you can do today
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu
1. Connect with yourself, put your hand on your heart, and acknowledge what an amazing job you do. Reflect on what you’ve achieved today already including the small things like putting on a wash, smiling at your child to make a connection, making food and truly appreciate yourself, it does makes a difference!
2. Spend a few minutes sitting and watching your child while they’re engaged in an activity. There’s something about just stopping, watching and giving our full attention to our child that brings us back in tune with their world, that brings us back to the heart connection with them. And at the same time you’re helping to fill up their love tank.
3. At a moment when your child is stressed, grumpy or frustrated, ask yourself “what might my child be feeling?” and “what might they need?”Attune to your child’s feelings and needs beneath their behaviour.
4. Show that you’re really listening. When your child shares their thoughts and feelings, at least once today reflect back to them what you’ve heard, both the thoughts and the feelings. E.g. “Ah so you were playing with your lego and your sister knocked into you and your little boat’s now broken, how frustrating, I can see you’re really sad and annoyed at your sister.”
5. Nature helps us relax and slow down and generally come back to feeling more balanced. Spend at least a little bit of time outside today, look to the horizon, up at the sky, to feel the breeze or the rays of the sun, maybe sit and have a cup of tea with your bare feet on the grass.
6. Make the connection before making the request. “Wow, tell me about this tower you are building.” (Really listen to them) “I know it’s hard to stop building. Sweetheart, it’s time to hop in the bath now.” Instead of inserting a threat into a request (e.g. if you don’t do what I say I’m going to get annoyed with you, or I won't take you to the park today), it’s much more effective and kind to take a few moments to slow down and connect with your child, give them time to respond to their name and wait until you have their attention before making your request. Then ask them to tell you what you've just heard.
7. Help your child develop their feelings vocabulary. If your child reacts with sadness or upset to a request that you give today, put words to what you notice and what you imagine they might be feeling. For example; "I see the way you dropped your head and slumped your shoulders when I asked you to wash your teeth and I wonder if you’re feeling frustrated that you have to stop your play? "
8. Identify one need you have of another person and express it using an I statement that includes how you feel . “I feel really overwhelmed with the amount of cleaning up there is to do. Would you be willing to put on a load of washing ?" Consider asking in a way that gives the other insight into how you’re feeling and invites open communication. Read this post for an example of what this can look like.
9. Be playful, silly or goofy at least once today. When we indulge in being playful, we enter our child’s world, we gain relief and give our child relief from our seriousness. A child’s world lights up when their parent enters their world of play and it helps us parents shake off some of our stress.
10. Acknowledge and be kind with yourself about your limitations. We all deserve to be unconditionally loving towards ourselves and we get to develop this self-love and kindness especially when we can soften towards ourselves in relation to our limitations. When it’s hardest to be kind and loving towards our child is usually when we most need to be kind towards ourselves. Children and adults alike need love when feeling low or angry.