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Strengthening our emotional wellbeing and resilience

Madhavi Nawana Parker, Behaviour Consultant

One statement you can offer children to feel loved, liked and wanted (while strengthening their emotional wellbeing and resilience): 

When said with authenticity and feeling, these words reassure children's sense of connection and belonging.

While parents typically spend much of their time with their children outside school and work hours, finding quality one on one time if you have more than one child can be a challenge. Micro moments of connection and undivided attention with each child can have huge psychological gains. Paired with words like, 'I love being with you,' further nourishes children's emotional wellbeing.

So, what's the ideal quality time period according to researchers per child - per day (uninterrupted without siblings or distractions)? Ten minutes...

Sustaining 10 minutes uninterrupted time every day for each child if you have more than one child is often just not practical for most. It's probably not worth the unnecessary pressure to reach the magic ten every day either - parents get enough pressure with all the other magic numbers they're meant to be reaching! The associated stress and guilt can ultimately be counter productive to a family's wellbeing.

Grab what you can each day, when you can. A couple of minutes of loving, undivided attention here and there across the day will quickly add up to ten - and usually much more. It's the sincere and focused attention and love that is most important. What you will often find too is once you consciously commit to a minute - another 9 will swiftly follow! If it doesn't get interrupted by siblings and other things - bonus - if it does, don't sweat.

The more children get moments like these and hear statements like, 'I love being with you,' the more loved and connected they feel. The more loved and connected they feel, the better their wellbeing, resilience, behaviour and overall performance.

Similar statements like, 'I love you,'... 'I'm glad you're in my life,'...'you're a joy to be around,'...'I love listening to your ideas,'... 'I like how you think'...'you bring me so much joy' and 'our family is complete because you're in it'...are daily treats worth more to your child than any gift you could ever surprise them with.

Here are some ways to catch quality time with each child in your busy day:

  • Bring it to the family meeting or if you don't have these, raise it at a time when you're all together and chatting. Discuss how you'd like to spend time with each child in the family alone every day without being interrupted. Ask your children if they like the idea and allow them to brainstorm ways this could fit in with your family's lifestyle. Involving them in decisions like this encourages their collaboration and increases the likelihood the plan will stay viable.
  • Take your child for a short 5-10 minute walk around your neighbourhood while siblings stay home with another adult. If you don't have another adult to help, talk to the children about how a walk can be a chance for each child to get a turn to receive all the 'air time' while the others act in the shadows. When children know they'll all get a turn to be the centre of your attention one night a week on a walk like this, they can be great problem solvers and support endeavours like this. 
  • Another way to make it special for one sibling is to get them to walk with you while the others ride or scoot - that usually buys some physical distance to feel like you're alone!
  • Google a topic together that your child is really interested in - even if that topic is mind numbing for you!
  • Cuddle in bed and share your gratitude for the day. 
  • Prepare their favourite meal together once a week/ month. 
  • Draw together.
  • Read stories or tell them stories about their babyhood and childhood. 
  • Set the alarm to wake up 5-10 minutes early once a week for each child to hang out before everyone else wakes up. 
  • Give each child a 5-10 minute 'up late' pass once a week where they stay up after their siblings have gone to bed to catch some one on one time.
  • Each month take one child out for a meal / picnic without their siblings and spend a good hour savouring the food and each other. Again, not always practical and you might only manage it once every 6 months - but they'll never forget the bliss of you all to themselves! 
  • Star gaze on a rug before bed. Lay as many rugs out as you have children and 'rug hop' until each of them have had a special cuddle and star gaze with you.

We all know the importance of quality time for nourishing relationships. When time isn't in abundance, words like , 'I love being with you' can make anyone's heart dance enough to handle the busy day with greater energy and resilience.

There's something very special about knowing that someone just loves being with you.

Madhavi Nawana Parker
Behaviour Consultant

11 April 2017  |  0 Comments  |  Tags:


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