I loved this article on BBC Online today about whether we should be taking parenting advice from films. I’m not going to expand on the article, but what I will say is that Mary Poppins has definitely worked her magic in my house.
My children absolutely love it, for a start. If they’re ill, it’s the one film (along with The Sound Of Music) they always want to watch, cwtched up on the sofa under their blankets.
One of their favourite scenes is when Mary Poppins uses her magic to tidy up the nursery to the soundtrack of A Spoonful of Medicine.
My children are not always very good at tidying up. They quite happily take out toy after toy after toy, ignoring my pleas to put away one thing before getting out the next. And then, one day, I had a genius idea. “Right,” I told them. “Let’s play Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins. I’m going to start playing the song on my phone (good old YouTube) and you have to put everything away before the end of the song. If you do it in time, you can watch the song.”
It worked! I had never seen two children tidy away their toys so quickly. As Mary Poppins herself sings, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” Like I said, genius, even if I do say so myself!