neither does laissez faire, tired of that kind of lackadaisical stuff. And you make that point. And I think it's important that you make that point, again, when you're giving, you know, the science to the parents, but also the sense that it needs there's, there's always a fear in parenting isn't there that you lose control? Yes, you have to be in charge. And you did a lovely example, I think of a child called I think Jamila and where you said, the Mum, the the child wants to walk along the top of the wall, uh, gosh, we all know this one, don't we, and, and she was in a panic in a hurry and needed to get somewhere. And so she wanted her to hurry up. And basically, what you want her to do is jump off the wall and call my head and run around, you know, run like a good chart. And then she recognised that actually, you know, there has to be some kind of compromise. But the compromise was interesting was, if you stop crying, you can walk the wall. And I thought your bit was really very beautiful that, you know, you can't my mother used to call it I talked, you know, when you get so upset, you can't kind of catch it. And your whole body is going and you see little children like that in supermarkets and stuff. And you just want to wrap your arms around them and just make them feel safe. But I thought that was really interesting. And I think as a journalist, you have the potential to give 50 different more explanations. So parents get that, because I don't think they do, I think they're wanting to hold on to that control, which is, I'm telling you, look, this is the deal, guys, you know, you're three, and this is the deal, the deal is you, you stop the crying, and you can do the bit for 23, you know, for the next two minutes or whatever, right? Not recognising that actually, the deal is a wrong deal. And that's really why the first two chapters for me were the hardest to write because I knew I had to get people from the get go, but equally they were going to be that was the science because what I wanted to say is first chapter, this is your child's brain. This is how we all develop. This is now what we understand from our child's brain. And then it's the second chapter is what goes on in the brain doesn't stay in the brain. So what were what's going on for our children in that moment that Jamila might have been anxious about going to school, it was only her second day at school, she would have had anxiety going on with that is a whole body experience. And so I explained the stress response in that second chapter, again, really simply because we all have it. And it's how we can relate. So we're saying, actually, for a child is a secondary school, Maybe something happened yesterday that sort of upset her, she's carrying all of that. And children are brilliant at sort of exorcising their stress. And actually, for a little child, that's actually quite clever, the little baboon brain is up on the wall, because then I can sort of exorcised that physical feeling of stress that's going on in my body. And as I explain the stress response, very simply, but that was really key for me, because then we can look at our children, I think, right? If I say to you, you've got to stop crying, and I say, tears, we should be looking at tears as stress leaving the body. So if my child is crying, I sort of liken it to toxic water sort of, there's all this sort of the the amygdala, the fire alarm in the in the brain has gone off and, and sort of carrying all this sort of anxiety. And then in the body, how we calm down is we sort of have the sprinkler system. But if that water stays in the body, this is obviously sort of all me metaphorically speaking, if that water stays in the body, to me, it becomes stagnant. So tears are an amazingly brilliant thing. And if we can embrace them, there is that fear you see, this is what we also tackle in the book is that we're not going to create crybabies, which is what I think the old school would have had it. And a lot of parents and certainly my husband who comes from the northeast, and I say in the book, so this is all he would, you know, there was that sense of if we allow, indulge in inverted commas crying, we're going to create crybabies. And what I really say time and again in the book is, let's think of tears as that toxic sort of that stagnant water leaving the body it's a good thing. And that gets the stress out. It allows our children to do what comes naturally, which is exorcised the stress, and then scoop them up and say you really, really want to walk the wall. You might not know in that moment, why do you really wants to walk the wall, but you know what, in two minutes, she's going to hold your hands gonna love you all the more for it, that you don't need a boundary in that moment. You know, we just need to have that bonding with our children. There are boundaries clearly, you know, we don't want our children running right in a restaurant. But again, if we understand response, well, and also but if we understand that boredom is stressful for children, they're having to sit there suppressing all this, like I want to get up I want to get up. So that's again, our job as parents to sort of take enough stuff to engage that seeking part of the brain so that they will sit and be engaged, but there's always lovely soft boundaries that go in if we don't have boundaries with our children, that it feels like and actually a therapist said to me once I It was a brilliant way of looking at it. And she said, if you don't have boundaries in a relationship, it's your children will literally feel like they could fall off the edge of the earth, because where does it stop. And I thought that was a brilliant way of looking at it. So we put