I thought that celebration would be a good theme for February, as most of us will be truly fed up of winter and longingly wishing for warmer climes. February is after all the month in which we traditionally celebrate ‘romantic love’ on St Valentines Day, and Carnival – the celebration before the calm contemplation of Lent. But what is all this celebration for and what has it got to do with positive parenting?
- an act of celebrating.
- the festivities engaged in to celebrate something.
These celebrations are of course festivities we engage in to celebrate a shared experience. St Valentines Day may only be recognized in some countries but where it is celebrated, the date February 14th and the idea that we send our loved ones tokens of our affections on this date are a shared experience (or not as the case maybe!) Anyhow the point is that an act of celebrating has been ritualistic in human societies since the beginning of time. Celebrating seasons, harvests, endings and beginnings but why do we celebrate.
A celebration can be seen as a pause, a moment in time when we recognize something outside our normal ‘humdrum’ routine, an act of thanksgiving or when we recognize an achievement – an agreed goal that we have reached. It is this last definition that I feel is so important to positive parenting. As adults we become experts at never ending ‘to do lists’. The realization that we will never get it all done can come as a revelation that is either depressing or emancipating. Everywhere we see inspirational quotes about enjoying the journey and living in the Now, but often we are just too busy adding more and more things to tick off on the way to that fateful day when we have done it all and we can at last relax. It is in general an adult preoccupation. Children indeed do have things they need to do but often these are just things they do to appease us until they can go out to play…
Playtime to children is often a celebration of life – here in the now!
But we all know that as parents there are things we do need to get done like preparing meals and doing laundry, and of course we want to teach our children to be responsible adults one day who understand the importance of getting these tasks done before play. But wouldn’t it be great if we could incorporate play into our everyday family lives?
So why not get the kids involved. Spread out the laundry on your bed and set the timer. See who can sort their own laundry into piles, fold it and put it away the quickest. Give them all their own bag and send them off on a 15 minute dash around the house picking up all their toys/books and knick-knacks then return them to their rightful place in their rooms. Prepare a simple meal together or set them another easy household task – and then and this is important celebrate together!
Learn to celebrate together the ticking off of a task on that list before you move on to the next task. Do a silly dance, share a treat, give each other a ‘smiley’ sticker (including mums & dads) – recognise together a job well done. And in your everyday life don’t forget to do the same when you finally file that tax return. After all the list is NEVER ending why not really enjoy the journey.
Lynn Frank is a coordinator for Passage, the Parent Support Group for the English-speaking community in Luxembourg. If you would like to know more about our work contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org