‘A child not only needs “Quality” time but she also needs “Quantity” of our time. If you are not there for her in the first 7 years of life, she will not look for your support in the later years of life.”
If you go wrong in the first 7 years of your child’s life, she will have to spend the rest of her life correcting and overcoming those problems.
Early childhood Years is the time to cultivate empathy and grow emotionally and spiritually. It is also the time to incarnate and learn to live in the society with good self esteem.
“Precocious growth in the early years (0- 7 yrs) manifests typical adult illnesses like obesity, diabetes, depression and burn outs in growing children and young adults”, says Helle.
The Five Golden Rules for Parenting By HelleHeckman
Helle outlined the 5 golden rules of parenting; simple steps that we can all take in our lives, that will ensure that our children grow up physically, as well as emotionally, healthy and happy.
1) Movement: Let the child walk, run, play, jump – children are creatures of movement and learn through it. Lack of movement creates disorder in the child.
A child cannot sit still and listen because he / she does not move enough at other times.
If you put a child on the swing, you also have to push it and help him down. This does nothing for your child. But it does buy us a few quiet moments. Instead you should let your child wait until he is ready to get onto that swing and move his leg to go back and forth, then he will also learn to get off. This will build his self esteem in a healthy way, and you do not even need to praise him, because he already knows that he has achieved something great!
You need to let your child overcome his own challenges. Trust him and let him try on his own.
When a child crawls, walks, climbs own his own, he uses both right and left side of his body. This helps build connections between his right and left brain. Every time you put him in front of the television / laptop, you lose a vital brain connection!
Simple things parents can do: Walk with your child, take them to your local park and teach them to climb a tree, discourage / limit passive state like watching TV etc.
2 Sleep: A child needs approx.. 12 hours of sleep. Studies show that just one hour less of sleep creates the same symptoms as autism in the child. A long afternoon nap cannot make up for shortened night sleep.
They need to move and play so much in the day that when it is sleep time, their brain stops functioning and in a few minutes, they go PLONK!! Almost like they have used up their body for the day
Simple things parents can do: Ensure your child turns to sleep early.
2) Nutrition: Food does not just feed hunger, but is actually the heart of the family. And your child has to be given the right nutrition as well as the right food habits for life
Saying that my child does not eat without television, is not acceptable! When did he get in charge, who is the adult, who taught him to switch on the TV. Take control of the situation now!! Do it with firmness and love. Your child may not eat well for a few meals, but soon things will change. If you child has enough movement in the day, he will eat well.
Simple things parents can do: Eat together as a family, avoid fast foods, encourage children to eat on their own, include them in the process of making food, setting the table etc.
3) Rhythm: Children grow on steadiness – while they do cope with change and adapt to it, they hate any kind of change. It is important to understand this.
Repeat the same thing everyday for the first 7 years of your child’ life. Eat at the same time, sleep at the same time, play at the same time and rest at the same time each day….even on holidays!
It will help children understand what is going on and what is expected of them. They will be able to concentrate better and have better discipline. It will make them good listeners.
Simple things parents can do: Establish a routine and stick to it. Follow this routine everyday.
Have atleast one day when all stay at home. It is healthy even if the children say ‘I’m bored”
4) Love: Last but not the least. Every child thrives on love. They need the reassurance that someone cares for them no matter what. The reassurance that someone is there for them. That is all they really ask of their parents. And that is the biggest thing we can do for them.
Simple things parents can do: If your child is being annoying, put him only our lap, tell him a little story / sing a song, make eye contact. So that he feels that you are there for him.Saying “I love you” all the time is not important, Simple loving gestures will go a long way.
Look at your child as a gift that has been given to you. Value and nurture this gift
These steps are simple to take. They do require a change in our lifestyles, but if we invest the time and effort to make these changes the result will be happiness for our children. And what more can a parent ask for their children, after all?
This Talk on parenting was held at Prakriti – Waldorf Kindergarten (Indira Nagar)