these lovely, and we do it in, you know, as I'm counselling on placement. Now, when I go in, and my first session will always sort of set up a little contract, it might be verbal, it might be on paper, depending on the age of the child, but it sets out the safety parameters that in this room, I'm going to keep you safe, you're going to keep me safe, we're not going to do any behaviour, that's, that's going to not be safe. And we can do that with our children. And they operate within that really, really well. I absolutely, and I don't know where in the in the book, but I loved the concept. And you describe the rest inside the child's head. And I think that should be the name of all PSE D courses for every member of staff, because I thought it was a really interesting way of looking at the inside. And I'm going to check that this the stuff that we do with our staff is, you know, sees it from that lens, because I just thought, you know, for once it was looking at it from the child's perspective, rather than from the add on perspective. And I think there's that I think you've noted that yourself, actually, that that's very powerful. And also, I think it's really interesting, sorry to interrupt, but we're also to think, and I've tried to do it a lot in the book of explaining how we respond. So I talk about things like if I come home, and I've had a really tricky day at work, and, you know, uses that as an example. It's not me personally, but let's just say my bosses berated me in public or something and something's happened, that's horrible. And I come home. And I might then actually sort of, you know, moan about the dinner or something or moan about something. And my husband might look and think, well, that's a bit off, isn't it? And then you might have an argument, well, I'm bringing stuff home from work in the same way that our children will bring stuff home from nursery or school or whatever. If we can take step and go, Oh, sweetheart, you look like you've had a really tough day, do you need a hug? Well, that that's where the magic happens, because it's in that understanding. So in the same way, if my husband said to me, Oh, for God's sake, and just left me and walked away and said to stop being so silly, if I was trying to tell him that I'd had a difficult day, well, how would I feel? So I think sometimes we can also reframe it from our own perspective and think, right, actually, how would I feel in that instance, and it gives us that natural empathy of being able to step inside our children's mind or shoes, to see things from their perspective, too. I think that's really interesting. And I was just trying to imagine how do we help parents and adults generally, to find a way of putting a kind of magic blanket around themselves so that when they actually come home, or you know, pick the children up or whatever, they've got that bit of kind of comfort to give to that child, because you're right, so many parents, I feel for them, you know, they're under pressure at work. They're rushing in the traffic, they finally arrive at the nursery three minutes two to six panicking out of their brain. So And right now, of course, settling in is weird, because we can't have them in in the way we would normally do. And you arrive and you've got all that pent up anxiety. You know, it's a bit like when you lose your child in the supermarket. And you when you find the and I've done this myself, I lost my daughter in IKEA. I didn't actually lose a she thought was funny and she was hiding. I told I was going to have a heart attack, I caught I was going to die. So when she when I found her, I shouted at her, you know, it was like, and then I calmed down and gave her a hug. But she was looking at me in amazement, thinking this was a great game. I mean, why aren't you playing it? I was thinking, Oh, my God, I thought you were dead. You know, all of those things. And I think sometimes we don't perhaps prepare parents to even have their own kind of, you know, amygdala hijack to step don't come into the nursery for for two minutes till you've done four deep breaths or whatever it is that kind of calms you down. So when you call up the welcome and write you frozen for me incident where your little little boy had, you know, it was an orange or an apple, but it was neither it nor 100 yards, the apple wasn't the issue turns out that him and his friend had had a lot of keishon. And he was very worked up by that. And and then actually, how do you how does he tell you? How do you How does a child tell you these things? And I just wonder about whether we should do some training with parents. And that's why I think it should be taught in school from day one, to give examples of a child's sort of description of how they're feeling and how it comes out. Not in a way that's articulator grown up. Yeah, absolutely. And that's why I was quite keen to put loads of tips and tools like practical tools because it has helped me. So as you say, in the book, The the example of and I hear this time and again, actually, as you say parent rushes up, and we're so if we can recognise in ourselves, right, my stress response is up, which in the book we explain means our lizard and baboon, which is our survival part of our brain, you know, and that is up and out the gate quite quickly, if it senses sort of threat and if we're late and we're running and then hey presto, when we come Right, he's made it and I'm so looking forward to seeing my child. And then they look at you, and there's a snow. Yeah. And with my son, it was I was holding the apple and he wanted an orange and there's massive meltdown took place now, then we recognise in our heads, that my baboons already up because I'm