It’s Time to Smile!
Posted November 21, 2011on:
Holidays are here. I already hear the moans and groans. While I am tempted to join you, I will instead say these words of wisdom offered by my mother each and every year; “Stop it and enjoy!” Words to live by.
Unless you live in a bubble, this is what you have noticed….While there are still jack-o-lanterns on porches, there are also wreathes with fancy “turkey” feathers and cornucopias to signal Thanksgiving. In the middle of all of this are twinkling holiday lights on trees and lawn blow-ups of Santa with his reindeer ushering in Christmas. Stores are a mix of orange, browns, green & red, treats, turkeys and tinsel.
We are often overwhelmed and actually annoyed by all of this. As adults, we wonder why there is no time between times! And it shows.
But what do our children think?
- Babies have no idea what a calendar is or what our formal systems of time are like. But babies are completely tuned into you. They absolutely know when you are excited, happy and relaxed. They also know when you are rushed, aggravated and stressed. You are their world. Babies are brilliant.
- Toddlers recognize a calendar as boxes that you write on. It hangs in the kitchen. Or calendars are part of their friendship gathering circle in childcare. Toddlers pay attention. They hear the way your voice sounds and they know the way your body moves when you are having fun, when you get excited and when you are happy. They also know what you are like when you hurry, complain or feel frazzled. Look at a toddler’s eyebrows to know what they are thinking. They will be like you.
- Preschoolers and young school-agers are getting the hang of time systems. They are typically good at understanding the big picture. They understand about seasons, then move into calendar months that “go with” a season of the year. Small time is recognized and remembered when it is meaningful, i.e. birthdays, game days and holidays. They don’t miss a trick. Preschoolers and young school-agers are totally aware of what your triggers are and your reactions to them. This worries them and can keep them anxious. They don’t like it when you are stressed and they take everything personally. Preschoolers crave the sound of your laughter and delight in the times you laugh together. They totally soak up your attention and affection. They are like you.
So, once again, I know my mom is right. There is never enough time and this time of year can bring out the best or the worse in us. In reality, this is the perfect time that offers us ways to honor and cherish all that we hold dear. A time to show family and friends unconditional love. Or we can be swallowed up in a time that offers us ways to complain and feel helpless.
Either way, our children will know what we choose.
So, let’s stop whining – and smile!
“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” – Denis Waitley
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director