Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Does Your Child Run To You?

He ran to me! 

My 8-month-old baby ran to me from the other end of his crib. He is just starting to walk. He can only make a few steps on his own before he would fall again. 

Last night, he ran to me with so much excitement and joy!

His joy was evident and contagious! His smile and excitement were contagious! I could see it in his eyes. I can see it in the way he smiled and moved forward with eagerness. I could see it in his outstretched arms.

Look how big my baby's smile is!
We can see his two lower teeth (his first two teeth) already!

He fell before reaching my hands at the opposite end of his crib but it's okay. His spirit was not dampened. He was simply happy to see me there... present to him... watching him... cheering him... encouraging him... lovingly gazing at him and celebrating his every step.

He was happy, confident and brave enough to run even though he is still struggling with this new skill simply because I was there. My presence spurred him to do something that is beyond his current skill set. I am pleased that this was the effect of my presence to my son.

I am blessed to have these moments with my baby. Actually, I had been so blessed to have these kind of moments with all of my children.

I had been home since I got pregnant with my first child. Thus, I was there to witness and celebrate almost every single day and moment in their young lives.

Then, it dawned on me that my children will not always run to me. So, it's good to seize each and every opportunity to embrace them every time these opportunities come.

I realized that as our children grow older, they will run to us less often. I have seen this in my eldest child who is now 6 six years old. He still runs to me a lot but now that he's older, he runs to many other things as well and to other people. He runs to his toys and his books. He runs to his playmates. He runs to things that make him curious and that excite him or make him happy.

But he still runs to me many times each day. He runs to me to show me the products of his wild imagination. He runs to me to show me something he built using his building blocks or wooden blocks like the very detailed car park building, house or robot he designed. He runs to me to show me his drawings or art works. He runs to me to share something new he has discovered or learned. He runs to me to show the worksheets he has answered. He runs to me to share his accomplishments like the "books" he finished writing and illustrating. He runs to me to share his stories, his plans and his dreams. He runs to me when he is excited, happy, hurt or afraid. He runs to me for help. He runs to me when he has questions.

The same is true with my younger child who is 3 years old. He runs to me to do most of what his big brother does and so much more. He runs to me when he wants to listen to a story or read a book. He runs to me when he wants a kiss and a hug. He runs to me when he wants to be defended or protected. He runs to me when he wants to learn or know something. He runs to me when he wants someone who will listen to him. He runs to me when he wants to sing and dance. He runs to me when he wants his picture taken. 

My children run to me because of many reasons. When they were still babies like my third baby now, they run to me for milk most of the time. They run to me for assistance in doing many things. But as they grow older, they run to me less because they had been learning to do things on their own and to discover new things on their own. But I love that they still run to me to share their new learnings and discoveries afterwards.

I think that running to me has become their default because I have done three things consistently over the years that made them behave this way. And if you want your children to run to you as well, I suggest that you also do these three.

3 Things To Do So Your Children Will Run To You

1. Make running to you an option. Your children wouldn't consider this an option unless you make it known to them that this is something they can do. Let them know that they can run to you through your words and through your actions. Call them or tell them that you are there and that they can approach you. If your children are not used to running to you, encourage them. Don't force them. But keep inviting them. 

2. Be consistently present to your children. You need to be present to your children most of the time especially when they need you the most. That would powerfully convey to them that they can run to you when they want to or need to. Your presence is the most poignant proof that they really can run to you. Your presence will give credibility to your words that they can come to you. When you are not consistently present, they may think that you will not be there next time they want or need to run to you.

3. Make them want to run to you. There are many ways to make your children want to run to you. But these are all rooted in how you make them feel when they run to you. I do not claim that I do all these perfectly all the time. But I do strive to make my children feel this way as often as I can. 

Here are some ways:

  • Make them feel welcomed. We parents are always busy and it can be very           challenging for us to make them feel welcomed all the time. I have learned that when we are busy, it's alright to be honest with them by letting them know what we are currently doing and why we are doing the task at hand. But it's also crucial that we still make them feel welcomed most of the time and when they are still little so that when they are older, they know that they are welcomed. Mom/dad is just busy at the moment. When you have deposited much in your child's emotional bank account and made your child feel welcomed early on in his/her young life, your child can accept more easily the times when you will tell him/her that you are currently busy doing something and that you will spend more time with him/her later when your current task is done.
  • Make them feel loved. You can make them feel loved with your words. The way you speak to them also communicates your love. Make your actions or gestures communicate love as well, including your facial expressions when they turn and run to you. Children notice a lot of things. You'll be amazed to discover what they usually notice if you take time to ask them and listen to their answers. So do your best that your words, tone of voice, facial expression, gestures and actions all communicate love. 
  • Make them feel important. Children feel important when their parents make time for them and the things that matter to them. If your kids are still small, their play time matters to them. Their stories matter to them no matter how trivial these stories are or even when they do not make sense to you. Your presence and willingness to make time to listen to them and to their concerns make them feel important. Your willingness to help them when they need assistance on something or when they have questions communicate to them that they are important enough to be heard.
  • Make them feel happy. The wonderful thing about children is that it is easy to make them happy. The simplest things make them smile, laugh and bring them joy. A lot of times, if we just allow ourselves to spend more time with them, we will also catch their joy and find humor in ordinary things or situations. When we regularly make time to pause and make them happy, we teach them to associate happiness with our presence or company. That makes them want to run to us more and often.
  • Make them feel safe. One way to make them feel safe to run to you is by being open to them and their feelings. Let them get used to expressing themselves to you whether they are experiencing positive or negative emotions. When they know and have experienced this with you over time, then they will automatically run to you because they know that it's okay to be honest with you. They are safe to be themselves when they are around you. They will feel comfortable with you. Your presence will be a source of comfort in times of trouble and distress. 

Our children will eventually grow up and need us less but if they experience having you as someone they can always run to for anything, they will remember you not only with fondness and gratitude but they will continue to run to you even when they are already adults and parents themselves.

Does your child run to you? What moves your child to run to you?

Do you want to be remembered by your child as the kind of parent he/she can always run to? 

I believe that most parents want to be present to their children but are struggling to do this because of financial concerns. If you are serious in becoming a parent whom your children will always want to run both in good times and in bad, I invite you to take a look at my coaching program called iHOPE with Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. It's a 3-Step Success System that can help parents like you to become present to your children while at the same time earning money for your family. You can read more about this here.

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