Are you at eye level with your child?

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If it is anyhow possible for you at this very moment,  then try out the following thing:

Go down on the floor and lay on your belly. Lift your head slightly and use your hands to stabilise your upper body. Stay there for some minutes. Imagine now that you are your child. Try to see your surroundings with his eyes. Do you see the dust under your sofa? Do you smell the wooden floor right beneath you? Look what is on your perception level: A toy lying on the floor, daddys socks under the sofa? Try to see now what is lying on your desk or imagine what other people would look like from down here. Try to soak in this perspective. 

There is one reason for this maybe awkward introduction. We can’t easily imagine what it is like to be small. Even though we have been there once. Our children are different from us in height and their perception is thus immensely different from ours.  Can you accept your child’s height?

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It all starts at playing again. Whenever your child plays, he does it at his level of perception and development. He doesn’t long for another height, as he just doesn’t know it exists and as it just doesn’t belong to his world yet. You don’t have to lift your child up the climbing frame at the playground if he can’t climb the latter by himself. Don’t sit him up the slide just because you want him to slide down. There will be the moment when he will do it all by himself. Mostly even sooner than later. And when he does, he will have determined the moment. He was the one who decided. He will also be content with himself, if he has done it all alone. It will help his self-reliance and self-esteem much more than when you just sit him up there. He needs this moment of achievement. Do you want other people to sit your exams?! Help your child being grounded and accept that up the latter might not be his play level at the moment. Don’t disroot him.

This is even more important for small children of course as it not only disroots them but stresses and endangers their body! Don’t put your child in any sitting position if he can’t do it himself (Sitting also includes, if he is leaned against you). Beside physical reasons think of his perspective again. He has a certain time of his life (some months only) when he is supposed to be lying on his back or belly and to explore everything from that perspective. For us it might be awkward to lay on our back and look at the ceiling all day, but for children at that age it is the most natural and pleasant thing. Who are we to say: ok sweety, time to get ready and go to the next level! Accept that it is an important developmental stage for him and that it is highly important for his whole life.

Another point is conversation. If you have something to say to your child and most of all, if it is something emotional like explaining your feelings or a certain boundary  (“I can’t let you hit me again, because it hurts me, so next time you do that I will have to protect myself” ) try to stay on your child’s eye level. Yes, go down as low as possible to speak to him. Only if your child is at eye level, he can properly see your face and perceive what it displays. Are you severe, sad or understanding? You will see, it is much easier to communicate with him that way and your child will be much more responsive. You may also treat your child as you would treat any friend or other adult at the situation. Tell him everything you feel and think as detailed as possible. No matter how old he is, he will comprehend you much better and he will get used to open emotional communication at this sensitive age.

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My last point on height is the one I already mentioned some weeks ago in here. It’s emotional and physical pain. If your child experiences stress, because of growth spurts, shock or injuries, leave him at his developmental height level. For your child our world is full of stimuli and surprises. And especially in a situation where he can’t handle it anymore he seeks for love, support and understanding. Don’t lift your child up to your level. This might feel good and normal for you, but it totally disrupts the situation for your little one. Go down to listen to his pain and most of all: take him close to you if he wants that.

It all comes down to acceptance and respect. Be aware that your child is smaller than you much more often. Your child is much nearer to the ground. He is much more grounded even. All children are,  thank god. He will grow anyway. But let him leave the ground in his pace. Let him grow as slowly  as he needs it.

Susann

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