'Connected children' begins with the conscious parent recognizing moment by moment that in truth we are all connected and bringing this awareness into play in relationship with her kids.
A way to eloquently connect with your child is with this Mayan Greeting uttered verbally or silently: 'I am another you.' A very affirmative declaration of our oneness, our connectedness, and a reminder to do unto others as yourself, including the divine beings we call 'our children'.
I once heard the renowned author, Toni Morrison, say that a child really needs just one person whose eyes light up when they enter the room. Every morning, I bring this to mind whenever I first greet each child with a hug, a smile, or some lap-time. I usually tell them how grateful I am they are in my life.
As a conscious parent committed to raising connected children, one discovers how parenting (and from my perspective, how motherhood) is a spiritual path. Guess what? Your children change, you change and every day gives one an opportunity to grow and evolve to maintain an awareness of connection. How can I evolve in order to stay connected?
Connecting with your child starts in infancy. Connected children are the beneficiaries of attachment parenting. This is vital and initially instinctual if we pay attention. Baby cries, your instinct is to move towards them, take them back into your arms from the arms of another, your milk lets down. Other cues tell you what else baby might be needing.
As they take on their personality, with their distinct wants and needs, it can be difficult to tell what is being communicated. Staying quiet and letting your intuition guide you will often lead you to the answer.
When my eldest was born, I discovered I could do this dance with him fairly well.
But first, let me say this: before having children, I really didn't have huge mothering cravings. When my firstborn came along, however, a different story, and it amazed me how natural it was to stay tuned with him. He became my instructor on how to raise connected children.
Perhaps, because he was born with a physical challenge that slowed his muscle development, it was critical for his survival that I stay tuned. Well-meaning individuals wanting to hold him, thought that my hovering and explaining that his head needed support were the anxiousness of an over-protective new mother. But it didn't take long for me to realize that it was up to me to make sure that he was not abandoned to the cluelessness of others (apologies for my bluntness!), regardless of what others might think of me. (By the way, he is a strong, buffed, young man today!)
Then as he entered that period of time when his preferences were quite clear to him (and he had a strong personality), but he hadn't begun to speak except for several words, there were times when I could not figure out what would appease him. As I attempted to retain the bond with him, I'd sing, I'd dance, I'd stand on my head, I'd get frustrated (this 'connected children' stuff is a lot of hooey, I'd think), I'd be willing to try anything, sometimes, to no avail. Thankfully he was pretty easygoing...I have often thanked him for being so forgiving in my efforts to evolve.
However, by the time baby number 2 came along, yippee!, we had learned of baby signs. He was, shall we say, a tad bit more impatient, so how lucky were we! Around 9 months of age, we started signing to him, with simple words and phrases.
For example, 'more' got one sign, 'all done' got another and we'd make some up as we went along. It can not be overstated how valuable a tool this was. Check out the internet for some free infant signing tips!! Even just incorporating a few of these tips can open the lines of communication between you and your child in such a way that you'll be amazed, relieved, and grateful! A boon in your commitment to raising connected children.
I would also recommend looking into the purchase of this book: 'Baby Signs: How to talk with your baby before your baby can talk'. The link is below...
A couple of other helpful tools:
Learn How To Communicate With Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Speak Using American Sign Language! Includes Video Of 250 Signs!
Step By Step E-book On How To Communicate With Your Baby Before They Can Speak. "Who Else Wants To Know How To Understand What Your Child Is Thinking And Saying Long Before They Can Talk?" How To Use Baby Signs To Talk With Child And Stop Crying & Tantrums From Happening!
For the most part my commitment to rearing connected children carried the day and informed my choices. I had comprehended as much as I was able that my spiritual path included embracing the sacredness of motherhood and its contribution to my evolution.
One valuable lesson I learned was that I would have to give up my 'adult' agendas and preconceptions of how things were going to go. Before I was able to stop working outside the home for awhile, my eldest stayed with his Grammy 3 days a week while I was at work. It was the perfect place for him to be; his Grammy loved him and gave him a safe, nurturing place to be. My son and she have a snug bond that continues to this day as he is on his way to his 23rd birthday.
But back to the valuable lesson...which was painfully brought home to me one day when I noticed that he wanted to stay with his Grammy when I came to pick him up. I couldn't help but notice that her experience as a pre-school teacher gave her a huge repertoire of songs, activities, etc., that were so appealing to him. OOOOHHH...so did this mean I better think about cooking together in the kitchen? playing with toys? looking at cracks in the street? learning some kid-friendly songs? listening to Raffi?
(Check out this youtube video of Raffi singing 'Down by the Bay'! Brings back great memories!)
....like...kid-stuff? Remember this? Here are the lyrics for your trip down memory lane:
Down by the bay / Where the watermelons grow / Back to my home / I dare not go / For if I do / My mother will say / "Did you ever see a fly / Wearing a tie?" / Down by the Bay.
(Again, I'd question myself- maybe this 'connected children' stuff is a lot of hooey?)
This was another evolutionary step in my journey in raising connected children...to become as a little child, even get big-time silly. It is interesting to ponder that all this brought me back to my real self, the kid in me that loved to be silly, sing loudly, create art.
When my eldest turned three years of age, I was able to stay home with him. We joined a preschool coop. There were times when he absolutely refused to let me leave him there without me. As it was a co-op, I had permission to stay. I received well-meaning advice that if I left, he might cry for a bit, but he would get over it. I didn't listen to this advice; instead, I stayed with him. Was I setting him up for a life of dependency? Let me tell you, he will be graduating from college this June, and he is very well-adjusted and independent. I am certain that his secure self-esteem is due in part to the safety he felt as a child without having to deal with issues of feeling abandoned.
But raising connected children is not for sissies--especially when it comes to being your child's advocate. Read about one of my experiences testing whether I was really sincere about all this attachment parenting stuff.
There are so many insights to explore and discuss on this theme. We'll keep the dialogue going. Also, please share with me any of your ideas you'd like, by going here: Contact Me! I would love to hear from you!
For a highly recommended program on raising Happy Children, with very practical tips, from Parent Learning Club, click Here!
Site updated January 20, 2021
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