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TheYears-Elliot-Bennett

The Years Fly By, but the Days Last Forever!

You often hear grandparents, or parents of older children say: ‘I can’t believe my daughter turns 32 in September’ or, ‘I can’t believe he’s going to be a teenager next week’; and it’s usually followed up with: ‘It’s all gone so fast, it seems like only yesterday they were starting school.’

These parents have noticed how quickly the time passes.

Yet when you’re a parent to an active 6 year old, or a 2 year old who has spent the day having tantrums, the time (till bed-time) seems to pass so s-l-o-w-l-y!

There’s a lot of fun to be had with babies and young children – hugging and smiling, reading books, playing with playdough, building towers, and ‘magic’ things like blowing bubbles or lying on the grass watching the clouds pass by. When this is happening, it’s such a beautiful feeling, and we are strengthening the bonds with our child/ren.

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Self-Regulation is a Parenting Skill

Imagine this (and some of you won’t need to imagine it, this will have been just like your day!)….

It’s 5pm, and you haven’t started dinner yet. In fact, you don’t even know what you are going to have for dinner, because you just remembered to take the mince out of the freezer at 4pm! Your toddler is getting cranky and really should be in the bath, but your 6 year old needs your help with listening to him read his school reader. The cat is circling you waiting for it’s dinner. The phone rings and you have a headache. Now if that was your day, then you may well want to scream, to pass the kids over to hubby when he gets home, or to run away. Our impulse is to go away. The reality is that we can’t do that, and we know that somehow we will muddle our way through it. We’ll decide that the toddler needs bed more than a bath, that toast is dinner tonight, and that headache pills come before the cats miaowing. We know we will get through it, because we have succeeded before, and we’ve learnt some skills along the way – thank goodness!

We weren’t born knowing how to do that – how to regulate our emotions and systematically work through the tasks in a priority, skillful manner. It is a learnt skill.

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little-sponges-little-ears

Little Sponges, Little Ears – How we talk in front of kids

Young children are like little sponges – they copy what we say and do:

  • we wash the dishes, they want to wash up too;
  • we read a book, they want to read too;
  • we’re cranky and they become cranky too!

You can use a kitchen sponge to wipe up water, oil, or dirty spills – the sponge just ‘sucks’ it all up. Young kids are like this too …. they just absorb what is around them – they don’t stop to think about whether it’s good or not. They figure, ‘if Mum/Dad/Nan is doing it, I can too!’

This includes the language they hear. Kids learn words and emotions from what you say. If you regularly smile and laugh when talking to a friend, kids think this is what you do with friends. If you have someone who you are regularly angry and swearing with, kids think this is something to copy too.

If you want kids to not swear, then the first thing to do, is to check what they are hearing on a daily basis. As adults and parents we need to protect young children from all sorts of things which aren’t good for them, this includes swearing, and conversations which might scare or worry them.