Ask any parent who has raised a child the world adores, what did they do right?
Most come up with one answer: ‘we did what matters most to our children’.
It is the small, motherly and fatherly things that make children feel loved and happy.
You could be anywhere on the planet, rich or poor, young or old, tall or short, scientist or a pianist, homemaker or a career person, irrespective of the demographic – the only thing that matters is love and love alone. Anything done with love means most and is remembered longest, as love breeds respect, self worth/esteem, care and pride.
Most parents these days feel they are not good enough and want to provide their children with every opportunity they themselves did not have. Sometimes it is due to peer pressure and unhealthy materialistic comparisons being drawn. More often than not this involves scouting, running around shuttling children from lessons to lessons, from one practice to another and back to lessons. In an endeavour to provide holistic development, parents include academic, extracurricular, sports and hobby classes in a child’s day. This might bring the parents some comfort of doing what is best for children, but it definitely leaves the child stressed and exhausted. Parents themselves are tired both mentally and physically. Getting involved in so many activities and going about them mechanically means loosing touch with oneself and families. Ask any child at the end of the day, what is one thing they want and the answer is likely to be: ‘being able to play’ and/or ‘no study at all’ or ‘no practice for today please’. Anything, that takes them away from this robot like existence.
As parents are exhausted too… the little gestures of love, support and encouragement take a back seat as the tussle of managing career, children, home and family is too daunting a prospect.
Can something be done? Sure. While we cannot create more time to accommodate everything, there are simple and everyday things we can resort to, to bring back smiles and peace in our lives. Lending a human touch to even the most routine and ordinary can do wonders, allowing children to open, feel loved and cared for.
So here is my list of small things to do for bringing love back. These are research based findings and can go a long way in raising happy children:
- Pause, give children hugs and kisses often, not just on special occasions or to reward them
- Talk to each one of them (if you have more than one) privately, with no one, repeat no one around. Treat it as a private matter between just the two of you. Children have concerns and worries just like anyone else
- Spend quality time with them, doing things that both of you enjoy
- Talk to them about the real stuff, your work, life, their school, family, friends etc.
- Allow them to play outside in the open
- Allow them to make friends of their choice
- Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them, making decisions and taking responsibility for right and wrong, gives them an early start towards an independent and responsible mindset
- Get physical – cuddle, tickle, mock fight, chase, whatever time and space permits
- Talk to them about your childhood, how you were, fond memories etc.
- Find out about their favourite TV shows and watch with them
- Make plans for weekends, holidays, family visits etc. together
- Eat together, easiest way to impart healthy eating habits without preaching
- Discipline when required, it is a way of showing you care, they’ll learn to respect you
- Allow them to watch you pursue your hobby/talent; they learn the importance of work life balance.
- Surprise them with small gifts, special messages in the lunch box, under the pillow, will make them feel special
- Let the pleases and thank yous become an integral part of communication
- Treat everything with utmost respect and love, they’ll always remember it.
Children are really simple and innocent. Their worldview is based on this simplicity. They are like sponges that absorb almost everything. They need to see a world full of love, caring and dignity. Let’s keep their world simple and start doing things, little things that show love and care. We all could try to feel a little less stressed and be less kanjoos in our gestures of love.
Shower love abundantly and watch as the world admires you and your child.
Guest Faculty @ Foundation Academy
Tuition Centre, DLF II