I love the work of Becky Bailey and “Conscious Discipline.” She talks of the 4 elements of connection which is something we are mindfully including in our Kindermusik lessons.
Regardless of the age of your child, connecting on all levels is essential to not only their emotional state but their brain growth. In a small study done in 1997, scientists discovered through CT imaging the difference it can make in brain size by the age of 3 years if a child has not had sensory stimulation.
These 2 images are of children, both 3 years of age. The left one has had relatively “normal” experiences and stimulation and the one on the right was subject to extreme neglect with minimal sensory exposure.
Connecting with our children provides some of this essential sensory stimulation and is something we need to do mindfully every day.
- EYE CONTACT: not to be underestimated, a child can get a lot of information from our eyes. If we are happy or unhappy with them. Meaningful eye contact can reassure a child letting them know that they are safe, and loved.
- PRESENCE: This means you are totally with your child in the moment. Your body isn’t going through the motions and your mind is thinking about something you forgot to do last night. You are there, right with them, engaged and present.
- TOUCH: The skin and brain are made up of the same embryonic tissue. The skin is the outside layer of the brain. When we touch our children in a positive way, it creates a hormone that is essential to neural functioning and learning. Appropriate, caring touch is essential if we want happy, healthy, well functioning kids.
- PLAYFULNESS: Did you know that being playful with your child increases Dopamine and increases attention spans and social development. Being playful also reinforces your emotional bond and helps to bring balance to a world where you need to discipline.
Along with the 4 ways of connecting, we are also including “I Love You Rituals” into our classes. These give parents extra skills in their parent toolkit; simple ways you can implement at home to include those connecting moments everyday.