by Monica Beyer
How does someone show a child that he or she is loved? Below is a list of the many things I do or did to show my children that they are loved very much.
Breastfeed. I believe that this is one of the single most important things a mother can do. Very few medical reasons exist where a mother can not possibly do this. Breastfeeding is extremely important for not only your infant's health, but for the experience you both get and the intimacy involved.
Stop smoking. The act of smoking itself does not automatically make you a bad parent, but the sacrifice you make when you cease smoking is such a great one and the benefits for both you and your entire family are irreplaceable. I stopped smoking two weeks after I discovered I was pregnant, and I thank myself every day for having the strength to stop. Yes, it is very, very difficult, but it is worth every cigarette you don't smoke.
Show affection. From the day they were born, my children have been showered with kisses, caresses, and hugs. Physical contact isn't just nice, it is very necessary for the child to thrive. This is important for not only the mother to do, but daddies, grandparents, and other family members as well. My children are affectionate and they rarely hesitate to give a kiss or a hug.
Spend quality time with them. Oh, I know how tempting it is to put your
child(ren) in front of a Pooh video after a long day of working just so you can have some free time. On occasion this may be necessary to clean the house or get dinner made, but be sure to spend some time with your child only. Actually, I've found things like reading, coloring, and playing with toys to be a great stress reliever. Being preoccupied with work, school, or other out-of-home activities while you play doesn't count. Focus on your kids!
Spend quality time by yourself. On the heels of the last one we have a command to take care of yourself as well as your kids. After the bedtime routine is over and the kids are in bed, do yourself a favor. Read a book or magazine. Take a longer than usual bath. Take a walk. Light a candle or diffuse some essential oils.
Never ignore your child when he/she is in distress. This counts for all children. Babies require the most maintenance. Never let your newborn cry unnecessarily. Babies that age cannot be spoiled, especially with love. As your child grows older, he or she will learn to manipulate you into getting things they covet. Still, you should never make an assumption such as this until after you've checked if he's hurt, sad, frightened, or just wanting a hug.
Be patient. It's when we, as parents, run out of patience that we do things we normally wouldn't do, like speak sharply and hurtfully to our children. Learn relaxation techniques, like breathing deeply, and go with the flow. Nobody ever said that parenting was an easy or stress-free job. We just need to keep our feelings in check and take care of ourselves.
Monica Beyer is the mother of three children: Lauren is 6 months old, Corbin is 4 years old and Dagan is 7 years old. Websites include http://www.signingbaby.com, http://www.naturalmommy.com