Yesterday, while in the playground with my 14 month old son, I observed some interesting phenomena. In-between sliding and swinging I couldn’t help but notice how varied the interactions were between other parents and their kids.
There was another dad carefully guiding his son to take his first steps, celebrating each hands free stride with joy. A mother sat on the bench fixated on her laptop computer, occasionally looking up and shouting instructions to her two children. Another mum was running around the jungle gym with her daughter, laughing and having fun, while two other mum’s engaged in conversation, seemingly unaware of what their kids were up to. There were other parents who were either engaged with their children, or disengaged from them.
Notably, there were parents who were there to play and be with their kids and others were more ‘grown up’ and there to keep a ‘responsible’ eye on their children. I was doing both, playing with my son, and from time to time keeping an eye on the other parents, which kept me quite entertained.
It occurred to me (as it has before) that, “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood“, as Tom Robbins put it. Reprogramming the harmful long term effects of negative childhood experiences is something that I wrote about in my How to Change Your Personal History article. This article focusses on how bonding and playing with children provides tremendous value for both adult and child.
For adults, whether they are parents or not, bonding and playing with children provides instant stress relief as it brings one’s attention right into the present moment. It also provides healing, in the event that you were deprived of adequate nurture as a child. Being childlike and seeing the world through their eyes connects us with an innate innocence and curiosity that sparks creativity and joy.
For children, having parents and caregivers to love, guide and support them unconditionally is fundamental in the development of healthy self esteem, emotional intelligence and wellbeing in life. Scientific research reveals that bonding with and nurturing your child from as early as the beginning of pregnancy, as well as during the child’s birth and throughout the first few years of life, builds a firm foundation for that child’s optimal psychological and physiological development for life. Play and exploration with their parents from the toddler years onwards continues to enrich their relationship and enhances the potential for emotional, social and spiritual development in the psyche of both child and parent.
Conscious parents engage their children with empathy and curiosity in everyday experiences. They take the time to connect before they discipline out of frustration, convenience or the desire to control. This type of Authentic Parenting is based upon the idea that children learn and discover their capabilities through the relationship with their parents. Conscious/Authentic parents pave the way not only for a happy childhood, but for a more harmonious and peaceful society.
What could be more fun and fundamental than discovering more of who you are while enabling your child or any child to learn and grow through play?
So put down your cell phone and go play with a child today. It will make you both happy and it’s good for the world.
Written by Jevon Dangeli – NLP Trainer & Coach