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|Photography: Loren Stow
In our last post we discussed the importance of consciously developing your child’s self-esteem (if you missed it, go here) and in light of the rather ‘heavy’ responsibility it can be to do this, we wanted to share some quick and easy ideas on how you can instantly make your child feel as though they are the most important person in your world.
1. When your child enters a room, look genuinely happy to see him.
We’re repeating this point again (we mentioned in our last post) for very good reason – because it works! Make sure your eyes light up and you give your child a warm and welcoming smile… they will feel as though they really make your day!
In the same vein, when you see your child for the first time after a long separation (after school or a day at work), take five minutes to be with them immediately – Forget about putting the groceries in the fridge or your bag in your room, just drop everything and engage with them for five minutes.
2. Touch your child for an uninterrupted period of five minutes every day.
When she is relaxed, let her lie with her head on your lap. Play with her hair, use your fingers to ‘draw pictures’ on her back, rub her hands, massage her feet… Use deep pressure touch, squeezing and releasing her arms from her shoulders to her wrists, moving slowly and rhythmically. Do the same with her legs from her hips to her ankles.
Touch is the single most effective way to communicate love to a young child – we call this ‘touch therapy’ for obvious reasons, and if you missed our post of the benefits of deep pressure touch, go here.
3. Say no negative word about your child to any person when you are within earshot of your child.
Even toddlers, who can not understand every word said, can sense when a parent is talking about them and whether the tone is positive or negative. So, when your friend asks how your son is adapting to your new baby, simply smile and wink at your friend, saying “Oh yes! That! Remind me at some other time to bring up that very interesting topic!” – then change the subject.
4. Often whisper something in your child’s ear as if you’re sharing a little secret with them.
It doesn’t have to be a real secret, but simply whispering to your child makes her feel like the two of you share something important. For example, you could say, “Guess what? When we get home we’re going to play in the garden!”, or “Guess what? After our game, we’re going to go and make something to drink!” Your little one will be thrilled to be ‘in’ on something exciting…
5. Treat everyone with respect, including your child.
When your child interrupts a conversation, calmly ask the other person to give you a second and go down to your child’s level. Firmly but lovingly tell him, “Mommy is phone with daddy (or whoever) right now. I’ll hold your hand until I’m ready to let you speak. Then we can talk.”
Hold your child’s hand while continuing the conversation for about 20 seconds, then excuse yourself for a minute or so to listen to your child before resuming the conversation again.
6. Draw the picture and then colour it in.
In other words, provide structure by sticking to a routine and disciplining your child, but also allow her to inspire you to live in the moment as only a child can (if you missed our post on living in the moment, go here).
It’s better to opt for doing less in full colour, than doing more in black and white. If you live your life at a comfortable pace, you will find it easier to say, “I love you THIS much! I am so glad that you were born and that you’re part of my life.”
Words: Loren Stow
when we know better… we do better
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*Practica Parents: The Practica Programme offers thousands of age-appropriate activities which practically means that a child who has grown up with this programme has had thousands of opportunities to achieve success – what a great way to build self-confidence in a child.
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