I found this post via Facebook. I thought I’d share it here because as a parent, I do need this reminder sometimes, and yes, people around me need the reminder, too.
How would YOU feel if…
…a shirt was suddenly and unexpectedly pulled over your head from behind?
…people around you talked about how you perform on the toilet?
…people kept poking you, tickling you, and getting their face right up in yours when you were totally engrossed in a complex thought process (such as learning something new, or engrossed in a good mystery book…)?
…in the midst of relishing a fabulous dish of fettuccine a washcloth was swiped back and forth across your mouth?
…you were constantly interrupted as you tried to stay focused on complicated instructions for constructing an elaborate piece of equipment?
…you were told “you’re okay!” as you grieved over a lost loved one? Or, “it doesn’t hurt!” following an injury that will require multiple stitches?
…you were told you needed to eat more even when you felt full? Or that you were all done even when you were still hungry?
…someone unexpectedly swooped you up and moved you without warning?
…things were pushed into your mouth without consideration for whether you even wanted them in your mouth?
I’d venture to say you’d feel upset, frustrated, mad, startled, misunderstood, confused.
And this is what many of us do without thinking when it comes to our babies and toddlers. Respect. It is key and it begins at birth. Let your little one know before you put her shirt on–“It’s time to put your shirt on over your head. Are you ready?(look for the eye contact, the smile, the wiggle in response…look for the arms coming up or the eyes squeezing tight in preparation…) Okay! Here it goes…o-v-e-r your head…”.
Keep interruptions to a minimum or not at all when your baby is concentrating on reaching for and examining something or your toddler is working hard at putting the square block in the round hole. Need to interrupt? Move next to them and pause briefly as you watch them, then let them know softly–“You are really studying the way your rattle looks as you move it! It is time to…I’m going to pick you up and we can bring the rattle with us. Ready? Here we go!”
Ask before you wipe mouths–better yet, give your baby a wet washcloth and let them do it all on their own—“Time to get the sticky food off your mouth. Here’s the washcloth. Can you wipe up?” “I need to clean off your chin. Ready? (as you hold it up and show them…look for their response!) You ARE ready. Wipe-wipe-wipe…nice and gentle. All done! Thank you for helping.”
Warn your baby before you pick them up–“Daddy’s going to pick you up so we can go….” Pause briefly and wait until your baby responds (A wiggle? A smile? Arms up?). Or at least pause for this slows you down physically, allowing your baby to be ready, as well.
Ask first if they want their pacifier, or another bite, and respect their response–“Looks like you are all done.” And stay tuned in to whether your baby WANTS you to keep tickling, poking, being in their face. Babies are excellent at letting you know they need a break. You can be equally excellent at respecting this. “I can tell you are all done with our tickle game! I will stop now.”
Always, always honor and affirm feelings–no need to make them ‘all better’–more importantly, just be there to name, ask questions, comfort. Now your little one can begin to understand their feelings–the start to managing them as they grow. And helping US manage OURS as the struggles and feelings grow in intensity–ours and theirs–over the years 🙂.
Respect. The groundwork is laid from the beginning. The respect you show and grow from day one becomes a way of life–and this pays off hugely come teen years. Start right now and PAUSE before you act. Keep respect at the forefront of your thoughts and your actions will follow. Know what feels respectful, be clear on nurturing respect, role model it constantly…and you may discover that parenting becomes easier. And YES, you can begin today interacting with greater respect no matter the age of your child. Let PAUSE and calm connection lead the way. It speaks volumes.
It begins with you.
Check out Janet Lansbury – Elevating Child Care for many more inspiring ways of living this kind of respect with your little ones. Check out my book, “Parenting Inspired” http://www.amazon.com/dp/1502804484 for helping you grow the kind of respectful relationships you want the most.
Here’s to each of you working hard at parenting well!
Author of “Parenting Inspired”
PCI Certified Parent Coach® and Certified ScreamFree Leader
©2016 Alice Hanscam
I still miss out on the connection sometimes. I still have my moments when I rush the kids because I’m being rushed, myself. Being aware of it, I can make amends. I know it’s never too late to make those changes but it’s always best to start as soon as I can.