One of the most important parts of parenting is to provide the setting, the pace and the safety a child can rest in, knowing that the big people in their lives are taking care of the big things. Things like leading the family, making the rules, pacing the busyness, setting the priorities and creating a warm and fun atmosphere.
- Calling out the gold in your children
- The power of self-control
- One of the most profound ways we can show our children we care
When children are relaxed, comfortable and settled, they’re more responsive to us. They know that they’re loved and they know it’s not going to depend on their good or not-so-good behaviour. Here are some ways that we can keep our children feeling safe, settled and secure.
Own the job of parenting
Parents, we own the job of parenting. Sometimes it’s easy to step to one side when we find ourselves face-to-face with a tricky child or life’s inevitable challenges. Children need to be reassured that we’re taking care of the business of parenting and that they are not too much to handle.
Hold your parenting position, even under threat, so that your child is reassured of your presence and commitment to them. That might mean sounding more confident and calm than you really feel for a little bit.
Be there for their big feelings
Children have big feelings and they need someone else to understand that life is full of tricky stuff. So when a child feels sad, disappointed, anxious, surprised or angry, they know that the big people will hold them closely in their struggles and show them compassion and care.
For the child, it will often mean that the situation doesn’t change, but they can count on being understood. “Bella, I’m sorry that we’re not going to have a sleepover. This is hard for you and I know you’re so disappointed.”
Set up routines
Include regular and predictable patterns each and every day that your child can anticipate and count on. Things like regular meals at the table, daily story times, songs that are sung and a little chore children are responsible for, like making their bed or taking their plate to the sink. Sleep is another little routine that follows a pleasant pathway.
Be kind to whoever you’re parenting with
It helps children feel settled when whoever is responsible for parenting them are respectful and kind to one another. When they work as a team and can find enough common ground for the children to feel relaxed, then there’s no need for a child to win a parent over, keep secrets or form alliances.
Keep things playful
Thread playfulness throughout your day together. Remind your kids that you enjoy them and show them ways of doing things that are funny and a little ridiculous – it could be as simple as their toothbrush talking to them when it’s teeth-cleaning time.
This is time outside in nature or the garden and completely free from screens. It looks like walks, biking, gardening, and using imaginations to create. It can also look like resting on the bed with a pile of books, playing an unstructured game, helping with cooking, making huts out of sheets and lying on a rug outside watching the clouds.
Keep yourself cared for
Find time on your own and with your partner for rest and refreshment. We all need breaks from the everyday pressures and commitments of life and taking care of our exercise, eating well, play and mental health is a big part of that.
Build your team
Give your children the chance to be part of a team – your family team! Let them contribute with ideas, opinions and practical help – chipping in like this and with things like chores give kids the chance to develop skills and responsibility. When we inspire our children and use the team approach to work and play, they are gifted a sense of their value as an individual and as part of a collective. Phrases like, “In our family, we all pitch in to help with the clean up” are great for this.
Childhood doesn’t last that long. Giving our kids this mixture of warmth and structure helps them know they’re fully loved by the people most important to them. And the best part? These are the same things that will build confidence and resilience in them.
Book a session with a Family Coach
Sometimes family life is way more challenging than we had ever imagined. We would like it to be a lot more enjoyable, if only we knew how. Family Coaching is designed to meet you where you are at, whatever stage you are at on your parenting and relationship journey. We want to be on the journey with you. To find out more and to book a session, click here.