It’s easy to think this year is going to be different, but pretty soon it’s easy to slide back into old habits. So how can we make a shift this year to help ourselves stay more connected to our highest ideals when it comes to parenting our children?
The way to do that is to simply to take a bit of time now to consider and plan. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Literally 5, 10, 15 minutes to think about the year and about how you want to show up for your kids can make all the difference in the world.
Here’s a great question to get the ball rolling. “What do my kids need from me this year?”
That can be a hard one to answer because on any given day they need so many things RIGHT NOW that we rarely have an extra few minutes to consider what they need from us big picture. But it’s worth it.
Consider the age of your child(ren) and think about all the activities they’re about to take part in this year, where they’re at emotionally in their development, what they’ll be learning about in school, what friends they’re hanging out with, and how they’re relating to the world.
In fact, you can even break it down into those categories: Emotional/Relational, Physical, Developmental, Educational, Spiritual.
For instance, our son is 4 and he’s going through the counter-will phase so he needs opportunities to make his own choices (within reason), and to develop his own sense of power in small ways. He’s been sick with a lot of colds over the winter so he needs flexibility to attend preschool or not, so we need to be open to our work needs being subverted a little bit. He’s still developing his concept of the world so fostering his creativity is continually paramount. And he’s a little boy so he needs plenty of exercise, good healthy food, as well as time to rest and daydream.
We also have a 7 month old baby girl, so she needs lots of time to nurse and lounge around examining toys and things. She needs stimulation, but also tons of time for naps. She needs mega cuddles with mama, and a little bit of time with other family and friends. And both our kids are still learning about their spiritual connections through observing our own meditation practice.
If you have a teenager, they might need a certain amount of authority or power. What do they need for their health? Their education? Probably time, space, and tons of emotional support (like most adults do too!) What subjects are they going to focus on? What do they need for their extracurricular? What kind of materials or equipment do they need? How will they feel balanced, feel loved at home, and respected by their peers and siblings?
No one knows your child better than you. And when take a few minutes to consider all this info, however brief, it can give you a big picture snapshot of where your kid is at and help you to form a strong reference point as the year progresses.
From here you can set intentions that are important to you and them. Maybe it’s around having a balanced lifestyle, or a healthy diet, or a loving environment at home. It can also keep you alerted to upcoming challenges or developmental shifts your child might be facing this year. It might even help you cut your kid more slack when things go sideways (as they inevitably will!) as you’ll already be primed for the challenges they’re facing.
These are a few ideas for how you can parent with intention this year to help incorporate a stronger sense of peace, balance, and connection with your child.
By taking a few minutes to run through their upcoming emotional, physical, and developmental needs, you can get a stronger sense of what they’re going through in their own lives and how to set appropriate goals for them in 2017. It will reinforce your connection to them, and ultimately it will strengthen their trust in you, knowing you have their best interests in mind.
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