Last night lying in bed I was thinking of a few other things following the post I wrote yesterday!
* How are our relationships with our children? I always find their behaviour is more "off" when I am busy, disconnected and not spending enough time with them. For our kids, this means slowing the pace; making sure we eat meals together, laugh and talk and catch up on the day; sit and read stories/ play together; have plenty of cuddles; and for Saraya- listening to her talk in bed at night! This has become really precious time with her- she lets out so many little things she's thinking about, and it's a reallly good chance to bond with her and stay connected as she grows. Sometimes I'm so tired and just want to go do my own thing, but really try to give her this time as I've recognised how valuable it is! If she's just not settling, I'll say "okay, that's it for tonight, roll over, I'm singing to you now............" :)
* Do we have joy? If we take care of ourselves, getting enough sleep (ha! I know how hard this one can be), exercise, eat well etc., take time out for ourselves, have a positive attitude in general, and hem all our days in prayer........ this leads (for me) to JOY!!! And I have become aware that when I smile and laugh and enjoy my days more, my children do too.
* Are the basics covered? Are the children getting enough sleep? For most kids, this is 10-12 hours a night! Do they have a solid routine at home? Do they feel respected? Have they been taught to respect you? Are there consequences if they don't?
There are so many of these! .............Are they drinking enough water? Getting enough time outside in the fresh air? Enough exercise? Enough free time to just "be kids"? Are they being overstimulated by too much TV? This has really detrimental effects on my children! The best week of our life (okay, Stu accuses me of over-glorifying it, but it was SO good!!) was the week we holidayed at the Animal Farm last May. My children were so so so happy, so content, never squabbled, slept well, ...... were joyful!!! We all were joyful!! They were independent and happy, and so were we. What do I notice about that week thinking back? They had heaps of the above- exercise, outdoors, time with us, a slow pace, no TV, plenty of cuddles, time with both parents, boardgames, etc. etc. Ah, if only every day life could be more like that! I've spent months since trying to figure out how. :)
Anyway, all these things for me go hand in hand with discipline/ child training. If basics like these are covered, we are well on the way to a positive relationship with our kids- and that can be crucial during these years of child rearing.