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.
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. 🙂 )