Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sharing Footprints -- Some practical parenting tips
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are . . .
More than just a children's song, this has become our family's waiting song.
Children need to learn patience from an early age. They need to wait for their food, wait for the car ride to end, wait to be held, wait for the diaper change to end, wait in their crib when they awake.
This simple song helped them learn to wait. It started as I heated up dinner for our first little boy. I remember him just seven or eight months old and hungry for his dinner, starting to fuss. I gently told him it would come soon and began to sing, slowly, the words to Twinkle, Twinkle.
Magic! He calmed and joined in "babababa" and waved his arms around for the twinkling stars. A habit was born.
It takes us about 30 seconds to sing a verse of the song together and that often seems just about right for quelling impatience and restoring a good mood, punctuated with a smile and Eskimo kisses.
All of my children have since benefited from the patience taught them by the twinkling stars, and they soon learn other ways to occupy themselves when the wait is longer or when they have outgrown nursery songs.
In hindsight I should have chosen a simple hymn or Jesus Loves Me, but I didn't, and the habit is firmly stuck. We do occasionally now sing the Patience song from Music Machine. That has such practical lyrics:
Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient
You only start to worry.
That God is patient, too.
And, think of all the times
When others have to wait for you.
Too late to change our habit, and I don't have any interactive motions to accompany it. Now the first songs our kids learn are generally Twinkle, Twinkle; Jesus Loves Me; and then Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Go figure. I don't think that list bears any direct correlation to the priorities in our home, but it does give me pause now and then.
They learned the essential habit of waiting though, and that is priceless.
More Works for Me Wednesday.
More from my Sharing Footprints series on parenting.