I want to focus some time and attention on love. We all know the famous sayings- yes, it’s a “many splendid thing”, it can “conquer all”, and it “makes the world go round”. It’s also absolutely critical for the mental health of our children. Feeling a sense of love and connection literally changes the wiring of their brains. It changes the chemistry of their blood. It affects the microbiome in their gut.
Our children are exposed to an increasing number of outer influences; social media, various personalities and opinions, screen time, flashing lights, shiny things and loud sounds- all vying for their attention, overwhelming their sensory systems, and separating them from their inner sense of peace and calm. It is in this fast paced age that it becomes even more imperative to build heart connections with our children. To help them find their center and that light that resides in each of us.
Creating a home-life where our children feel safe, loved and connected is the foundation for everything they will experience in life. It is formative in how they will view all relationships going forward. So, it’s absolutely worthy of our time and attention.
Let’s dive into some ways we can build heart connections with our children, at any age and stage of their lives:
- Greet the Day with a Blessing. Welcome your child into the new day with warm, loving words that feel right for your family. Take this sacred time to pause before jumping into the day and let them know you see them and love them. For example, hearing your parents say “Good Morning Sweet One” feels warm and kind to the soul. It is a special way to wake and begin the day in a positive way.
- Create “Touchstones” of Love throughout the Day. Develop rituals that are built on connection. This can be quiet time doing a read aloud with some tea and fluffy blankets on the couch. Lighting a candle and practicing some simple yoga poses. Sipping hot chocolate and chatting while looking out the window at nature. Making a simple snack together and connecting over enjoying it together. Whatever it is, create the space and hold it for you and your child every single day.
- Adventure Together. Planning adventures with your child reinforces their sense of wonder and natural desire for curiosity and exploration. It provides them with much needed time to flex their mental (and sometimes physical) muscles necessary to expand their sense of self. It teaches endurance, self-confidence, and perseverance, helping them to learn that they can do challenging and new things. And doing these things together with you builds connection and strengthens their relationship. There is nothing like the feeling of facing a challenge together and coming out the other side stronger. Create adventures that fit your lifestyle and then branch out to ones that feel slightly uncomfortable. Push the limits. Magic happens in that space! Adventures can range from visiting a new part of town, hiking or exploring nature trails, planning road trips together, visiting a museum or seeing a play. Whatever it is, embrace it with a full open heart and see where it takes you.
- Embrace The Great Outdoors. Being outside, surrounded by natural beauty is a portal to peace. Time away from artificial lighting, buzzing devices and other distractions helps children settle into their natural rhythm. For young children, this can look like a bike ride, free play in the dirt or snow, or collecting rocks to throw into a stream. For older children, a simple walk side by side through your neighborhood or a park creates space to connect. Just walking in silence can be healing for their overworked neurological systems.
- End the Day with a Blessing. Create a night time ritual rooted in gratitude and reflection. Spend a couple of minutes before bed reflecting on your child’s thoughts and feelings of the day. Offer them quiet and loving words to drift off to sleep by. Be sure to tell them how much they are loved and surrounded by love. They need to here it. They need to feel it. They need it every single day.
May you find these suggestions a starting point to build and strengthen heart connections with your child and continue to make them your own for your family. Blessings to you on your journey together.
Peace to All. Life to All. Love to All.