late, right, then I have public humiliation, because my son has literally rejected me, looking forward to seeing him. So I've got public rejection, everyone else's kids seem really happy to snarling at me, and now prostrate prostate on the floor. And so then I've got that, so I've got public humiliation, that, again, is going to trigger my own limbic system. So again, the baboon is now really enraged. Yeah, because there's humiliation involved. And there's also fear, because there's fear that I don't know what to do next, or my son is in front of me in facing, you know, knee deep in the mud. Now, in that moment, so there's lots of things we can do. And I would love to see this happen, a few star jumps, right, make, you know, kind of, I use it in my counselling rooms as well, you know, if we've had a pretty tricky session, we'll do a few star jumps. And that can be quite funny then as well, and I explain it, that we've got all this stuff in our bodies, and we just need to let it out. And then we start laughing. But actually, that is really, really working. That's proper science, in terms of shaking it all out. And so there's all science mixed up in just practical ways of loosening up and getting rid of a little stress is that really helps to bring us all down. So actually, I'd love it if parents you know it to have a sign saying, Have you done your star jumps, and then the parent goes, and that gives everybody that five second window. And it's a bit funny and a bit silly, which also really helps because, you know, if we if we're all laughing, then the straight you know, you can't be up and out, then and it also gives us a chance to, okay, it's a reminder that we're stressed because that's what we're doing our star jumps. And you know what our children pick up on that. And also, then, a reminder that if our children come out, like Wilbur did that day, the nursery, he is doing that not because I'm a bad parent, but because he sees me the sort of safe mothership or father ship, so you know, the safe mothership, as it were. And he's offloading all that he's held in during the day. And my job at that moment is not to punish him, if I then can regulate myself thinking or quickstart Johnson Actually, it's not personal stop snot. As I say in the book, it's not personal. And looking at him in his distress and think something's going on. I might not have the ability to translate it right now. And there's a whole group of people looking at me. So I recognise that I'm feeling a bit stressed and a bit sort of overwhelmed myself. But I am convinced that I can help my son in that moment. And you know, I've had the first woman who interviewed me beuth, brilliant journalist, and she texted me to say, we had the orange Apple moment in a bookstore, she taken her daughter out to spend some quality time as I talked about in the book, the sort of hero hours, and she's got a new baby. So she thought I really need to do some bonding, took her toddler out, went to the bookstore, to bookstore to get a book, and her daughter just completely had a massive fit, saying she wanted chocolate. Now, here's the lovely, soft boundary, because we're not just going to go Oh, okay, here's some chocolate. Yeah, I knew that. She said, but I also didn't know I was, she said, then in my head, I'm thinking, God, I've brought you out. We're having a really nice day. Now you're kicking off about the chocolate, but she said, I had you in my head cage that I had the book in my head. And she just said, Come on, I'm thick, we're going to go somewhere a bit safe, because she said, I just knew I had to get her somewhere safe, that I could feel regulated and I could regulate her. She said, I picked her up, I held her clothes. And she said, I just sort of took her out out of it. And she said, we sat down. And she said she really was very, very distressed. And she said in my head, I was thinking, I don't know what I'm doing. But I'm gonna keep persisting because Kate said, and she said, I just sat with her and she just said, You are so upset right now. Are you able to tell mommy, and she couldn't her daughter was so upset, and she's only two and a half. And then she picked up her teddy bear. So this is where what I love is that parents can take what's in the book and then mould it into what works for them. So she took the teddy bear. Sure. Do you think you can tell Teddy? What's wrong? Yeah. Yeah, beautiful. And, and her daughter immediately said because of using metaphor, storytelling is really powerful for children when they're really young. And her daughter said xX xX so and so hit me today at nursery. Yeah. And there it was. And she said I could have wept because she said the if I hadn't wet wishes, previously, I would have taken that as a slight, I would have been really upset because I'm trying to do something nice. I would have scooped her up and said, well, you're not having chocolate, you're not having a book and then we would have all gone home unhappy. Whereas in that moment, was that lovely opportunity to have sweetheart, I'm so sorry, gosh, you must have had a difficult morning. And then do you know what chocolate goes the bookshop goes and it's a It's a bonding Parent Child, you know, moment a magical moment where the child feels mummy daddy sees me. They hear me they feel understood. And we will say she said, Kate, the meltdowns are melting away. They're literally going overnight, because I've just adopted this new way. And I think that can apply. It definitely applies in the nursery setting in a school setting, if we can flip it around and think, what is my What are my children in the classroom? What are they telling me in this moment that I need to be able to understand that is going