This is not a typical post listing ideas for items to give for Christmas. I’ve done those. You can see those HERE , HERE and HERE
Today I am writing about so many other things that are the basic things that
young all children need. I don’t want to preach, but truly the things listed below are so much more important than any gift you can give. Your child will remember these more too. Your child will thrive and blossom when surrounded with the blessings of these items.
CHILDREN NEED A LOT OF . . .
I know, if you are a stay-at-home mom you are thinking, “I’m with my child all day, every day.” I mean a little more than just being with them.
I’m talking about playing (hide-n-seek, board games, rolling and tickling, playing catch, being the ‘sister’ for your ‘mommy’ child, ordering from your ‘waitress’ child, . . .)
I’m talking about having family dinners together. Talk, laugh, share stories about when you were young (this is a favorite for my grand kids), ask questions, talk about feelings you felt today . . .)
I’m talking about going for walks, visiting a fire station, watching for squirrels, doing a family puzzle, . . .
I’m talking about cuddling and connecting. I’m talking about saying I love you . . a lot.
Once again, I know you may be thinking “the days already seem so long.” But the old saying, The days are long but the years are short is so very true. Put the ‘hurry’ away and relax and enjoy.
I’m talking about time for your child to practice a new skill (like putting on clothes and shoes, learning to zip, put his or her own clothes away, feed him or herself, walking – even into school, . . .)
I’m talking about time to process emotions. Time to figure out how to manage things when I’m frustrated or sad. Time to let me be sad or frustrated. How can a child learn to manage those kinds of feelings if he or she never experiences them. It’s truly okay. You can be there to support but your child will benefit from struggling a little at times.
I’m talking about time to JUST PLAY. I know how I am if I have to stop in the middle of a project or thought. I get frustrated – just ask my staff. And I’m an adult. Imagine being a child and always having to cut short the time to: build long train tracks, to draw a masterpiece, to pile the pillows which then turns into building a fort, to play with the water in my bath – or even other times during the day, to set up my ‘grocery store’ just so, to build a tower . . . .
HERE is a previous blog post written by one of our parents.
I’m talking about time to run, skip, jump, roll, swing, dig, twirl, climb, and breath in the fresh air – it’s all good for your body! (and a growing child’s brain!)
I’m talking about time to experience and enjoy all kinds of weather; hot, cold, balmy, windy, sunny, snowy, and even rainy.
I’m talking about gatherings with other families and friends, but also time on his or her own to learn how to entertain himself or herself as well.
While I certainly want all children to be safe, I’m also talking about a different kind of security.
I’m talking about security in knowing your family expectations – consistency is so important. HERE and HERE are a couple of previous posts about discipline and setting boundaries.
I’m talking about security in the fact that expectations will be developmentally appropriate. Imagine how unsure you feel if you are asked to do something that you aren’t able to – don’t even think about asking me to do a back bend, my body is not ready for that. Did you know, a child’s brain isn’t typically developing the left side of the brain (the side for letters, writing, organized thinking . . .) until at least three years old?
I’m talking about security in knowing his or her parents have “got this!” Imagine living in a country that is totally changing, totally unstructured. You would wonder who’s in charge. Will your family be expected to pay more for taxes than you had planned – so then what happens to you. It’s the laws (the rules) and the structure of our government (whatever your political beliefs) that give us the security we enjoy in this country. It’s the same for your child even though he or she may fight the system (imagine a tantrum right here) often. Ultimately he or she is reassured with the knowledge of consistent expectations. Once again, it’s okay for your child to struggle a little within the security of the consistent boundaries you have set.
I’m talking about the security in knowing you allow him or her to explore and grow to the best of his or her abilities. I love a job where I can use my gifts, learn and grow as I work. I feel secure in the knowledge that my superiors will back me up – even if I make a mistake in the process. In children’s terms they enjoy trying new, even a little challenging things, with the knowledge that you trust them to try. They can do their best, but then you will be there if the challenge becomes overwhelming.
I recently read an article that sited a study that showed the importance of language in the family as a predictor of future success in school and life.
I’m talking about rich language full of new words.
I’m talking about casually restating what a child says and also extending a child’s sentence structure.
I’m talking about questions, ‘I wonder’ statements and time for reflecting.
I’m talking about labeling emotions and talking about them – a lot. HERE is a link to a previous post about helping a child deal with emotions.
I’m talking about giving verbal directions and then multi-step directions as your child grows.
I’m talking about reading and telling stories (in books, at bedtime, during dinner, about family history, about things that happened that day . . .)
I’m talking about playing with language (sounds, rhymes, patterns, silly words . . . )
I’m talking about language through song.
We cannot say enough about the importance of sleep – for all of us – but especially children. Think about how you are not at your best (in other words, how cranky you are) when you don’t have enough sleep. Young children’s bodies are even far less able to handle sleep deficiency. HERE is a link to a post by the National Sleep Foundation. You may be surprised by the number of suggested hours of sleep for each age group.
I’ll finish today by saying abundance, abundance, abundance and then more abundance of these things for your child.