In February's blog post, I mentioned how difficult it can be to show affection and love to our children as they get older. And to be clear, when I say get older, I´m referring to children who are no longer infants. Such children are now more vocal about their needs, expressive with their discontent and can reject us in ways that sometimes trigger us. In that blog post, I highlighted four games that focus on eye contact that can bring a sense of connection and joy between you and your child. Check it out here if you haven´t already read it.
This month´s post will feature games that emphasize touch. Why is touch so important for a child and for us as human beings? Aside from the research that highlights how infants actually thrive when touched, nurturing touch allows us to feel connected and loved. Try to remember the last time you received a welcoming, embracing hug from your child or another loved one. Or the time you held your child's hand to stroll down the street. Or, how about the last time you got a high five or a fist pump with a proud energy behind it? These are the touches I'm referring to. They come with loving energy that helps us connect with each other.
Unfortunately, however, these are some of the first things we can forget to do when life gets busy and our children become more independent. So, below are a few games/activities you can do to help foster this sense of connection. Test them out and feel free to let me know how they worked for you.
As in my previous post I will offer a word of caution: some children are sensitive to touch. For some, touch can be too ticklish which can dysregulate them. For others, the proximity of having someone close to them may be triggering. If you find your child is not playing along and instead tries to hit you or to turn it into a different game, it could be a sign that they are uncomfortable. Try instead the eye contact games I mentioned in my previous post or if you believe it is better, don't play at all.
Stay tune for next month's post where I will be sharing activities that focus on words of affirmation.
Thank you for reading.
Love, according to the Oxford dictionary, is "an intense feeling of deep affection." As a parent, we all have love for our children but learning how to show that love can be a challenge as our children grow older. Over the course of the next three months, I will provide tips on how you can show your child how much you love him/her through games. This month's post will focus on games that facilitate making eye contact.
Looking into your child's eyes is a form of non-verbal communication that is intimate and can be intense. Games, as I've mentioned before, can help facilitate the process of connecting and re-connecting with our children. This is especially true when we feel like we are losing touch with who they are and don't know how to best interact with them. A few games that can help both of you reconnect include:
A note of caution: Some children can become uncomfortable making eye contact due to various issues. If you find your child is not engaging in the games I mentioned, don't push the issue. Just work around it if possible or if you believe it is better, don't play at all.
Aside from playing games, I would also encourage you to make a conscious effort to notice what your child's eyes/face looks like when they are eating, coloring, doing homework or even watching their favorite show. Such moments happen so often during the day but we often forget to check in and see what our child looks like as they are growing. Doing so can help remind us about the important things in life.
Stay tune for next month's post where I will be sharing games you can play that focus on touch. (Hint, hint - handclapping games!)
Thank you for reading.
There's no denying that two years into the pandemic, many of us are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, spent. Whatever word you use, the end result is we are stretched thin and have very little to give. One area of concern I often hear from parents is wanting to give more to their child but not having anything left as they are barely holding it together. If you are such a parent, read on for some tips on being able to hold it together.
1) Acknowledge that you don't feel safe - Let's face it, questions like - do I or my kid have COVID? Will my child(ren) be in person or virtual next week? Can we go visit our family and friends? - is anxiety provoking and draining. This constant questioning comes from the unpredictability of our situation right now. This same unpredictability make us feel threatened and/or unsafe, which in turn can often spark feelings of anger, sadness and fear. And chances are if you are feeling this way, your child may also feel the same. So first step, acknowledge that you are feeling what many other human beings are feeling - scared and unsafe.
2) Identify and Name your Emotion - identifying and naming how you feel can be extremely helpful in being able to "keep it together." As adults, we often don't allow ourselves to pay attention to how we feel and fess up to it. I'm talking about feelings like sad, mad, scared and worried - core emotions we all experience as humans. Engaging in distracting responsibilities like work, school, cleaning, etc., is something we often do to ignore how we feel. Unfortunately, doing so ultimately does a disservice to your mind, body and spirit.
3) Express Yourself - another key to holding it together, is ironically enough, letting your feelings out. Doing so can look like talking about your feelings to someone who can validate you instead of dismissing you. It can also look like energetically releasing the emotion. In other words, do you slam something or scream when you are angry? Cry, sing or lounge around when you are sad?
Expressing your feelings verbally or physically can be a great way to make sure your feelings don't get stuck. Not sure where to get started? I often recommend hitting pillows, couches or beds with a pool noodle. Squeeze the heck out of a squishy ball. Do you our your child have fidget toys? If so, feel free to play with any fidget that may be throwable and squeezable. These often can be used to release anger.
For feelings of sadness, try staying in your pj's/comfy clothes all day, order in, and/or indulge in your favorite show. This last one can be done with or without your child - whatever allows you to feel connected with yourself. Need a good cry? Cue up the music that makes you ball and have a good deep cry. Journaling your emotions can also help with feelings of sadness and anger.
In summary, this time we are in truly sucks! There is so much unpredictability and when we don't know what to expect, it messes with our sense of safety. Aside from getting triggered, let's not forget the parent guilt that hovers over us especially when we see our child(ren) suffering. As a human who is caring for another human be kind to yourself and know that being able to take time to read this blog shows you are already on the path of "keeping it together".
I wish you strength and compassion on your parenting journey.
Thank you for reading.
Christine M. Valentín
Welcome to my blog where I provide tips on learning how to connect with your child and how to feel more in control of your parenting journey.
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