Take a moment and close your eyes. Place yourself back in your bed. You’re 5 years old. You can hear Dad and Mum puttering around downstairs. Perhaps the TV is humming in the background, or some music is floating on the night breezes. All is good in the world.
If you were blessed enough to enjoy an upbringing that allows you to feel that feeling of complete trust, that innocence of childhood, than be very thankful to your parents. If you did not have such a childhood, there is no reason why you cannot provide this environment for your children today! Whether you are single, married, a mom, dad, grandparent – if you are raising a child you can, and ought to be, their safe place.
Spend Time Together
Nothing creates the bond of trust and love like spending time together. Â When you child spontaneously kisses you when you are on the phone,
bend down, look them in the eye and give them a big smile! Â Don’t brush these moments aside, they are what forms the foundation for security in their life. Â Nothing shows a child’s view on their environment than how they show their emotions. Â If they stifle them, there is a reason. Â If they share them, it is because it is safe to do so.
Put Your Child to Bed
A bedtime routine can do a lot to bring stability to a child’s life. Â Even in a family like mine where we travel a lot, there is always that moment of the day when we put our child to bed. Â Papa will change her if he is around. Â I will spend time with her, nursing and singing. Â Prayers are said, and one happy toddler is tucked into bed. Â Not only does participating in her bed-time routine keep her focused on the task at hand, but it also shows her that we are here, with her, even when she is going to sleep. Â No, we don’tÂ stay in the room until her eyes close, but we make sure she is comfortable first.
We also make it a point to stay within earshot. Â Not just so we can hear her, but so that she can hear us. Â We’ve noticed that if we have a quiet night, where perhaps we are just reading or working on the computer, she has a much harder time falling asleep. Â Similarly, I can remember my mum playing the piano when we went to sleep. Â I used to love having my room directly above the piano on the floor below.
We all have bad days, but as much as possible, when your child greets you, you ha
ve an obligation to show them how happy you are they are around. Â This is vital to letting your child know they are not a nuisance. Â It shows them how much you love them. Â It is so easy in this day and age to say, “just a minute”. Â Then a minute becomes an hour, becomes a lifetime of putting them off. Â Let them know they are one of the most important parts of your life!
Encourage Your Child
Don’t just spend time trying to make your child into the star you want them to be. Â Take the time to find out who your child is. Â They are an
individual in their own right. Â Help them discover their own passions, and encourage them to excel in them to the best of their abilities. Â Respect the fact that they are not you. Â You may be a social butterfly, they may like nothing better than to curl up with a good book. Â If you are spending time with your child, and participating in their life, you will have no troubles knowing what they are thrilled by.
There will be moments when your child is bound to embarrass or disappoint you. Â Don’t forget, you did it to your parents before too! Â Creating an environment of calm will go a long way to having your child openly share their mistakes with you. Â This is not the same thing as being permissive. Â You might not condone an action, but you can dole out the consequence in a manner that shows that you are the emotionally mature adult. Â They will learn from your example better than from anything else you may say.
Do more than exist in the moment at hand. Â Embrace it! Â Your child is watching you and trusts your reactions. Â Let them see you as their safe place in this world. Â The place they will run to in any storm. Â The place they’d rather be than anywhere else in this world!
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