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For her 80th birthday present I took my grandma along to see the Mary Poppins musical last night. I could gush on with a string of superlatives about how great it was but I’ll save my words and just tell you that it was brilliant. My seven year-old self could not have conjured to bring the Disney classic to life with any more colour and energy. The sets, the costuming, the singing and dancing: all spectacular.

As I sat there clapping along to a breath-gasping rendition of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious I started to consider Mary Poppins’ character from a different point of view. From that of a parent. And I was reminded that while I may never be able to descend from the clouds carrying a bird-head umbrella, I can try to parent with a little Mary Poppins magic.

Besides being kind of annoyingly perfect Mary is a pin-up girl for positive parenting. She strikes that middle ground between authoritarian and push-over. Firm but fair with a good dose of compassion. I  love that she makes the everyday fun. Jumping into chalk paintings and making statues spring to life may be beyond most of our parenting capabilities but we can still show our children the joy in the smallest of things and the fun to be had in the most mundane of tasks. Mary also knows that teaching children life’s lessons is important but so is giving them the independence to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. Finally, Mary encourages the children to think big and aim high. It’s cliched, yes, but we all want our children to believe in themselves. As Mary says: “Stretch your mind beyond fanastic, dreams are made of strong elastic”.

What do you think, is there anything to learn from Mary Poppins parenting style?

(Image from here)

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