Last month as part of a brand partnership with Johnsons Baby, I took part in a panel discussion for their Ambassador Academy event. Alongside author Liat Hughes Joshi, cultural analyst Bridget Dalton and author Chloe Combi, my role was to provide the voice of the modern parent and share practical insights on parenting.
I also ran a workshop highlighting the importance of praise, setting boundaries and understanding children as individuals. It was a great day and opened up some really interesting discussions.
“A gentle act of kindness to another builds a gentle world for children to thrive”
What instilling gentleness in the next generation means to me…
Gentle parenting isn’t easy and it’s not about being perfect. We all make mistakes and it’s really important that we accept that and can forgive ourselves. So what can we do to help our children develop and mature into caring, thoughtful, non-judgemental young people?
- Understanding your children and appreciating their development stage. Children develop at different rates, not just physically but their social, emotional, behaviour, communication and thinking skills. Under 4’s find it very hard to control their emotions, so understanding why they may be having a temper tantrum can help you to deal with it. If you have more than one child you probably wouldn’t parent them in the same way. The way you talk, react and help one of your children may be very different from the way you need to be with another.
- Watch and listen. Show them in time and words “I can see you’re trying really hard to put your coat on, if you need any help then I am here” 9 times out of 10, they will try and then ask quicker for help, rather than insisting you do it and then they get frustrated leading to tears.
- Respond to their natural rhythms. Like us, children are all individuals and have different responses to different situations. For example, learning to walk… my 4 boys were all different. My first was 10 months old when he walked and my others all much later, well over 1 year old.
- Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and say “no” with confidence. I know it can be exhausting when we want to get them dressed/fed/bathed etc quickly but giving children a choice helps them to feel like they have some control. For example “you can choose 2 bedtime stories” then when they later ask for a third story you can say “no, we agreed on these two”
- Praise honestly & praise their effort. Children take value from praise so make it matter. Being specific e.g “I can see you’re managing really well to brush your teeth” instead of just “well done” which has not shown them they have made any effort, even if they failed.
What does gentle parenting mean to you?
The Baby Guru