Ah…the million dollar question!
This post is my experience only….every child and every parent is different.
Oh, I’m not an expert….my children have given me a run for my money at times, but I’ve come across a few tips that have helped in our home.
IT STARTS WITH ME, THE PARENT
That would have to be my first tip! My children reflect ME! They are like my mirror. When they are a bit antsy, I look at what I am doing, eating and saying.
FOOD would have to be the big one here. I’m not good with chocolate. Result: irritable and anxious. Enter, irritable, tattle-telling children!
EMOTIONS would be the second. When I’m having an emotional experience, they feel that energy and translate it in their way, usually squabbling with each other.
THEY ARE WHAT THEY EAT
If I had a camera every time my children had a McDonalds meal in the early times of our weekly McDonalds outings, you’d cringe at the result of the meal about 20 minutes after! It is the most surreal thing, seeing a child go from calm and peaceful, to being a ‘cartoon character.’
Granted, people eat takeout daily and their bodies have adjusted to the food, but for us, the result happens almost immediately.
This winter, touch wood, we have not been burdened with ill health. I have a 2yr old that walks around naked (with high heels and bag in hand) in 10degree cold and a 6yr old that doesn’t wear a top to bed.
I don’t believe the ‘season’ brings on ill health, but the immune system. So what do we eat:
Orange Juice with Kale/Spinach Ice cubes
Juice with Crushed Volcanic Ash (don’t ask….LOL!)
Juice with a dash of Cod Liver Oil
Brown Rice with Sultanas and yoghurt (our favourite)
Fruit, just grab and go
Salad with roast veges
WE DON’T DO FULL OUT RAW IN WINTER! I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING!
WE REALLY ARE WHAT WE EAT! It’s the fastest, easiest way to produce good-natured kids!
This is a big one! When I am not present for my children, they act up. I’m not advocating giving them all the attention in the world. That would actually be detrimental to their development. I’m advocating active listening, eye contact, responding as opposed to reacting. When 2yr old says “Mum, listen to me”, I know I am not being present.
Positive Attention breeds POSITIVE BEHAVIOR whilst Negative Attention breeds NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR!
What does this look like?
Whilst I was preparing to go to the market on Saturday to work with my children (at 4.30am), 2yr old wakes up and cries, wanting me to stay home. I’m running late and hubby is there to soothe her, but I’m stopped to TEST out this POSITIVE ATTENTION theory. I lay by her and chat about her fears regarding me leaving. She just wants to be by me. I explain what I am doing, something she is aware of every Saturday, but she still insists she wants to come with me. I’m honest. I tell her she is unable to come (I don’t say CAN’T because I have the ability to take her with me, I just won’t) and that I will return. Her emotions improve 90% and she settles.
Told her I had to go and that she’ll be fine with Daddy! Result: Leaving a crying child with an equally irritable husband.
It took all of 2 minutes, she calmed down, I felt good and hubby continued in his slumber!
KIDS CRAVE ATTENTION! And if we are not giving them POSITIVE ATTENTION, they’ll crave WHATEVER ATTENTION you’ve got! But, they will GIVE what they RECEIVE, I believe.
This relates to the above tips as well. I truly believe our children are GOOD. It took me a while, but now when people comment on their behavior, I have no qualms in telling them “yes, I have good children”.
THEY NEED TO HEAR THAT THEY ARE GOOD and I believe, they live up to what you expect them to be!
I also, don’t run them down to others in front of them. We think that as babies, they won’t take on the words “oh, she’s a difficult baby and doesn’t sleep at night”. Let me assure you….they do feel that energy and the WORDS, be it good or bad, have an effect on our children.
Oh, and not to mention:
- Play in the rain
- Throw mud
- Lie under a tree in the sun
- Play board games
- Play dress ups
- Allow them to be themselves
- Be HAPPY!