to see the behaviour start regulating, because children feel seen and heard. I couldn't agree with you more, actually. And I written it down. And now we're going to talk to my team about this to make sure because I think reget you, I mean, I think you made some examples that, you know, we're trying to teach our children how to kind of connect and emotionally regulate. But for ourselves quite often, we haven't actually figured that out ourselves, we behave a bit like, you know, you know, baboons, ourselves quite often and you you made reference to it in, in, you know, road rage and, and just rudeness, you know, some of the rudeness you see in people and, and I just thought well, you know, have have we spending enough time in the sector, making sure that we're looking at that as part of the training for staff so that they can look to themselves so that they can, as you said, you know, put the child really right right there right into their head, just jump right into those heads. But we're up against did Kate and I think it's helpful for you in your particular position and your advocating position to recognise that we have a government that you know, is really traditional and old fashioned into this idea. And there, they really been kind of like there's been a lot of narrowing this notion of self regulation to kind of sitting still and being good. And and and you talk to you gave a lovely example of will Wilbur having not wanting to wear his white polo shirt, and it turns out that he finds it hard to get on and get off. And the question I kind of that came from me straight away from that was, you know, I am of the view that we should keep our children in a nursery play environment, and you talk a lot about play. And for that I am eternally grateful to you that actually we should keep our children in that play based environment until they're four, four and a half to certainly to less four and a half, five and a half, six, even. And rather than pushing them through the school route, because I don't think that they're always ready for that. And there's a lot of expectation placed upon them, because they're one of us a group of Milo 2630. Whereas in the nursery, they're one of a group of eight. Do you think that? You know, how do you think that you can get parents to maybe understand that and to recognise that, you know, being able to write your name or three. And you know, being able to do stuff at at four, so that you're in school and you've got into a good school and stuff actually does no favours for children and a lot of them need to have the pacing of their development and their learning in a steady way. And there's no evidence across the world, no matter where you measure it, and how you cut and slice the data that says that rushing them into school or rushing them into formal education actually advances their ability that actually in a way, giving them more play based experience giving them more opportunities to extend and, you know, and and to develop and to to focus down on things that matter so that they're really, really getting a good grasp of all of the things we need them to do really well practised actually is, you know, is not the better way forward. And that, you know, the school, the countries in the top end, tend to take that focus, how do you think you could, in your role as advocate kind of really get that message out there? Brilliant question. So first of all, I will let's let's see to unpick it a bit. One is that, as you say, as an advocate, and having written the book now, it gives me I think I'm so keen to write the book in that regard. Because when it gets endorsed by people like Professor Peter foggy, who's sort of such a, you know, one of the gods of mental children's health in this country, and you know, when you get Peter saying every parent needs to read this book, I'm like, Okay, I'm done. And, you know, and people like Bruce Perry in the states that I've collect, you know, that that I quote in the book, and so on, and so on. So it was really important for me to get the science nailed and to get it endorsed by the people who count because, yeah, and the Duchess of Cambridge as well, might I add in that because the Royal foundation does a huge amount in this area, and I'm hoping to be doing some work with them in that regard. So I think the first thing for me as an individual is that it was important to write the book because it was as a journalist, as a mother, I would just wanted to share what I had discovered for myself and that had worked for me and my children. As a mental health advocate. When we are in a time of such crisis. It is entirely wrong to be focusing for young children as you say on academic achieved meant, really, you know, I wanted for my children overlocked down to be emotionally well and happy and regulated. And that was my main priority. I couldn't do it all I couldn't sit and be a do lots of homeschooling because the capacity wasn't I just wanted to sit and play because that's what I recognise. And I think, as you say, we must recognise the power of play. And we can do that when we understand brain development. So this isn't just a sort of a rather lovely rose tinted, little theory coming up, as all plays lovely play is fundamental to our children's brain development, when they have a really good solid foundation in terms of if we think of their brains developing like a house, we build a house, we get the foundations, right, when the winds of adversity blow as they inevitably, well, later in life. If our children have that strong foundation, we are going to see good future mental health, the house won't fall down. And I think when we understand that, and that's all of us, you know, we all