Trampoline parenting

Photo: iStock.com/PeopleImages

Clemmie Stewart and Rebecca Glover of Surbiton High School outline their concept of ‘trampoline parenting’ – where children are allowed the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from these, whilst being supported by their parents when they fail.

In January 2020 we launched the concept of ‘trampoline parenting’ – parenting whereby we allow our children the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from these mistakes and support them whilst they fail, rather than always ensuring we step in and fight their battles. This concept has been borne out of the increasing need and desire of parents to wrap their children in cotton wool, fight their battles and prevent them from feeling any sort of hardship or failure at any level.

Who could predict that over the course of the next few months we would all experience a different type of intense home schooling of our children?

Pre-lockdown now seems like it was relatively straight forward: managing every minute of their day, school, clubs, homework, playdates, parties and holidays. Managing a busy child's calendar is an art in itself and the more ambitious a parent is for their child, the fuller the schedule. French club, netball club, art club; lockdown abruptly changed all of this. The parent became the home teacher, the coach, the language specialist, the artist. Parents quite quickly learnt that their children could not be occupied the whole time, but more importantly, for working parents in particular, children had to be able to be creative, think for themselves, manage their time and actually learn for themselves. For many, parenting became less about education and nurturing and more about surviving the day without a major fall out!

Rebecca Glover is Principal of Surbiton High School.