I have 2 marvels in my life – my work as an early childhood educator and my 4-year old niece. The more time I invest in both – discussing, playing, researching, teaching, and parenting, the higher I feel the need to “invest” more with my children and talking to adults, parents and educators about the things I learn from them.
It’s been written by many, however I have come to experience it even more closely – our children have a marvelous world of their own! And if only we adults could get a sneak-peak into it, we would realise, they’re very very (need for more repetition) sensitive and observant and you are very very important to them, as their caregiver (parents, family members, teachers, loved ones). If I had to simply shout out to every parent to tell them the 5 things they can give their children, it would be:
- Teach them about their body and what a wonder it is! The most advanced technology in the world – our human body is no less than a mystery for children. Conversing about what it needs – good food, water and care, and the simple fact that their body is not for them to share or let anyone stare. Make them aware about their body and its parts, so that they develop a confidence that there is nothing to hide or be shameful about- whether it is colour, height, disability or abuse. Talk to them about their food being used by their thinking brain, growing bones and muscles. Give them scientific reasons for eating spinach and carrots rather than telling them they’d become strong like superheroes. Discuss private parts and touch and not just giggles over the butt.
- Let them know they have responsibilities – to care for their toys, to look after their grandparents, to pick up a torn piece of paper, to remind their parents about chores and to grow up to be strong and healthy, to look after their loved ones.
- Listen to their stories: Ask them what they love – their favourite books, food, people, stories, vacation memory, animal, gift and song. Enjoy the wonder of their stories and their imagination. Ask them what happened at their school or class, or read aloud a book. Hear the stories of their block buildings and toy towers, their doll houses and doodles. These will open the windows into their world and a door to their heart – a special place reserved for you!
- Instill in them the love for family & friends: Let them see their family & loved ones with a sense of wonder. Let them know that families, friends, uncles-aunts, grandparents, cousins and siblings are really important people. They help us go through life. Let them give them nicknames, and draw cards for them and store little precious throwaways as gifts. Let them call and videocall them. Our children need to know, they have someone to go back to!
- Most importantly let them know – THEY CAN! If there was just one feeling I had to choose to transfer to every child (every person) I know, it would be that “you can”. Let them know all the things that they can – talk to them about how they can chew and taste and draw and narrate, that they can jump and crawl, imagine, love and care and think and solve which is most important of them all! Make them a chart with all the things they “can” and let them know they’re rich, capable and they very surely “can”.