have. And that's just an understanding. So we don't blame or shame even Paul, for politicians, for parents, whatever. This is not about saying, look, look, we did things in the past, because, you know, when we know better, we do better, basically. So now we know that it's really important to get the architecture of the brain as healthy as we can in these early years. And that play is vital to that. And emotional regulation is vital to that as pretty much all we need to do in the first five years. The summer born issue I would you know, that's another whole big Oh, yeah. Summer born issue, my son's a summer born. So Ah, and I'm a summer born. So I mean, huge. So I've done a huge amount of research in this area. And I think that is a massive issue to tackle if we can. So there's there's a lot of, but I do find that if we can bring people with us. I'm not. I'm not someone who sort of harangues or finger Wags and I never would never seek to be what I want to do is to bring people with us through an understanding and say, here's the science. And here's what we know, this is not just me saying it or you saying it's this is what we now know from the neuroscience. And actually, you in your experience, June and all your staff no works. Can we listen to you please and then create this grassroots movement, I do what I can and in fact, I will kind of not harangue. But I will go in as a journalist and and and point out and I'd love to take on policymakers not take them on but work with them to sort of say, look, we are a little bit behind I think in the way that we view children you know, all this talk of behaviour pods when we come back from lockdown or funny or thing, feelings behaviour is going to be bigger, because they're communicating all the anxiety that they've been holding in over this past year, haven't they all done incredibly well, haven't parents done incredibly well. We need to be nurturing people now not sort of suppressing them and locking them in sort of behaviour pods and forcing them to sit still we need to understand. So I think what as I say, when we know better as Maya Angelou says we do better. And that's the key. And I think it has to come from grassroots. Let's empower parents to say Actually, it's not acceptable for my child to be forced to sit down, they need to go out and play. There's a lot of evidence around ADHD now that there's been an over sort of, and I hear this from paediatricians. This is not me saying this, and people like Dr. Margo Sunderland, who says it in her brilliant book, the science of parenting, that we're very quick to label children when actually what they need is play, because physical play is what is helping their brains develop, and a lot of boys because of course, their brains developed slightly differently to girls in the first few years, sort of Absolutely. So physical play is fundamental. And for parents to feel able to sort of demand in a way of saying, actually, no, you're not going to sit my child in a chair, I need to know that you get this stuff, and so they can drive change as well. And I think I see that with a lot of parents that instinctively they know what's right. But there's this sort of sense that we have to go along because the teacher says this, or the head teacher feels that and so don't be afraid to challenge I think as parents and as staff that if you feel that something may be could be done better, or that it's going against what you instinctively feel is right for your child like the summer born issue. The Don't be afraid to advocate for your child. You are not alone in this, you me. You know, we all I done this work, because instinctively I felt, you know that I needed to do it for various reasons. And I've been lucky enough to have the world's greatest experts to sort of guide me in that regard. So don't be afraid to advocate for your for your children. And I promise you, I am doing all I can to advocate for our children in this country. That is my life's work now. And that's the thing that I'm most passionate about as long as raising my own little family to Well, I'm I'm good. On that note, I think I'm going to take it that you're going to back us and you're going to do work with us. And that actually together with, you know, the Duchess of Cambridge and all the others who've been saying this forever, we've been saying this for years and years and years, that actually what we need is to build a national philosophy about modern childhood, which is based on what is good for children. So I'm going to hold you to that, Kate, and, and hope that your voice will add value because I think you're right, I think we do need a movement. And I think people are ready at the moment for it. I think they've been surprised by the COVID implications for for children. And I know many of our parents, God bless them have written so nicely and said, You know, I had no idea just how much stuff you did with our children. And I need to know more. So I guess your next book, Kate has to be exploring what does learning in a nursery look like? And why do we do what we do in a way that makes people understand that, you know, the early years pedagogy, you know, is manifested through as my friend lalla manners would say, through the physical beings, the very every bone and every muscle of a child's body. And that the way we do things has a logic and a science behind it that will ultimately get those children to a position of comfort and capability. And, you know, and we'll see them through. And I guess if we have voices like yours behind us, we can't go wrong. Yeah, absolutely. And, and to sort of supplement that as well with, I mean, I even spoke to a mom this morning, who she said, I'm reading the book, and