Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to a small child? Take a moment and picture it … you are walking around giants two to three feet taller than you… who are constantly telling you what to do… and better yet, you depend on them for your every need. Kind of intimidating right?
Now I am a slightly tall female at 5’7, when I think about what it would be like for me to have a conversation with someone 8 feet tall, it kind of scares me. I think I would just comply with what they want out of fear. And after a while, speaking to them would hurt my neck.
Looking up to people is not a choice for toddlers. They have to look up to everyone.
But what if we humbled ourselves, bent down, and met them eye to eye. The message it sends is that I am going to stay here a while, just to be here with you in this moment.
In all the busyness of our chaotic, over scheduled lives, I find that our children sometimes miss out on our full attention. It is something I am guilty of and am working on with my own children. Sometimes, I wait until there is a fight to engage with them. Or, on other occasions I made excuses for why I couldn’t attend to their need in the moment.
Maybe you can relate? I am tired of feeling guilty about my disengagement, but also overwhelmed by everything on my plate.
I think it is time that we let go of the guilt of not having enough: time, energy, fill in the blank for our kids. We need to just get down on our knees, look them in the eyes and make them feel like they are our world. It’s that simple.
It’s not about the quantity of time that you spend with you kids; It’s about being really present in the free moments that you do have.
A few minutes of meaningful face to face contact may be enough to fill their cups for a few hours. Think about, when someone takes a moment to look you into your eyes, compliment you, and give you their undivided attention; it feels amazing, right? And what they said or did sticks with you the rest of day. It can work the same way for our kids. It’s not complicated. Just let them know that you see them.
And if you have the time, check out this fascinating article about how Inuit families teach young children to regulate their feelings. Pretty cool stuff.