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.
There seems to be a lot of lamenting these days, that our children's childhood looks nothing like our own.
Why is it that our response is so different when a friend knocks over their glass of wine in a restaurant, versus when our child spills their drink?
Parenting is an amazing privilege and there are so many wondrous moments along the way. There will be times of absolute joy, deep pride, utter contentment and just plain old happy. Then there are other times.
Parenting with the heart in mind is about kindness, and treating our children as people. It means putting ourselves in our child's shoes by remembering what it felt like to walk through our own childhood. Getting in touch with those emotions and needs helps us to respond in loving ways.