Do we give our children enough credit?
Parenting is essentially a supportive role. No need to control and often not even to lead.
We do hope our children will learn from us; well, most of the time anyway. Rest assured--they are learning, all the time. Their eyes and ears and emotions are wide open to every move and emotion they experience at home. Have you ever had a quiet conversation in another room that your child has commented on later? And you thought they were elsewhere and unaware....
Our children watch us. Hear us. Feel us. All the time. We are their model for how to live life.
Children tend to reflect whatever they are surrounded with. We may notice more tension while shopping than when we are quietly home together. Our children likely play more calmly when we are not tensely preparing to go out. They love to have us available. To test this out, try making a phone call.
The main challenge is to attune to our little one. What does he need? She will tell us when we take the time with her. He will let us know as we hold him calmly. We will know when we meet her eyes, and she meets ours.
Neurological research and new technologies now confirm the tremendous growth of neuronal connections that set a pattern for life and learning for the child already before 2 years of age. And not only that. These early months hold the core learning opportunities for regulating emotion. The foundation!
How do we do it all? Hold. Hug. Listen. Watch. Guide. Seek to understand. Be on his team. Give yourself a break. Hold some more. Marvel.
I have found these resources helpful:
Daniel Siegel: The Whole-Brain Child (book)
Gordon Neufeld: Hold on to your Kids (book)
Chris White: Essential Parenting (blog)
Janet Lansbury: Elevating Childcare (blog)