How often do you show your appreciation for your kids? How much do you show them that you love them? How many hugs are you giving them each day? And what does that have to do with having relaxed, stress-free children?
Research shows that being given warm physical contact and knowing that you are loved and appreciated has a big impact on how prone to stress you are. And that applies from birth and probably before birth as well. A baby that is cuddled (ideally skin to skin) will be healthier and more likely to thrive than a baby that has little physical contact. In the third world, where they do not have many incubators, doctors have found that premature babies given skin to skin contact with their mothers are much more likely to survive than those that are not.
Of course, this applies to all babies, not just third world and premature ones. Tiffany Field, PhD, who is director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, states that “cuddling stimulates pressure receptors in your baby's skin that create a host of effects, including reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and improving digestion.” And, if cuddling reduces stress in babies and helps them to be healthier it makes sense that cuddling would have this effect on everyone.
So showing how much you love your children by hugging and cuddling them every day will be a massive help in reducing their stress levels and, what is so important, letting them know that you love them.
Don't forget to tell them you love them, as well. Hearing that they are loved will make them feel good about themselves and increase their self-esteem. When you let your children know how much you love them, you may well find that your children start telling you how much they love too. So you'll be getting back what you are giving.
Your children will be more relaxed if they are feeling confident. There are many ways you can help to boost their self-confidence and one of the best is appreciation. Imagine how you would feel if someone looked you in the eye and told you how great they think you are! You can do that for your kids.
Don’t take this exercise lightly. Tell your children they are great. And, also, take the time to really observe your children and become aware of the things that you love about them, the ways that they are trying to do better, and the wonderful people they are becoming. Choose something specific that you’ve noticed and give your child approval for that. For instance, you might say: “I love the way that you helped your sister with her homework today, she really benefited from how much you know.” Or, “Thank you for helping me to unpack all the shopping today. We did the job so quickly together that I had time to sit down and relax with a cup of tea.”
Not only does showing your children how much you appreciate them
benefit them in many ways, it also teaches them the skill of
appreciation and means that they will become appreciative people as they grow up.
This will ensure that they develop more positive relationships with
other people which, in turn, will mean that they will lead happier and
more satisfying lives. What a wonderful gift!