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Children

Dampening The Joy of Children

JoyofchildrenChildren are a source of light, love, and joy; but we often unthinkingly dampen their enthusiasim.  Children can be blissfully happy or madder than a wet hen.  We often only orient to their screams and hysterical outbursts.  We are sensitive to that erie quietness that means they are up to something either naughty or dangerous.  We react with shock when they get hurt or are  in harm’s way.  But can we enjoy the everyday sounds of childish laughter or the intimate conversation between two toddlers?  Childhood emotions are often uncensored and in their purist form.  Even their very innocence in their quiet times can be rewarding.  Recently I enjoyed watching a two month old sleep quietly, so quietly, I almost didn’t notice she was there.

Why do we often use the term “childish” as a derogative descriptive term?   In the past, children were to be seen and not heard.  Children were highly scheduled and there was a certain time for everything.  Babies were fed every two hours or so and if they cried with hunger in between feedings they had to wait.  Bottles were preferred to breast feeding.  Breast feeding was too spontaneous and interrupted things.  They also could be given by someone else rather than the mother.  Being a child was often a frustrating experience.  The natural joys and highs of childhood were often ignored and depreciated.  Children were told to go out and play and get out of mom’s hair so she could get some work done.  Playpens were a standard household item when one had small children.

Having been a play therapist, I learned how to observe and participate in a child’s play which was their world.  I was not really another child so I was not a real playmate; but I could become part of the child’s world and participate in it. Hopefully in a helpful fashion.  This has been useful with my own grandchildren as I have some idea of how to interact with and make playing or reading a book to them an interactive experience.  I also get a lot of  enjoyment of it.  I don’t have as many rules as their parents do and generally the scheduling is looser.

Refresh your memory and relive the best parts of childhood.  Focus more on having a good time and enjoying yourself.  It is contagious.

 

 

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Interacting with Children

Children from a village in Bihar, India

Children from a village in Bihar, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earlier you start interacting with the children, the better.  It is amazing what can happen if you just pay attention.  Little children are eager to learn and gobble up all the information that is presented to them.  It can not start too soon.  Babies should be out where the action is unless it is time for a nap.  When awake, they need to be stimulated and included in what is going on.  Give them a good start and avoid problems later on.

Children play games in which they interact with adults.  Children respond to the facial expressions and vocal inflections of adults.  They love to cuddle, wrestle, and be tickled.  Yes, sometimes they can be over stimulated but things can easily be toned down when this happens.  Children also play games with each other.  When certain patterns of behavior are repeated and shared with another child, it can be seen that they are stimulating each other.  Older children can interact with younger children by “teaching” them things.  Just don’t say things like, “Big boys don’t play with babies.”  Also they should be where a caregiver can watch them as sometimes older children can be too rough with younger children even when they aren’t being mean.

If you raise children this way and let them have a lot of interaction with other children and adults, they can develop self-confidence and also self-control.  Don’t have children if you don’t want to spend any time with them or if you plan to leave them for other adults to raise.

 

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