At the core of everything we teach at Kids & Families Together is the importance of creating emotionally safe relationships. This is a relationship where you know that even on your worst day you are cared about and that you are with someone that is emotionally and physically safe and will help you through any tough time that you are experiencing. Too often, due to our own histories of being criticized and punished for “bad” behavior, we are quick to notice and speak about the negative behaviors that we experience with our family members whether it be with our children or with our life partner.
Imagine yourself being a child and arriving home to be greeted by a caregiver whose eyes light up the second you enter the door. You begin to talk about your day and your parent gives you her complete attention. In this moment, you feel safe, important and all is well. In this loving state, you become attuned to the wonders of life and the passion of living and the world becomes a positive place where each person has untold value. We live in a world with lots of stress and demands on our daily lives. We all have many moments that we miss opportunities to connect in meaningful ways with people that are important to us but what if we all committed to working on being more attuned and present to our family members and co-workers with the intent of deeply listening to them in a way that they feel heard and validated. This means, putting down our phones, facing the person and giving all of our attention in such a way that this per-son we are with experiences the interaction as though they are the most important person on the planet for this moment in time!
Remember the nursery rhyme we all learned about the little old lady who lived in the shoe that she had so many children she didn’t know what to do so basically she abused all her children and sent them to bed! Not exactly the words of the nursery rhyme but the gist of the story that many of us grew up with hearing.
How about a new nursery rhyme to read over and over to ourselves silently and aloud.
A wonderful woman lived in a shoe. She had so many children she knew exactly what to do. She held them, she rocked them, and tucked them in bed. “I love you,” “I love you,” Is what she said.
One great book that I would recommend to get some ide-as for new ways of interacting with your child is called, I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey, PH.D. Also for more ide-as, go to the Theraplay website at www.theraplay.org. If you feel particularly adventuresome, google ways to have fun with my kids and see what you can find for yourself on the internet! There are many great ideas for how to be playful and present with our kids. We just have to find them and be willing to implement them in our daily lives.