Some of my favorite moments happen when Caidin and I are doing things that allow us to ‘just be’. These moments create a great sense of connection. If your child is little, start doing these things now and they will become things you and your child turn to often, even as they grow-up. If your child is older, start doing these things yourself and invite your child to join you. Don’t push, don’t insist, just invite and be sure to do them, even if your child says ‘no’. Eventually your child will say ‘yes’ to one of your invitations.
Baking – I love baking in general, but I especially love to bake with Caidin. For me, baking has a meditative quality to it. I think it’s because of the process and all that measuring. When I’m baking with Caidin there is also something about the process of creating something together that we then get to eat that is very rewarding and bonding. As he has gotten older his contributions are increasing. He can now get ingredients out, measure, stir and mix. I’m reluctant to talk about what a child can learn through baking, because I really want you to focus on connecting today, but baking does offer countless ways to integrate fractions, addition and subtraction, measurement and time into your day-to-day. On the whole, baking is a great way to connect with your child. Just remember to let them do what they can, help them with what they can’t and either decide together on what you are going to make, or take turns each time you bake something.
Reading – Reading is such a wonderful gift in general, but when you delve into a book with your child you have a whole world to discuss and explore that offers a neutral place – it isn’t yours and it isn’t your child’s. I started reading to Caidin very early on and it has always been a time when the outside world just disappears. As he has gotten older, he will often come to me and say ‘Can I read to you?’ Sometimes he reads his Highlight’s magazine, sometimes from a book he’s interested in. Regardless of what we read, it is that feeling of comfort, peace and connection that makes reading together special.
Sitting – I started ‘just sitting’ with Caidin when we lived in Brooklyn. I’d find a spot:-the front stoop, a park bench, the steps of city hall- and I say ‘let’s sit for a few minutes.’ And then we would. We would ‘just sit’ there for no reason other than to sit together. If it’s raining, I especially like to go and sit somewhere to watch the rain. Taking a few minutes to sit together, with no agenda or purpose creates a space where you and your child can ‘be’ instead of ‘do’. Some of my favorite memories with Caidin happened when we were ‘just sitting’ and apparently some of his favorite moments happen then too, as he will often say to me ‘remember that time we sat on the rocker and watched the rain?’ or ‘remember when we used to sit on the stoop in Brooklyn?’
Walking – Walking has so many wonderful health benefits, but it’s also a great way to bond and connect with your child. You can pick different spots to explore, making each walk an adventure. When you walk, start by being quiet and just enjoy your surroundings and the company of your child. As you walk, conversation will unfold naturally and if it doesn’t it’s a great way to teach your child that talking isn’t always necessary.
Gardening – Anytime we can create something with our child, it’s a good moment. Gardening helps us bond by working together to care for the earth and then we get to watch the fruits of our labor come to life. Digging in the earth is grounding, focusing and calming as well. During the winter, you can look through gardening catalogues and plan together for the coming growing season.
These are just a few ways to connect with your child through ‘being’. Although these are all actions, when we are doing them, we can find a place to simply ‘be’. We spend so much time rushing to get places or having an agenda, or needing to do one thing or another. Gifting your child with the ability to ‘be’ will benefit them today and in the future. Whether it’s taking a moment to sit or getting lost in a good book or enjoying the process of baking something wonderful, ‘being’ is a life-long strategy that will help you and your child foster a strong and bonded relationship.
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide, a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, to schedule an appointment with her or inquire about having Christine speak please email her.