Connecting with our Children is easy – Try This…

One of the consistent signs of great parenting (not just OK, so-so or good-enough) is that children can make warm and constant eye-contact with their mothers (main care-givers) – with little or no teaching from those mothers (main care-givers).

One of the easiest ways that we can connect with our children and encourage eye-contact is to stand in front of our child when they are on the swing.

The motion of rocking is soothing to the human brain. We are in pretty-well constant motion when we are in the womb; when intensely stressed many people will rock themselves; and I’ll bet there are a few parents reading this who have found themselves swaying while they wait in a queue at the supermarket – after the babies have grown up! Our youngest two were sling babies (until 10kg) and still they love to swing.  And swing. And swing. Ad nauseum.

When we are enjoying ourselves we usually like to share our experiences with others who are emotionally important to us.

If we stand in front of our children while we push them on the swing they are a captive audience and it’s an ideal time to consciously improve our relationship with them.

NO!

Do not force eye-contact.

Do not insist on it.

ALLOW it to happen naturally and

ALLOW them to break eye-contact when they want to.

Make your eyes wide as they make eye-contact and open your mouth, really stretch your face – make yourself look excited to see them even if you’re fed-up, tired or bored. Play peek-a-boo by closing your eyes and opening them wide and suddenly or ducking down and suddenly popping-up again.

This way you are connecting with them in a way which is useful to them. They will giggle and a really happy child will show their delight by smiling with their whole bodies – everything about them will light up.

Bingo. Happier, calmer, more compliant child. Oh yes, unless there’s a Power Tantrum immediately afterwards because three* solid hours of swinging isn’t enough…

…in which case we use Mindful Disconnection – of course. 🙂

*exaggeration, making a point, OK.

What’s Mindful Disconnection… a long story…here’s the start here: Connection and Disconnection: Optimal Parenting Part One.

(This is officially how I help put food on the table. If you’ve found this article useful, please feel free to use the Koha button just above my blogroll. Even the smallest amount is appreciated. 🙂 )

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About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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15 Responses to Connecting with our Children is easy – Try This…

  1. Marcy says:

    Ha ha at the three hours being not enough! Story of Amy’s life.

  2. Laura Weldon says:

    Swinging is also a great way to build proprioception, the sensory pathways essential for normal development. Climbing, running, clapping, sweeping, all sorts of movement helps but there’s something about swinging (especially in relation to emotional warmth such as a parent pushing a swing with eye contact or swinging along with mom’s body movements in a baby carrier) that’s particularly important.

    • Thanks Laura. I avoided putting all that in the post because I wanted to concentrate on connection this time, but it *is* great to have this in a comment for anyone who is interested. Appreciate you. 🙂

  3. QueenArtLady says:

    A, it was a sad day recently when Mr 4-year old excited showed me that he can swing himself. I am going to miss those hours at the swing greatly.

  4. Yulia Yudith says:

    Last time I asked my sons to swing but I think they were afraid. But I will try again. Thank you for sharing, karyn.

    Btw if you don’t mind please visit my blog and It will be great if you are willing to left some comment on my posts 🙂
    http://www.mylifeismyrainbow.wordpress.com

  5. bockychoy says:

    You know, Karyn, I never really thought about this! I always push my son from behind, not from the front. He’s older, so it’s easier, but I do notice that he cranes his neck around to look at me sometimes. His eye contact is not like that of his peers. He is autistic and often does everything he can to avoid eye contact, but I’m going to try this the next time we’re at the park!

    • Hi there,
      I am so pleased to hear from you. I find the way autistic children deal with eye-contact and touch fascinating, and it’s great to hear that you think you could use this idea. The key, as I’m sure you already know, is to allow them to break eye-contact as soon as they find it too overwhelming. I have a theory (and I’d love to hear what you think about it) that autism is a form of extreme shyness – in that shy children are actually not so much shy but very sensitive to their environment and easily overwhelmed by sensory information…what do you think – could I be on to something?

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