watch them

Being’ in the moment’ with your children is a parenting strategy that many parents should consider this time of year. While the festive season is billed as the time of year to be jolly, and the build up to the end of the year can be frenetic, it is also the season when we have the opportunity, if only over The Big Shut Down between Christmas and New Year, to take life a little slower than we normally would, whether at home or away on a holiday.

Positive parenting means taking it slower and observing

Taking it slow, and being more “in the moment” as parents, gives us the opportunity to see our children operating at their own pace for a change, and not dancing either to our hectic schedules or the ones we or school have imposed on them. As you stop and smell the roses for a little while I want to encourage you to be a “watcher” from time-to-time. Stop doing, organising and micromanaging, and just take a while to be a watcher and not a doer. Observe your children with all of your senses whether you are doing something together or observing them from a distance.

Open your eyes, ears, hearts and minds and absorb your children. Soak them up. Look at their faces, really look. Listen to their conversations, really listen. Give them some money (it doesn’t have to be a lot) to buy small Christmas presents for family members, or let them choose a new decoration for the Christmas tree, and don’t judge their choice – observe with interest and give them a chance to express themselves, even if their ideas are very different to yours.

You may have the opportunity of cuddling up together as a family in the big bed, or on the couch watching a movie together or playing a game. What does it feel like? You now have the time to notice. Can you see how they have grown and matured this year and what they are now capable of that they have never been able to do before? Appreciate the growth and let your heart swell with pride. It’s a great feeling.

Enjoy their anticipation of the season of giving and receiving – they are both an art and a life skill that need to be developed. Watch how you speak to each other over this time. Talk with kindness and respect, and listen twice as much as you speak.

Watch for the little things about your children, capture moments often missed in the daily grind of our rushed and hurried lifestyles. Most of these little moments will be so fleeting is it unlikely you will be able to photograph them. It is as if you are a guest who has been privileged to ‘see’ and you get to store these moments only in the recesses of your heart and mind.

The most important thing about being a “watcher” is to remember that they are watching you too, and they are doing it with their whole being, absorbing the very essence of who you are.

Happy holidays!

If you like this post you may want to read Face-to-Face Time is Important for Families.

Learn more about Nikki Bush’s positive parenting advice.