Holidays are a wonderful time to unwind, relax with family and spend quality time together. The more time we spend with our children the more opportunity there is for us to strengthen our bond and develop our relationship.
Of course, relationships are work. I have formulated a list of the top 5 tips to assist you to have a peaceful holiday.
1. Use Affirming Language
Say what you would like to see. Slowly carve out the ‘No’s’ and re-word your language so that it is affirmative.
e.g.: “Mom can I go swim now?”
“You can swim when … you have put away your clothes/I come to the pool/when the sun has passed that tree”.
2. Make Eye Contact
This is a habit that can save a lot of repetition of words. Children, of all ages, absorb information easier when there is eye contact. When we connect with our eyes we touch the child on a deeper level and so our words become powerful.
e.g.: When you congratulate your child on something, no matter how small, try to look into his/hers eyes and smile.
e.g.: If a child is not listening to an instruction, go fairly close to his/her eye level and ask him to look you in the eyes if there is avoidance. Then, quietly, repeat the instruction. Ensure that your eyes are loving and not piercing.
3. Use Pleasing Tones
Children respond more to sound than actual words. Sometimes parents can get into the tune of barking out orders yet we have an array of tones to choose from. Try changing your volume every now and again and notice if there is a different response. When I mean business with my child I lower my vocal range and my volume. It works every time.
e.g: One way to aid a change of tone is to change the pace of speech. Deep breathing helps to slow down fast talkers.
Humans are creatures of touch. When we are touched affectionately, with love and care, there is a chemical release of oxytocin.
This chemical reaction boosts self-esteem, forms trust in relationships and even aids the immune system. Make an effort to touch your child in a loving manner daily. This is true for children of all ages.
e.g.: If your child does not like too much touch, sit next to him/her while reading and let your shoulders and legs touch.
e.g.: Give your child a foot rub before bed or on waking in the morning.
5. Be the Change you want to see
Our children are our mirrors. Let us remember that what we crit in them may very well be a reflection of ourselves. If you are annoyed by a particular mannerism/behaviour trait of your child go out of your way to show how you do the opposite.
You do not need to talk about it and bring the child’s conscious attention to it, let it be absorbed into the individual in a holistic way. This action will need to be repeated often throughout the day.
e.g.: If your child has the habit of interrupting you >> Do not interrupt your child / partner / whoever is speaking. When your child speaks, when possible, stop and give full attention to what he/she is saying.
If your child continues to interrupt you can use questions to join the dots, such as “Do you enjoy it when I listen to you?” “I like listening to you. I also like it when you listen to me. Can you listen to me now?”
Here’s to a happy, healthy parent-child relationship!