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Everyone needs a Joel in their life

One of my sons has an amazing friend called Joel. Joel and his family live on a farm just out of town and he is constantly creating hilarious and challenging outdoor adventures. It's the type of adventure that's mostly long forgotten by the gen Z children of today: Tying home made sleds to the back of motorbikes...attempted cow riding...building forts. You name it, Joel is out there giving it a go.

As you'd expect, his physical competency causes Joel to be a total boss on the footy field, basketball court and most other sports too. What he might find an inconvenience in having less screen time, is actually developing skills and competency he'll take with him for a lifetime. But what I selfishly love the most about Joel is that he's my go to guy when our son complains about missing out on anything technological.

Although I logically know I merely have to stand my ground, it's incredibly helpful when I have indisputable proof that my son's situation isn't unique. It's far easier to ask - "Does Joel have it?" or "Is Joel allowed?" than trying to convince him he's not alone. I don't like feeling alone either, this is why I love knowing which other families I can lean on for support, and how they regulate technology contrary to my children's beliefs.

As parents, we need tools in our toolbox, to draw upon when we feel really challenged. I have found at least one friend in each of my five children's friendship groups who I can refer to and shut the "I'm the only one" excuse down. (They don't all live on a large property either, and definitely aren't cow riding, down hill motorbike sled champions).

If you can't find an actual friend to add to your toolbox, try a character like Max in my latest book Wulla-Kazoo. If you have pre-school or early primary school aged children, picture books are a fantastic way of making an emotional connection between the reader and characters, and lessons will often stay in the memory bank for a lifetime. After a few weeks of it's release, I have already received amazing feedback from little readers, saying they'd "better get back outside to play more", or that they "really missed climbing up things like Max does". Reading and providing material of inspiration really does help children, and the earlier you get in, the more impact you make!

There are plenty of tools you can add to your toolbox!

You can find out more about Melissa and her books - Click Here

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