Every child is different. Some find it easy to let go of their parents and join a group in which to play and make new friends. Others on the other hand are shy or need lots of attention, whereas some cannot even connect with other children. When you are choosing the best type of care for your child, it is important to have a proper look at your child’s needs and choose a type that suits and benefits them best. Choosing the best for your child will not always be what is best for most children. What really makes a difference is being consciously aware.
“You have a choice.”
Before you decide to put your child into special day care it is important to truly understand the values of the day care. Some clubs only concentrate on the children having fun and playing, others place importance on being outdoors in nature, and others place emphasis on adventure or training the children to master a specific art or sport. Not every child is meant to be able to deal with group activities and intense schedules, especially during holidays when different children come and go every day. If your child is very sensitive, then none of the above-mentioned care choices may work for their best benefit.
What is the best?
Each child has their own special way to connect to a group. Some, must first observe to see what is happening in the group and then when they feel safe they will join in. Others, just automatically jump in and play but some will not join in, even after a long time observing. It is important to understand each child individually without pushing them into something they don’t feel comfortable with. For some children, a private lesson is better, others will do better when their parents are not there and some will need their parents to be there most of the time if we want them to start learning. This is the initial stage, where conscious listening as their parent as well as care giver is important.
“Results are not an indicator of quality.”
When money comes into play, any business will make sure to attract and keep as many children as possible as it brings in the money. In these care environments, the children usually learn through the ‘carrot and stick’ method – by giving them options such as: your parents will come when you stop crying, or if you play nicely then you will get some sweets. Unfortunately, this policy always works and is normally used because more often than not, the groups are too big, there is no time to truly listen and take care of each individual child, and when it comes down to it, it is the money and results which matter. Children are being pushed until they end up in tears, they either get told that their hunger must be the reason for them crying or they are put to bed. To keep a high profile, many care centres focus on taking pictures of happy children, producing lots of material, end of term shows and races in order to demonstrate the great results the children have gained.
Think about it – is this how you wish for your children to grow up and develop? Remember, when you allow your children to be taught through the means of manipulation in order to gain results, they cannot become anything else but manipulators themselves. They learn to understand that results are more important than experiencing themselves and enjoying the present moment fully.
The ground pillars of conscious care
Here are some of the points parents as well as care givers can start to observe and work upon, in order to create a conscious change:
1. Importance of clear rules and discipline
Discipline as well as a rhythmic routine is very important because it is a natural thing. Everything in nature runs in cycles and always with the same rhythm – everything comes and goes. Human beings are part of this nature, thus having a rhythm and following it greatly benefits each of us, especially our children.
Having a daily routine enables children to get ready for what is coming, to look forward and stop worrying about the future. It is a good idea to have a playful ritual, such as a connecting and grounding activity before each main meal. This opens the space, calms everyone down and prepares the children for their meal. It allows their body to focus on digesting the meal, rather than being distracted with different activities. A bell or a singing bowl are wonderful to use as a tool to announce special parts of the day, for example, when it is time to all sit down together and play/connect before we nurture ourselves and our tummies.
Introduce one single rule – to respect others as you would like to be respected. It is a very simple rule and there is hardly any child that will disagree with it. Having this rule as a base will help you as a caregiver to solve most of conflicts, whereas children on the other hand will be able to differentiate between the right and wrong with ease as well as grow in empathy and compassion.
Of course, there will always be children that expect everything to happen their own way but there is no need to judge or change them. They are individualists and will have to find their own place in the world. However, it is important to recognise their potential as those children are likely to become great leaders as well as great team players when guided correctly.
2. Create a fun environment to allow children to be who they have always wanted to be
Trying to discipline and calm children down by bribing them with rewards will only result in suppressing their joy and will create many dis-balances. Yes, rhythms and routines matter, yet we must learn to be flexible and introduce constructive changes when necessary. As an example, think of a day when your children were very hyper-active during lunchtime and their focus was on everything other than eating the food. It seemed impossible to calm them down and all you wanted to do was to scream. However, there is another option – just allow it all to happen for a moment – then guide the loud crowd to turn into a singing crowd – first really loud, then quieter and then very silent, finally transforming into an eating crowd. Embrace their loudness by guiding them into something creative and then through creation calm them down.
Every day make some time for your children to just be happy, loud and mess around. This is what makes the most amazing creations. Guide them slightly by allowing them to forget about learning and to experience whole-hearted fun. In this way, they will learn much more. Introduce stories, unusual games, costumes, or characters who visit them to share unknown facts and who encourage them to get involved in some wonderful activities. Allow your children to become what they have always wanted to be without controlling the output.
3. The tricky ‘NO’
Whenever your children come to you with a question, there is a reason behind it. Most of the time they are looking for attention and love. There is nothing worse we can do than to answer their question with a ‘NO’ because this is a ‘NO’ to their request to be loved, noticed, and acknowledged.
This is one of the most difficult situations in care giving, yet there is a solution. Try answering your child’s questions by saying: “Yes, I hear you and right now we are doing this”. This acknowledges the child and ensures the child that they are safe. This then enables them to easily follow what we have prepared for them. Try it out and notice how calm and obedient your children become.
Family holidays and conscious care
Family holidays are supposed to be a time to relax yet many unexpected complications usually occur. Parents need a break, yet they are left in the same boat as their children who have lots of energy and want to play. How could this set up work so that everyone has their needs satisfied?
Indeed, there is a way in which everyone can be happy, relaxed and enjoy their holiday together. Remember being a child and how joyful it was?! Why not try it out again? Turn into a magical being and become a child again. It is so much fun to just be a child, not listening to anyone, not caring about getting dirty, running around like crazy, and not having a care in the world. Switch roles, let your children turn into adults so they can experience what it means to be a grown up, while you turn into a child and learn to let go. You can give each other massages, play games, relax, run around, or dance. Just learn how wonderful and fun it is to spend time together. When parents become conscious about themselves as well as their children, there is no need for separate holiday activities or alone time, it is when the real holiday begins!
Tips for conscious care at home
You set an example for your children at all times, so if you would like them to become more conscious but you yourself do not change then little will happen. If you want your children to learn or do something, then you need to become the ambassador first. Only when you engage and completely enjoy your activities, will your children join you and learn with ease.
Another important point is to listen to the real needs of your children. Some children need their parents more than others. It is therefore recommended to change your holiday routine or destination rather than trying to change your child. Spend as much time as you can with your children as there will come a time when they will push you away and want to go their own way. At this point you will be free to go on your holidays alone once again. Until then enjoy their company – it is a blessing few know how to fully embrace.
If you have any questions, comments, would like more information about conscious care, or have an experience that you would like to share with me, please leave a comment below or connect with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.