12 February 2017
Happy Valentine’s Day! In our busy lives, between getting your child to their activities on time and making sure they have everything they need (not to mention feeding them! :)), it can be hard sometimes to focus on nurturing their hearts. How a parent expresses their love and caring lays the tracks for how their child will interact with others and, eventually, how they will parent their own children. Here are some thoughts to consider:
Each child is an individual. Try not to compare your child with another child. It’s like comparing snowflakes! Therefore, each child needs different things from you as a parent. One child may be very independent and the other may need a great deal of reassurance. Try to determine what your child needs for their emotional development (extra reassurance or a chance to be independent), accept that is what they need, and try to offer it to them. Fretting that they are not the way you would like them to be is a waste of time and can be frustrating. Accept your child for who they are and embrace their individuality. You will both be much happier if you do.
Notice and appreciate their special qualities. You are your child’s biggest fan and who they look to for as to how to feel about themselves. By creating opportunities for children to explore different objects, activities, and people and nurturing those interests, you can play a big role in helping children to be successful and feel good about themselves. Notice the little things that make them special, let them know that you think they are funny, sweet, creative. They will not only appreciate your words, but it will make them feel wonderful!
Have some one-on-one time with your child each week. Even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store or a short walk, it’s precious time that you can use to catch up with your kiddo and it will make them feel great!
Focus your attention on your child when you are talking to them or they are talking to you. If your child wants to interact at a time when you cannot be fully attentive, let them know to wait a minute because you really want to listen to what they say. Children usually know when adults are only half-listening and can feel frustrated, unheard, and at times even unloved when this happens. Listening to children with your full attention helps strengthen their sense of importance and gives the message that you really want to hear what they are thinking and feeling. Get eye-to-eye with them and really focus on what they have to say.
Be careful of the words you say to your children. When you are frustrated with your child, you are not at your best, none of us are. Positive words go a long way with children, but negative words become ingrained in their feelings about themselves. You should never call your children names, say they are a pain in the neck, or degrade them in any way in front of them, in front of others, or even when they are in earshot. These words may have been spoken to you when you were younger. How did that make you feel? You have your child’s emotional well-being in your hands. You are there to be their cheerleader and coach. If you are frustrated, say nothing and count to ten. You are the adult and your child will imitate what you do with their own child so leave a positive and nurturing legacy for your family by using words of kindness, love, and praise.
Nurturing children, building a loving and caring relationship is not always easy. With patience and love, you can do it!
Thank you so much for your great feedback each week! Please let me know if you have any other thoughts, ideas or questions.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your child!