As teachers we are often asked by our wonderful parents what they can do to help their children develop and learn, or 'prepare for school'. Our advice? The very best thing you can do for your children is offer them love and offer them life.
As teachers parents have asked us ‘why heart centred, aren’t all centres heart centred?’
It can be hard to put into words exactly what ‘heart centred’ can offer a child, but when we see each and every ‘graduating’ child we know that this is what we’d love to show these querying parents.
If there is one word to guide us on our heart centred parenting journey, it is WITH.
This one short word conveys a powerful message about the fact that parenting is relationship based. We exist as parents because of our children and we take this journey together.
Parenting is not easy, but nor does it have to be as hard as we often make it.
Many of the things we end up struggling with are not the result of our experiences or our child's behaviour. It is our thoughts and perceptions that create the real tension. Our mindset sets the tone.
Our children love to hear “yes”, and the truth is it can be just as enjoyable for us to say it. There are so many times in a day we say no (whether aloud or not), but if we paused before responding, maybe we'd say yes more often.
Structure. It is a word that gets bounced around a bit and we rather avoid. It holds slightly negative connotations and is easily misinterpreted to imply something too strict, too regimented.
If we change the word 'structured' to 'organised' we get a clearer picture.
Children like a sense of order in the physical setting. This physical order is the key to how they can choose and carry out their own individual activities in a peaceful atmosphere.
Much of the parenting advice around is specific ‘how to’s’ - three step behaviour methods, a ‘script’ for certain situations, stickers, time out stools and other gimmicks. This puts us in the realm of doing parenting.
So often we get caught up in the idea that we need to ‘go big’ in our time spent with our children. We book tickets, cram outings with as many stops as possible, and still wonder if we are doing ‘enough’.
Our children have their own timetable for development. If we trust their inbuilt timing, we can resist the urge to ‘teach’, intervene, coax and prompt. We can instead put our energies into observing, noticing, appreciating and celebrating. Our focus moves to looking at what our child CAN do instead of what they can’t (yet).
Our children want to share with us. They want to invite us into their world, to have us hop aboard the train of their latest interest. Many of their passions will be things we ourselves have no interest in.