Other Articles from Patricia Wanjala
Dear Parents : Who is your Child’s Hero?
Children love Superheroes (and Sheroes.) Cartoon characters who exude special powers and always seem to ‘save the day.’ are among their favourite idols.
They may imitate the music, the dancing, and even want to dress and talk like such characters. These revered characters can do no wrong. How can you become your child’s superhero? Here is a wishlist your kids might give you if they were old enough or articulate enough to write them down.
1. Give me your time
No matter how much you spend on your children, the most cherished and coveted possession of yours that they want is your time. Not quality time, but quantity. Heroes always show up when they are needed. Make your child a priority and be there for them.
2. Play with me
Superheroes are fun. They are constantly pulling out fun tricks out of their hats and doing things unexpectedly. Try not to take yourself too seriously and instead get down to their level and play with your child. Use your imagination and laugh with them, scare them and roll around with them.
3. Conquer my fears
Your child may be afraid of the dark, spiders, a new school, or funny noises. She or he may have irrational fears that we are tempted to dismiss as trivial. Remember, a small thing is a big deal to a small person. Empathize with your child, take time to listen and acknowledge their fears. This will empower them to conquer their fear because you will have validated their feelings.
4. Put your device down and listen
Yes, turn off the TV, stop fiddling with your mobile phone, your laptop or the remote. Once your child comes into the room immediately turn to them and look them in the eye. Developing the habit of being ‘hands-free’ in their presence will mean the world to them. This signals to them that your child is important, loved and cared for. Not only will this build their self-esteem and confidence but it will draw you closer to your children. It will also inculcate in them the habit of courtesy and communication – that way once your child becomes a teenager he or she will know to put away their gadgets and listen when you are speaking to them.
5. Laugh with me
Yes, we have seen that it is vital to turn up for your child. Be there, to play with them, to communicate and to listen. It is also important to learn to really laugh with them. If you have started to take yourself too seriously, get acquainted with funny cartoons that your child loves, or character voice impressions. Dig up some joke books on funny channels online and on youtube. No matter how hectic and serious life gets, we must let our hair down when we are with our kids. Family outings are a great way to do this. Get acquainted with your local toy store. Adult colouring books, puppets and props are excellent to get you to loosen up. Your child will be thrilled to see this side of you.