There are 1460 days from birth until 4 years old. Not much time really in comparison to the remaining 25,915 days, if fortunate to live until 75 years of age.
These early days are considered the most important in the development of this unique individual, your child. Their foundation or blueprint is established during these years. What their personality will be, strengths, weaknesses and character traits; early interests; relationships and how to relate to the larger world; manners; healthy eating and sleeping habits; language skills; becoming comfortable in their body and self esteem; the ability to follow directions from others; a willingness to be open to learning; understanding structure and routine – all the essential building blocks are laid in this relatively short period of time.
My goal with the Slow Parenting Movement, is to encourage and support parents and caregivers to fully understand the value of their input in the lives of these young children. Giving permission to enjoy and not rush through these early days, or treat them as inconsequential, is at the core of this mission.
Your influence upon your child’s early development is one of the greatest undertakings. It requires infinite patience and countless mindful choices and while at times, this might feel endless, never doubt how important your example is.
Children learn from us how to live in this world. When we become distracted by multi-tasking, texting, chatting on the phone, worrying about issues beyond our control, we lose valuable quality time with our little ones and indeed ourselves. Unwittingly, we are teaching our children that this behaviour is the norm. They will mirror our behaviour and respond to our signals.
I do understand the hardships of raising children today. As a single mother for most of my son’s life, I had to juggle many jobs and know only too well, how difficult the struggle can be. What James and I did remember, was for the time when we were together, we would be engaged and present, sharing space together, even in silence. We both knew that the other was there and we were paying attention. A question could be posed. A thought shared. We did not hover or need to orchestrate. Somehow we found a balance that brought us both peace.
Trust your instincts. You are capable. Give yourself credit for the hard work and sacrifices that you are dedicating to your family. Enjoy the quiet time between all the busy-ness of your days.
Treasure these 1460.
c Jean Alice Rowcliffe 2012