Hi, I’m Rachel. I’m a registered occupational therapist, a Mum to three children ages 6, 4, and 2 years and married to a man named Matt. We live in Christchurch, New Zealand.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Merit) in 2010. I was passionate about working in the community with people who were experiencing mental illness, and I worked for two years for a non-government organisation called Pathways.
During that time I completed a Post-Graduate Certificate of Health Science specialising in Mental Health and Addictions. I developed my knowledge of how to support the process of behavioural change and lifestyle.
At the very end of 2012 we had our first child and in 2013 completed some family travel. We relocated from Wellington to Christchurch to live near family, and I felt like my place to be was at home as a Mum.
August 2014 saw the arrival of our second son and I was deep in the years of toddler life with two under two years. Let me tell you, it was full on for sure.
I still wasn’t ready to return to my career as an OT, but I knew I needed to be contributing in a meaningful way to my community. I chose to volunteer as a committee member at my Toy Library and thus began my obsession with learning more about toys and early child development.
We then joined our local Playcentre and the rest is history. I found my place as a Mum and fell deep down the rabbit warren of learning about play, child development, the value of nature play and community.
December 2016 our wee girl arrived and I continued to be involved with playcentre and the toy library. At the time of writing this I no longer volunteer for toy library but it still holds a dear place in my heart for it’s sustainability value and provision to help young families.
Throughout my journey of parenting I became more passionate about cutting back my kids’ screen time. The effects I saw on my children’s play and relationships were incredible; more imaginative, better social relationships.
I wasn’t easy though, and I grew to realise that other parents were struggling with this too.
Occupational Therapists are trained in the art of play. We are trained to analyse the environment and figure out what’s not working in order to help break habits and create long lasting change. We are trained to support and coach people through change.
I couldn’t help but think I wanted to help more parents through this process.
Excessive screen time for preschoolers is rampant in our society. We all know that. Yet who is helping with the practical aspects of actually supporting parents to cut it back? Who is teaching them about play and coaching them to turn the TV off for their kids? Who is being their cheerleader in this process?
My hope is that my programme will help to fill that gap. It’s not about shaming parents or making them feeling guilty. It’s about moving on as a community TOGETHER and supporting one another in the journey.
If you’re feeling stuck with your kids screen time (like I was two years ago!), and think that the course is something that you think might benefit your family, you can find out more and sign up here.
Much aroha, Rach.