“If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.” – Beatrix Potter
As parents, we all have those thoughts creep in day – after day – after day. Am I making a difference in my child’s life? Do they know how much I care for them? How can I raise them to be kind, confident, and thoughtful as adults?
In our busyness of every day, it is hard to remember to take the time, and give our children the attention they need. We are all working parents. We work in the home – outside the home, trying to keep up with all of our responsibilities. Meal Planning, Bills, Household Chores, Deadlines. They tug on us, sitting at the forefront of our mind. It is vital to the health of our young persons to keep our main responsibility – family – ahead of the rest.
So, how can we make meaningful lasting connections with our children despite our mounting stresses and piling responsibilities? I will tell you – it’s the little things that matter most. It’s the small deliberate everyday acts that will shape them into the person they are meant to be. Here are a few of those little things you can implement in your home today.
Look Them in the Eyes
When speaking to your children, get on their level and look directly into their eyes with a kindhearted gaze. This is one simple way to show you care. Direct Eye Contact during conversation not only stimulates the child intellectually, it also develops a healthy self-esteem, and encourages a calming effect on the heart, lungs, and stress axis. With this one simple act, they will feel safe, confident, and secure.
Although girls benefit from touch, this is especially true for mommas of boys. When you are standing near each other, place your hand on his shoulder, or you arm around him. Lean in close. We are often told that boys don’t need as much physical attention from their mom as girls do, but the opposite is true. You are his first love. When he is young, wrap you arms around him often, and squeeze tight.
Dads – do the same for your girls. If you do not give your daughter the love she needs as a child, when she is a teenager she will seek it elsewhere. Hug her often, especially before you leave for work. Tell her how beautiful she is. Treat her like the princess she is. She deserves your attention, and the love you show her when she is young, will carry on throughout her life.
Hands Off (Electronics)
There is nothing more disappointing to a child than constantly seeing a parent on a device. That can be a game console, cell phone, tablet, television, or computer. When they come to you, excited to show you their latest project, put the phone down immediately. Give them your attention. If not, they begin to feel you don’t have time or energy for them, and in turn grow hostile and distant. When you are sitting with your child at a doctor office, skip the browsing of social media, and talk with her. Get to know her. Read to her. She is an individual thinking person – full of ideas, and loves you with all her heart. Put the phone down. She is first.
Generously Give Praise
Did your son take out the trash? Genuinely thank him for it. Tell him how much that little job benefited you personally. Say, “Son, I am so thankful you did that job for me. It helped me out a lot. I really appreciate you.” Did your three year old
scribble color a picture. Gush over it. Hang it on the fridge. Make a designated area in your home for scribble portraits and secretly rotate them out. Children need praise. They need to know they are worthy, and that they are needed in the home. Include them in household chores. I tell my children that we are part of a team, and it takes all of us – working together – to accomplish our daily tasks. They know they have responsibilities in the home, and I repeatedly praise them for even the simplest jobs. Keep optimism in the home. If you have a good attitude, more often than not, they will too.
Mommas, I know you are tired. I know it can be difficult. I am there. We are given the responsibility to raise something beautiful. Our babies, they are only young for a little while. They are our legacy. Time goes so fast, and I do not want you to waste these precious hours away. The fruits of your hard work will be visible to everyone, especially when your children become adults, and begin to raise a family of their very own. Take the time – be patient – and love them deeply.
“Train up your child in the way he should go: and when he is old; he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
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In All Things, Pray.