Too often parents get caught up with guilt, worry and blame.
“Older people like us worry about the future of the country and I’ve just spent weeks with a stack of eight to 13 year olds and I can tell you the country’s in great shape,” she says.
“These kids are kind, caring, astute and I’m having the time of my life,” she says.
The most important thing she wants parents to know is this: “You’re doing a great job”.
Chrissie is speaking about the filming of Channel Ten’s new show, The Great Australian Spelling Bee, which features 52 of Australia’s pre-teen super spellers tackling words like rhinoceros, pseudonym and manoeuvre.
Having seen a preview I agree. These little kids are not only smart but they support each other to a level I haven’t seen before. Rather than be competitive the kids encourage each other and even get upset if they win at the cost of their friend’s advancement in the competition. The whole show is uplifting… and made me a tad insecure considering these kids can rattle off words that send me diving for spellcheck.
As “Backstage Supermum” Chrissie says the whole process has been “life affirming”.
“It’s a brand new format so we had no idea how kids or parents would react,” she says. “We were surprised and impressed with the characters of these kids. It made me realise it’s all happening at school. Aussie parents should be applauded.”
Chrissie studied linguistics at university, and as a self-described spelling nerd surely she gets annoyed when people misspell her name. Chrissy? Chrissi? Krissie? Swann?
“Yeah I do,” she laughs. “And it happens all the time. I never say anything about it. But it’s just like a little a bit of sand in my eye.”
“The other thing is I can’t even deal with kids using text speak like ‘d8’ for ‘date’. If I run out room on a tweet and have to abbreviate I’ll just delete the whole tweet,” she says.