With three children under the age of five, our pre-bed routine is busy to say the least. It always seems like a mad and noisy dash to get everyone washed, dressed and cuddled. To me it feels like I’m living the same circus routine every night!
So that night when I stubbed my toe and went down (and I really stubbed my toe), I fully expected no one to notice. Much to my surprise, that was not the case! Within seconds my three little ones were at my side comforting me with, “it’s OK mommy!” and “don’t be hurt mommy!” and together they started to sing me a song.
Time just stopped as I looked at these three beautiful, smiling faces singing to me. At that moment I saw my children in an awesome way: gone was the stress from the day, the thoughts of things that didn’t go quite as planned, the spilled cups of milk and silly sibling squabbles. All of those thoughts were erased by this amazing moment where I witnessed my children’s compassion, love and sensitivity for others.
As a parent, I was so proud of how my children responded to my need for comfort, and at the same time I felt a little sad that had I let things get in the way of seeing this awesomeness more often. Parents put so much effort and energy into helping their children build assets and strengths – but I think that sometimes we miss out on seeing these assets and appreciating our children day-to-day.
For me, stubbing my toe turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to slow down and witness my children in a beautiful way. I was reminded that connecting and being present in a moment, whether good or crazy, is so important. Perfect parents and perfect children don’t exist (at least not in my house). But perfect moments with your children can happen often when you are open to seeing them. So take some time (hopefully when you are not injured!) to appreciate and connect with your children. Celebrate their strengths and the joy they bring to your world.
Here are few ways you can connect with your children and show them just how much you appreciate them:
- Slow down and be in the moment. Don’t rush from task to task.
- Start a conversation and talk about anything and everything – you will be surprised what you can learn about each other.
- Work together and set goals to complete jobs around your home, finish a project or plan activities. And then celebrate your success.
- Compliment your children and let them know the value of their input to your family.
- Plan special time together.
- Laugh together – a lot.
We would love to hear about how you connect and show appreciation for your children.
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.