API: Tell us about your DVD series.
Margot: The 3 films in the “Best Relationship with your Child” series are designed to equip parents with tools, skills and practical ideas to strengthen their attachment relationship with their child. Using the latest neuroscience research and illustrated throughout with delightful footage of parent-child quality time, the films will support parent-child relationships in amazing ways. All the communicative tools and ideas for attachment play are designed to enhance both bonding and the child’s brain development — not only enriching parent- child relationships now, but as an investment for life.
The films in the “Best Relationship with your Child” series are:
- “The First Five Years”
- “Creative Quality Time”
- “Age Five to Twelve.”
API: What inspired you to create this resource?
Margot: I was all too aware that there is so much out there on how to get children to behave, but actually very little on how to enhance parent-child relationships on a day-to-day basis. And recent studies have shown that parents want so much more than just advice on effective discipline. They want to know how to have the best possible relationship with their child. So I wanted to provide a resource, which would give parents a huge menu of ideas for lovely ways of connecting with their child, particularly through attachment play.
Over 17 years, I had also carried out a meta-analysis of research on the long-term impact of positive parent-child interactions on the child’s developing brain in my book, The Science of Parenting. As a result of this, I wanted to communicate to parents how attachment play is key for healthy brain development and long-term mental health. So I talk about this on the DVDs, too, using accessible language and images of course.
API: How will this DVD series benefit other families?
Margot: With all the pressures of being a modern-day parent, it’s clear that keeping up with daily quality time can be a struggle for many parents in all sorts of ways, particularly with the over-5s. Here are some key statistics:
- 2/3 of communication between parent and child is about daily routine.
- Over 1/3 of parents think they don’t spend enough time with their children.
- Over 1/2 of parents say they only play with their children occasionally, 1/3 say they simply don’t have the time to play, and 1 in 6 fathers say they do not know how to play with their child.
Then there is the allure of technology, with so many parents concerned nowadays that their children would prefer to communicate with their mobile phone rather than with their family! Statistics show that 1/3 of parents and their children use devices at the dinner table, by the way.
So parents can use the DVDs to give themselves a rich menu of ideas for lovely and novel ways of quality relational moments with their child. This is particularly true for parents who are feeling disheartened or lacking ideas of how to engage or re-engage their child in the delights of parent-child quality time. Children love the attachment play games, and having watched the DVDs, parents often say they feel a new lease of life and a confidence in relating to their children playfully, in ways that really deepen their relationship
API: Is there any special message you have for parents who question that playing with their child is important?
Margot: Parent-child attachment play isn’t just a nice thing in the moment. If you do some every day, even for a short time, you are both investing in the health of your relationship long-term and enhancing your child’s brain development — especially emotional and social intelligence, all backed by research.
I would say, try to aim for at least 1 hour of quality time a day with your child. But this can be made up of separate quality moments spread out through the day, rather than just one big block of 60 minutes. I think it’s more powerful that way.
API: What are your views of Attachment Parenting International (API)? How does your DVD series fit within API’s mission statement?
Margot: I am passionate about Attachment Parenting International and its dissemination of such vital information about the importance of strengthening emotional bonds between parent and child, for both self and society.
The DVDs work within API’s mission statement in that they are designed to support secure attachment between a parent and child through demonstrating a whole host of attuned emotionally responsive parenting interactions, using key communicative techniques and attachment play.
API: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Margot: As a parent myself, I know all too well that with all the endless tasks of being a parent, the washing, preparing meals and the rushing off to school or nursery, special together times can all too easily take a back seat. I have learned a lot with my own children, about how the guilt of not spending enough time with them can be alleviated so much with little but regular moments of playful connection throughout the day. You can see their eyes light up and the messages they get when our eyes meet in some playful exchange: “I delight in you,” “I delight in being with you,” “You are delightful.”
So hence through the DVDs, it has been a pleasure to share with parents a resource that will hopefully bring them and their children endless moments of real connectedness.
API: Where can people find more information about this resource or your work?
The DVD series is also available for rental/download at:
A limited number of DVDs are also available for purchase in the API Store.