Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.
If your child were able to express his desires and needs from the moment he arrives, I believe that he would offer reassuring and inspiring words of affirmation to you. I think he would want you to know that aside from his basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing that there is nothing he wants more than simply being with you.
As parents, we are the ones who operate under the false assumption that our children need and must have more. They must have the best strollers, the designer wardrobes, mechanical toys that cost too much, the best decorated nurseries … the list goes on and on. Society has come to equate love with the amount of money spent. There is certainly nothing wrong with raising your child in a world of beautiful things if you can afford it. However, if providing this environment for her robs you of time with her, she wants you to know that she prefers you over things.
Here are five resolutions that I believe children wish their parents would make for 2013:
1. Take time each day to be alone and fully present with your child – no cell phone for texting/talking, no computer for social media, and no television for the latest news. Time spent with you without distractions means everything to him, and even an infant can feel it when you are not connected to him. Remember: “Joy lives in the present moment.”
2. Develop routines. A predictable routine is healthier for your child, and she is more secure when she knows what is going to happen next. Even if you are in a time of transition, resolve to keep her same bath time, bedtime and nap time.
3. Resolve to use a gentle voice with your child AND other members of your family. Loud, harsh, and hateful words are hurtful to a child’s spirit. While your family tradition may be to yell at and be abrasive to each other, every newborn would tell you that he prefers a gentle tone if he could speak. If you must argue with someone, do it outside the presence of your child.
4. It is okay to fall short and start over. Your child wants you to know that she forgives you, and she doesn’t want you to pull away or to feel that you have failed her. If your baby could talk, she would stroke your face and tell you that she still loves you and wants you to try again. If you yell when you said you would not, just forgive yourself and start over. Don’t let guilt or a fear of failure keep you from bonding with your child. If you do not know how to handle a situation, ask for help … but don’t stop trying. Your child wants YOU and would want you to resolve to never give up.
5. Take good care of you. Children want parents who are happy and healthy, so find a place of peace and contentment. It is very difficult to be a loving, caring parent if you are a bitter, angry person. It is also tough to be a great parent if you are always tired, overworked, and too busy. Figure out how to put yourself at the top of your priority list and set some healthy boundaries. You are the only mother or father that you child wants.