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I’m not a patient person at the best of times. But I want to be a positive and nurturing parent for my daughter so that we can establish a healthy relationship as she grows into her own person. Keeping this goal in mind, with the help of some of my favourite positive parenting quotes, helps both my husband and I at the most challenging of times as our almost three-year-old is learning to identify and control her little emotions.
#1. This too shall pass
This is probably my favourite positive parenting quote since starting my journey into motherhood.
My daughter has not been the greatest of sleepers since we hit 3-and-a-half months. At almost three years old, Ella still climbs into bed with me most nights.
I attribute most of her issues with staying asleep to being in a Pavlik harness and then a rhino brace to treat her Developmental Displacia of her Hips. Between 6 weeks and 6 months, Ella was in a Pavlik harness and then from 9 months to 18 months, the rhino brace.
The positioning of her hips meant that she woke herself every sleep cycle as she knocked the bars of her cot. We ended up putting her in the spare Queen-size bed with me from 11 months just so she could sleep comfortably.
And now, my cuddly little three-nager still wakes multiple times a night demanding ‘mummy cuddles’. She gets a small cuddle and then is put back to bed, however some nights she gets absolutely distraught and wants more cuddles to go back to sleep. These are usually the nights where I am the most exhausted from a hard day at work.
And this is where, along with our treacherous sleep journey, I inhale, centre myself, despite the frustration of being woken multiple times a night and exhale, mentally chanting ‘This too shall pass.’
This is a reminder that one day, the trials and tribulations attached to parenting in the younger years will pass. And I hope that as she enters a new stage of emotional development, Ella still wants her ‘mummy cuddles’. I just hope she expresses that want in a less whiny way.
#2. “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos” – L.R. Knost
Children have very immature cognitive reasoning skills. These skills mature as your child grows. Toddlers and very small children often FEEL emotions but don’t know how to express themselves, often resulting in emotional outbursts, whinging and what most adults would see as ‘poor behaviour’.
Older children that never adequately learned to articulate their emotions may also be prone to emotional outbursts.
How grating is it when your child has spent the last couple of hours just whining for what we perceive to be no reason? I know constant whining and emotional outbursts from my daughter cause me to get more and more agitated. I’m not proud to admit but I get snappy sometimes.
But that’s when I need the reminder that my daughter is relying on me, the adult with more mature cognitive abilities to show her how to articulate and regulate my emotions. Joining her chaos won’t help.
I saw this positive parenting quote about a year ago when I was scrolling through Pinterest and it inspired me.
How can we share our calm with our little ones when they feel overwhelmed?
Create a safe, calm down space.
I set up the teepee tent that her grandmother gave her for Christmas, placed a pillow and light blanket in there, and put a lullaby bear in there for her. I let her know that it’s her personal space. She knows when she is feeling overwhelmed, she can escape the chaos.
Sometimes she asks me to come with her. Sometimes she wants me to sit at the entrance of her tent and read a book while she calms down. Sometimes she goes and lays on her pillow and plays quietly with her doll.
Creating a ‘calm down’ area has been really helpful in reducing whinging and tantrums when she is overwhelmed with emotions, especially after a long day and she is overtired but it’s not yet time for bed.
I deliberately created our ‘safe space’ in the loungeroom where I have my essential oil diffuser going. In the lounge room, I tend to diffuse calming blends to help everyone wind down after a busy day. My favourite blend is ‘Calming the Child’ because it works for the big child too (the hubby!).
#3. “Too much love never spoils children. Children become spoilt when we substitute ‘presents’ for ‘presence'” – Anthony Witham
This one says it all. I love this as a reminder that I don’t need to provide the best of every material item for my daughter, she just needs my love. Which I have more than enough of.
Despite working full time, I don’t feel my child misses out on my presence because every morning and evening, we spend quality time together.
How do we use presence instead of presents to enrich our child’s life?
- We eat breakfast together in the mornings she wakes with me at 5.30am before I madly rush to get ready for work.
- Every evening, I sit her on the kitchen bench and we cook dinner together. These activities may take longer than they have to if I was to just put the TV on, or banish her to her toy area, but we have such an amazing bond.
- We read bedtime stories every night.
- We spend time as a family on the weekends. Weekends in the garden are one of my favourite things to do with Ella. She helps us weed, we play catch and fetch, she helps water the garden.
I keep reminding myself that experiences with her parents are what will help raise a loving, compassionate and well-rounded child. At her age, the smile on her face at spending time with mummy and daddy is the best reminder that our presence is the most enriching thing for her development.
#4. “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them leaves an impression” – Dr. Haim Ginot
This one resonates with me so well. I still have vivid memories of my childhood that affect me today, positive and negative.
Being aware of how your childhood can impact a person in adulthood is what reminds me to parent with respect even in the most challenging of times.
When your child is whingy, it is annoying as hell. But ask yourself why? Most of the time, they need emotional reassurance for whatever is bothering them. And often they don’t have the words to explain why they have the feelings that are making them so emotional.
Provide that emotional reassurance and that will be the impression you leave on your child. They’ll know that you’re there for emotional support when they need it most.
#5. “The children who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways” – unknown
This is the best reminder that a child that is ‘acting out’ by our standards, normally just needs our love. And this is the perfect opportunity to show them the love they need.
Have you ever noticed how talking to your child quietly and calmly in a reasonable way about their poor behaviour and how it affects other people is more effective than yelling at them and sending them to their room?
These are some of my favourite reminders of the power of positive parenting. Does your family have a mantra that keeps everyone calm in your home?