Here is how we can all savour our children more – while they are still little
My little girl just started secondary school this week.
I really can't wrap my head around how that happened.
It feels like only yesterday when she was lifted up, all warm and slippery and so brand new, onto my chest by the midwife who delivered her. Like mere seconds since she took her first steps or started talking or walked into school on that very first day. And yet it isn't. Time has slipped in, as it so brutally does, and here we are, twelveyears on, and she is growing up in front of my very eyes.
Little by little, with changes so small they are invisible in the day-to-day race, she is no longer a toddler and barely a child, and my heart aches to just slow down time a little bit.
Which is why, I think, this blog post I came across today, just seemed to hit home. It centres around us savouring our children while we still have them. Soaking up the magic that is our kids every second we get the chance, and boy, am I here for it. This school year, I have decided, is about to become my year of living more by intent, by purpose. Learning to say no to things I don't want to do, and saying yes to more enjoying, more soaking up and more savouring.
Sounds good? I know.
And here is the beautiful list Erica Layne from The Life On Purpose Movement just shared to her blog – just to inspire us all to savour our kids more.
1. Watch them when they sleep.
2. Inhale them after they bathe.
3. Steal some extra time brushing your child’s hair. Keep on brushing it straight through the teen years.
4. Read the heartfelt things your kids write about you and let them sink in. (When our kids give us valentines or birthday cards, are we really taking their words in? It’s time to start.)
5. Break a personal parenting rule or two. I recently took my 3-year-old daughter to get a pedicure. I mean, she’s three! But as it turns out, it’s a memory I’ll savour for a long time.
6. Be silly. Sing at the top of your lungs in the car, dance in the grocery store, or pull a harmless prank.
7. Let them climb into bed with you (sometimes).
8. Don’t round UP on their ages. Even if your child turns 7 in two months, keep thinking of him as 6. There’s no need to hurry childhood along.
9. Fill your home with photos of them.
10. Practice living simply so your mind is clearer, which—in my case—helps me experience more moments as they come.
11. See your children through a camera lens.
12. Capture, whether with your camera or a pen and paper, not just their milestones but the scenes you see every single day.
13. Choose one thing you can accept, rather than tolerate. Letting go can alleviate so much agitation and allow you to live more in the now with your loved ones.
14. When they’re hurting, try to place yourself in a similar situation from your past and really remember what it felt like to be where they are.
15. Prop your phone camera up and use the time-lapse feature to record a family meal or a homework session. Looking at it later will help you appreciate the beautiful chaos of raising children.
16. Watch them closely when their minds are fully engaged in something they love.
17. Do something for you. Often. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
18. Climb under some blankets and read to them. (And for those moments, choose not to let it bother you when you get sat on and accidentally elbowed a dozen times during your reading session.)
19. Get rid of guilt. It’s clouding your view.
20. Regularly take some time to remember your childhood. It’ll help you better appreciate theirs.
21. Claim for yourself and your family a distraction-free block of time. A morning with your laptop closed, an afternoon away from your phone…
22. Use this mental image to help you refocus on what—and who—really matters to you.
23. Make it your goal for a day to double the amount of eye contact you have with your children.
24. When you pack away a size of clothing your child has outgrown, make a little ritual of remembering this last stage and how quickly it passed.
25. Take more video footage!
26. Build yourself a supportive village. Not a lot of “savouring” goes on when you’re parenting on an island. (Too much energy is going to survival.) We need each other.
27. Organize some one-on-one dates with your children. If you need structure for this (and simplicity!), try letting your child stay up 15 minutes late—to do something just with you—on the date of her birthday every month. For example, a child born on April 16th would have one-on-one time every 16th of the month.
28. If your child is old enough to text, take screenshots of cute text conversations you exchange.
29. If hurrying makes you agitated, try building more free space into your schedule so you don’t have to rush so much between activities.
30. Snuggle up with them for movie time.
32. Experience something new with them—something they’ve never seen.
Have YOU got anything to add to this list, mums? How do YOU savour your children?