Here are the essential takeaways from Nestokid Grow Happy Nation event and lessons I imbibed from Ms. Rizason G.T. Ng, Psychologist of Ateneo Bulatao Center.
To be able for your child to grow happy:
1. Validate - validate the uniqeness of each child. Because when we validate their uniqueness, we give them a sense of significance. It develops their sense of self and makes them feel that they matter and that they are important.
Child: Mama, I hate my classmate, I hate my teacher.
Tayong mga mommies sinasabi natin agad "Uy, mali yan. Don't say that masama yan. " Pero kasi when we say that, it makes the child feel and think "Ay, mali ba ako? Mali ba ang sinabi ko? Bad ba ako?
Instead, we should practice Reflective Listening. We ask them : Why are you angry? What did your classmate say?
We accept what they are saying without judgement that what they did was bad or selfish. Allow children think their thoughts and feel their feelings through and mirror it back to them.
2. Encourage- sometimes we are quick to tell them what is the wrong thing that they did and say "Mali yan, dapat ganito..." sometimes we forget to teach them what is the right way to do it. Focus on the abilities, not just their failures and their mistakes. Because if we are able to encourage them, we help them build their sense of competency. The belief that " I can do it pala. I'm not bobo. I'm not tanga. Marunong din pala ako." This instills a sense of hope in them. In the long run kapag mayroong challenges and struggles they can say " Nahihirapan ako ngayon, pero kakayanin ko 'to." It begins when we encourage them. Be also mindful of their developmental stages kasi iba-iba naman depende sa age. Baka nag e-expect tayo masyado sa 5- year old na bata na pang 12 years old na gawain. Always see the gifts of our children and not just their failures. Let's focus not on their failures but also on the things that they are doing right. Be mindful of the words we say to our children.
3. Interact. Let's not forget that we need to interact even at the end of the day. We eat together. When we interact with them, we help them build social skills. When we interact, it helps build intimate family relationships. When we interact remember to still validate and encourage.
4. Be involved. Allow our children to be involved in our family planning, decision making, food preparation. When we get the children involved, we convey TRUST. It makes them feel that they matter in the family. It help the children develop a sense of productivity and fulfillment. It also teaches children to be independent kasi nabibigyan ng little tasks at home. It also gives them a sense of competency and confidence. Part of being involved is to COLLABORATE. Bring the children into the table and get them to talk about issues, conflicts, plans of the family and who knows you might find out na maganda din pala ang idea ng anak mo. Collaborate , they pick up your language, they pick up on how the family communicates, minsan even sa pag discipline. Discipline- kapag may ginawang hindi maganda collaborate with them kung paano ico-correct. Sa kanila mangagaling ang gagawin kaya magiging committed sila gawin ang tama. 2- way communication.
In playing, they develop cognitive skill. Maiisip nila na kapag ito ang nangyari, ano ang magiging effect and consequences? It helps their cognitive skills of planning, decision making. It also gives them sense of affiliation. Para iwas na rin affiliation sa iba na maaring maging masamang influence sa kanila. Let's get the children involved at home.
5. Rituals. Constant family practices that is very predictable, regular, something that children can come to expect. It helps children to observe limitations and rules and alam ang priorities. Kami, kapag weekends mostly Saturdays, alam na ng mga bata aalis kasi magsisimba at magm-mall. So, kapag may magyaya sa kanila kapag "Family day" namin. Hindi pwede 😉
6. Organization. Not just a place for everything and everything in its place. When we say organization, it gives them a settled feeling with when activities, things, people are where they should be. Guilty ako dito... ang gulo ng bahay namin dahil sa mga tokens na inuuwi ko from events at mga pinapadala ng brands. Kaya maglilinis na ako talaga at is-share ang iba. And ang oras ng tulog ng mga bata sa gabi naiiba dahil naapektuhan ng work schedule ni MITD. Ito ang dapat kong ayusin din. When we are organized, it gives the children a sense of security and stability at home and eventually independence. Magiging independent sila na even if wala ng rules sa bahay, they can self regulate.
7. Express. Allow children to express their thoughts and feelings. Again in tandem with #1- validate. Kung may gusto i-express tanggapin natin na minsan may good minsan may bad. Also know their language of love when they express.
5 languages of love : service, affirmation, touch, gifts, time.
Let's provide children with a sense of affection and security that their thoughts and behaviors are accepted. Let's be careful that when we allow our children to communicate hindi tayo quick to react. Let's have language : LISTEN first. Hindi yung magsasalita pa lang "ano ba yan? Ano ba yan?" (In an irritated voice). Listen muna. This I have to practice.😬 sorry kids. Guilty na naman this mum. Mahal ko kayo 😘
8. Perspective-taking. Let's not be limited in our Point of View (POV). Sometimes we need to know what does it looks like from a child's POV? We look at the situation. Short-term/ long- term. Subjectively/objectively.
Ms. Ng shared the story about the Thai boys who were trapped in a cave, whatever happened kaya the night before na pinagalitan ng nanay ang bata, the next day hindi na nakauwi kasi may nangyari na hindi maganda. In the long run maiisip mo na, importante pa ba na pinagalitan mo siya the night before or mas importante buhay ang anak natin, alerto, malusog at kasama natin? Sometimes there are things that is not important to fight about, there are some things that is more essential. When we practice perspective-taking, we become more harmonious in the family, because we become less angry. We focus on what are the things that truly matter for us.
9. Presence. Be present to our children. It begins with our body language. Kapag tumabi na sa atin ang ating mga anak kahit gaano tayo kapagod sa buong araw, put everything down especially our phones!!! and talk to our child. Eye contact, language and ang kamay sana wala ang telepono. Guilty? Ikr. Marami akong kilalang ganito. Be present to our children.
10. Self-care. Sometimes we aspire to be the "perfect mom". There's no such thing as "perfect". It's okay to be a good- enough mom. We can never be the perfect mom. Accept it. Believe in what you are doing as a mom. Let's all practice self-care by being kind to ourselves. When you are good-enough mom to yourself, you will convey that feeling to your child because you will be kind to your children. Sometimes, if you want to be the perfect mom, you translate it to your children. If I'm a perfect mom, I have to have a perfect child. But if I'm a good enough mom, I can have good enough children. That's being realistic.
Self-care is essential because you can not serve from an empty vessel. Kahit a short vacay, a 15-minute chicka with your friends or coffee dates (pwede na din 3-in-1 coffee kung #petsadepeligro, face mask sa bathroom for 10 minutes, 30-min walk outside makapag suot man lang ng bra sa labas masaya na sa pakiramdam yun di ba? Have a short "me-time" because, c'mon, YOU DESERVE IT, mum! Try it.
Remember: Happy home, Happy Children or mas maganda kung Happy Mom+Happy Children = Happy Home ❤