The lovely Nikki from Earthway Parenting is with us today to discuss ways you can ‘parenting with connection’. My favourite part is this.. “So, for myself, on those days that my babies are really pushing my buttons, I remind myself that these are fleeting moments in time. As difficult as it can be I ALWAYS make an opportunity to connect with my girls. I know that one day there will come a time when they won’t need me or be so dependent…” – be sure to check out the rest below…
Parenting with Connection:
‘So often children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days , disrespectful tones or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection then we can attain ourselves.’ Rebecca Eanes
This right here is SO poignant for me! It’s the beginnings of School Holidays for us and our eldest two are SO exhausted! Our littlest love is getting over a virus she’s had for the past week and I’ve just finished my ‘Post Partum Care Workshop’ in Alstonville which was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and I’m ABSOLUTELY soooo THANKFUL.
But I’m tired!
A tired mama and baba, overexcited and overtired children, this could mean we are in for a few days of screaming matches and a battle of wills. For me though, I am going to choose to connect.
‘The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents’ Author Unknown.
Choosing loving responsive interactions are essential for connection and building trust.
“Connection Parenting is simply knowing that your relationship with your child is not only the most important part of parenting, it’s what makes it possible to parent effectively. Kids only cooperate because of who we are to them. Without a great relationship, it’s very hard to parent. A close bond not only makes our kids want to please us, it gives us access to our natural parenting know-how.”http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/connection Dr. Laura Markham trained as a Clinical Psychologist, earning her PhD from Columbia University.
Image credit (above) – Hadas Images
But theres so much to do!
I know as an adult we all have far too much to do, there’s laundry to be done, lunches to be made, dishes that continue to pile up, cleaning, tidying, mowing the lawn, work either in or outside the home, you may have financial burden, health issues, marital or partner conflict or further connection with your partner may be needed, let’s not forget self-care (what the hell is THAT you ask!?) playing with your little one is the very LAST thing you feel like doing let alone have actual ‘time’ for!
Connection for me with our three little ones during school holidays is to enjoy ten minutes with my cup of coffee and book whilst the girls are either having breakfast, playing or watching tv (and NOT feeling guilty about it!) Then I’ll do the dishes, put laundry on, make the beds etc. I’ll then put our 20 month old to sleep.
From that time onwards, it’s time with my eldest two daughters. I am able to connect and be present with them because I have gotten essential household stuff out of the way!
So we’ll colour in or play a game together, bake or read some books. Currently I have a couple of projects for Earthway Parenting, so I can make them up some morning tea and get a little work done myself!
The afternoon is ours once our 20mo is awake and we will choose to either stay home (dependant on the weather!) and watch an afternoon flick or we will go to the park or the beach and enjoy the warm sunshine, fresh air and healing properties of mama nature! We play, make sand castles or go for a walk along the beach and collect shells, rocks and sticks.
“Play is your child’s language it is their best way to learn, an opportunity for you to also connect wholeheartedly. Children sort through the complexity of life & make sense of the world through play based activities & role playing. Sometimes the world can be scary & they need to feel secure & connected, play does that for them. It also creates communication & establishes an essential, healthy parent/child relationship. We as parents are guides through this incredible journey called childhood, lets experience as much as we can with them, they too can teach us some valuable life lessons through play if we are open to listen & connect. (**Excerpt from my ‘Tuning into your Toddler ebook, Coming Soon!)
What you do to promote connection, even the very small things, matters.
Developing a close connection with your child doesn’t just encourage the child to develop skills but actually programs the brain to use what it learns well. Siegel, in his research, tells us, “Experience shapes brain structure. How we treat our children changes who they are and how they develop. Their brains need parental involvement. Nature needs nurture.” (Siegel, 2004; p. 34)
We cannot reasonably expect to receive ‘good’ behaviour from our children unless we create ‘good’ feelings in them
Enjoy every opportunity
So, for myself, on those days that my babies are really pushing my buttons, I remind myself that these are fleeting moments in time. As difficult as it can be I ALWAYS make an opportunity to connect with my girls. I know that one day there will come a time when they won’t need me or be so dependent… So, until that day comes I’m going to hold them when they want to, play games with them, climb, swim, build sandcastles, and read books to them, I am going to grab every opportunity even the small ones, to connect with them, so that they know, no matter how big or how small ‘things’ are for them throughout their lives, that there will be NO moment that is insignificant NO moment that they can’t talk to me or connect with me about. For me that is what matters most about my connection with my children.
What is connection for you in your family?
Image credit (above) – Grace Mac Photography
Earthway Parenting provides a safe place for parents to share and honour each others journey’s. It is a space to come together and embrace the winds of change, to nourish each other’s soul with education as well as impart wisdom. It is about discovering and enabling conscious and intuitive parenting.
Nikki writes for us every month so be sure to keep your eye out for future posts. Previous articles include:
How to set positive boundaries for your children – view here
Gentle approach to sleep and settling your baby – view here
Infant care and connecting with your little one – view here
eBooks & workshops
Nikki has 2 eBooks available. You can download the Conscious Parenting eBook here ($5.90).
Or her Infant Connection eBook here ($14.95)
She also has Infant Care & Connection Workshops – see here. $240 – there’s loads of incredibly valuable information covered in these workshops including babywearing, wrapping and gentle sleep and settling.
Image credit (top image) – Tara Samuelson