Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 Ways To Nurture Your Child

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Let me share with you what a mother’s primary job is.

It’s not cooking dinner, changing diaper, or helping our preschooler glue her colored macaroni. The most important assignment a mom has is to NURTURE her child. 

Let me offer you 5 ways you can nurture your child:

1. Fill your children up with spirit and "aliveness."

We help to enable our children to develop fully by pouring life into them.  We need to model joy and passion. As nurturing moms, we go beyond being the ‘maintenance person’ in our children's lives. We don't just keep our children clean, fed, warm, and dry, but we also teach them to cultivate their passion. 

In our household, there are 3 things that are non-negotiable that inspires them to develop and identify their passion: 

1. to develop a love for music by learning how to play an instrument, dance, or sing
2. to develop a love for discipline by learning sports such as individual or team sports
3. to know how to survive and keep others alive by learning how to swim and to defend themselves and others.

All of them are engaged in taekwondo and football, they are attending music and voice lessons, and are honing their swimming skills for the past 2 years. These activities are meant to enrich them as individuals.

As a mom, I do this by modeling to them my own interest in sports, in playing badminton and squash, and attending dance classes. I inspire their curiosity to explore and discover by taking them 2-3 times a year to spend vacation to different places. It is also our way of educating them outside of school.  

Accompanying our son for his Europe tour for World Youth Cup

2. Make them feel that they are the most important person in the whole world. 

Focus our attention to them and make time whenever possible, avoiding any distractions, so they feel loved and respected.

As nurturing moms, we take time to play, read, and take pictures when our toddlers' spaghetti ends up on their heads instead of in their mouths. We enter our children’s world to see things from their perspective, even it means the carpets don’t get vacuumed for a while or our homes don't get cleaned. We also need to provide emphatic understanding and listening from a position of strength and support.

In the early days of my children's life, I make sure to read books with them and teach them not only their ABC's or their 123's, but to also make time to play with them, crawl with them, and laugh with them.

Now that they are tweeners and teen engaged in many activities, I intentionally chose to be present in their games or tournaments every single time to encourage them, and to let them know that they are important to me. 

I am involved in my children's lives to the extent that I had to know more about these activities and how they can get better at what they love to do.

Winning in the International Schools Tae-kwon-do Championships.

Sharpening their saw: soccer training at FCB Escola Camp

3. Notice and appreciate their special qualities and their individuality.

Take time to identify with them their natural talents, and support them in every way. Have one-on-one dates weekly with your children so you will know their special qualities and the skills they are developing. Make sure to mention that you appreciate them as a person. Celebrate their achievements and their spirit of "trying." We also need to accept their limitations based on their abilities and gifting.

We need to try and seek to know our children as individuals, different as they might be, and bring out the best in each. We can demonstrate by example how to explore life with zest and express the unique gifts God provides each of us. Our nurturing can blossom in their emotional and spiritual growth. 

4. Encourage more activities centered on developing relationships rather than around the television or gadgets. 

Lead your children to spend more time around the family table and work on projects, drinking hot choco, playing board games, learning how to peel carrots or potatoes and make cookie doughs, eating birthday cakes and ice cream, teaching and tutoring homework and assignments, and talking and sharing your day's events.  Many of the most important, interesting, and nurturing things happen in your home.

It makes me sad when I see young families in a restaurant not talking to each other but heavily engaged with their I-Phones or I-Pads while waiting for their food. Parents and children do not talk to each other anymore. They'd rather focus their time on Candy Crush or Facebook than developing their relationships.

5. Teach them the importance and the power of prayer and scriptures.

We need to teach our children that they can always lean and depend on God. When we see someone get into an accident and get hurt, rather than being afraid, ask them to pray with you. Introduce them to the scriptures so they have something to lift them up when they are down. This can help them to handle and tackle life's concerns.

We gave each of our children their Bibles with devotionals appropriate for their age as gifts on their birthdays. We encourage them to read and pray whenever they have something we cannot help them with. This gives them more personal relationship with God and develops their love and trust on Him.

Nurturing is not about doing it all, it’s about doing the best we can, without losing ourselves or driving ourselves crazy because our own needs aren’t taken care of. We need aliveness to pass it on to our children.

Remember, our job is to nurture our children.

How about you? How do you nurture your child?

Keep Walking!

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