I hope this week has brought many hugs and cuddles.
If your standard week is anything like mine, it is usually a mixture of those and moments when I have to take a deep breath and remind myself to slow down.
Daily routine is so fast that if I am not careful I end up sounding like a broken record; hurry up, brush your teeth, pack your bag, wash the dishes, give me a hug, go to bed…
Then we go to bed and as I lie down I find myself thinking, ‘Hang on, where did today go? Did I tell the kids I love you?’
And this seems to be a common experience for parents.
This week, I ran another session of our school tour called, How Stories Can Help You Parent.
I had the honour of meeting a group of parents with children between the ages of 6 – 7.
We had a very open conversation about the challenges of parenting but also about the way in which being a parent changes our relationship with everyone else; our husband, wife or partner, our parents, our friends.
We asked ourselves, ‘How do we nourish our relationships with others when we are feeling tired or overwhelmed?’
I don’t have all the answers but I do know that stories can help. How?
Stories allow us to build shared routines in an easy way.
Let’s use the book, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, as an example.
Little Nutbrown Hare held on to Big Nutbrown Hare’s ears very tightly because he wanted to make sure he was listening when he said, ‘Guess How Much I Love You’.
He uses his body to express how big his love is – he stretches his hands wide open, he stands on his head and points his toes upwards, he hops up and down, looks out to the hills – and then tells his father that he loves him that much.
But, being bigger, his father can always stretch wider, stand taller, hop higher and see further.
It becomes like a game for the two hares and the little one realises that his dad is always going to be bigger and so he looks up at the moon and says, ‘I love you right up to the MOON’ and falls asleep as his dad whispers, ‘I love you right up to the moon AND BACK.’
The repetition in this story makes children feel safe because they know what to expect.
It is the same in our daily lives with them.
Repeatedly sharing little stories with them makes them feel safe and makes connection easier for us because we are not constantly looking for new things to ‘entertain’ them with.
We connect with them on a deeper level just like Big Nutbrown Hare does.
We feel calmer, they feel safer.
What little repeated stories can you introduce to remind the children that they are safe, loved and precious?
If you need help finding the right stories for your children, reach out to us here!
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.