I really get it. And I just don't know how to play. And I think that's really it, you know, and I literally wanted to give her a hug because she she's actually a psychiatrist, and she said, I feel this immense pressure because of my work. And yet, I'm finding it because because funny, old thing. Her mom was an academic, and she didn't play with her. And so why would you? And I said, Well, what if I said that, you know, why would you and I think that also in the book is is a way of supplementing the work that you do. So parents can kind of go, you know what, when I bring my pick my child up from nursery, it's not just thank you job done, June staff has done they've all done their bit today, I can switch off now actually 10 minutes a day of play with your child can work wonders in terms of bonding and decompression. And for you both actually I find it really meditative to play with my kids. And it's actually as a therapist who works a lot with arts and play. As I keep must keep stressing, I'm a counsellor on placement. I'm still in training, but I work with children and have supervision at the end of the day. But the work that I've done in my training with place to be is all art and play based. And and it's very powerful, and every parent can do it. You don't have to be a therapist in training or a qualified therapist, to actually help your children, you can sit and say that I really was keen in the book to sort of give little scripts and help parents just because you can sometimes it's just sitting back being present for your child at whatever age and just observing I do it with my son every morning he'll mommy can we have our Lego time and we sit there, and it's just oh, I can see you've picked up these zombie one today. And then he'll visit and then I sort of just follow him, I don't have to really sit fully he doesn't need me to he just needs me to see him. And I think if parents knew how easy players and how rewarding it is, they could do it go a long way to helping supplement that the amazing work that you and your staff do. Well, as I say, I think it's only to be part of a national philosophy about modern childhood where we actually appreciate that play is a science to small word, which is a deep, deep, deep, meaningful set of behaviours, actions, knowledge, base and understanding. And we can't assume that grownups know how to play. So I think that's a really that's a really useful starting point. And to give people permission, that it's okay to have fun and play. And I love that you woven through all of this in this whole book, the purpose of dads, because I think sometimes the role of the dads gets lost in all of this. Whereas we know that actually having an engaged father, whether they live in that in the home, or they don't actually makes a significant difference to both little girls and little boys. Yeah. And that was very much part of my design, which is why it's lovely when I do hear back from people like Joe works and like my husband, who's former military, and he had the sort of quite a difficult start in life. He lost his dad when he was very young, he didn't really have anyone that played with him. So, you know, his admission to me was but Kate, you know, I can't do what you do. And I said, you don't have to do what I do. You know, you know, and just sort of give him a few little tips and tricks and the joy of walking past the bedroom window. And hearing him play Poppy, which I knew probably inside is cringing, but as he came out and he went it's really quite cool. I just sat there and I just sort of watched and I did a few things with the puppy and clemency loved it. And that was it. You know, and I think sometimes demystifying what it means and I think for dads they should absolutely there's a magic in it and they shouldn't be excluded at all, from these conversations quite the opposite. Yeah, was there something was going to tell you just them what we were just talking about in terms of having sort of a universal, I can't think it's gone from me, but oh, well, actually, I was gonna say to you, because I'm gonna have really one as a guest in reverse, because I'm going to start doing a podcast in that way, and also start doing some play based stuff. So I'm filming it. So when I've got a little plan for a programme, so that probably is my next step, a television series. So I'm going to be knocking on your door for that. Well, this has been my life's work. So I'm always happy to help to just take any inch forward, because there's nothing happier than to hear children actually be be nurtured and supported. And just to enjoy them, because they are just such wonderful little characters, every one of them. And so I'm gonna say thank you, a million times we've run over, but I don't think it matters. I think many of our parents will enjoy this conversation. And I know, certainly the staff well, and just thank you very, very much indeed for writing the book, and for being open and brave, and for using examples that we can all connect with. So it doesn't feel like it's something that's unachievable. Absolutely, thank you so much. And thanks to all of your staff and all the parents for listening and being open in return, because I think that's what it takes, isn't it for us to all come together and share that the good times and the bad and, and to sort of come through knowing that we're all facing the same and all of this, all of this? There is resolution in all of it, and we're serving our children for their future mental health when we do so. Thank you, Kate. It's been a pleasure. Thank you. Lots of love. Bye. Bye Bye now. Thank you for joining me today. If you liked what you heard, please share it. Check us out on our website.