We’ve all heard the expression: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Where is our village in this online social world and how do can we raise a child for the village?
Motherhood is joyous and beautiful. It’s also feels like time the days are long but the years are short. Each of us have different struggles and different routines. The one thing I hear the most on social media is “Where is the village?”
Part of me wants to reach out to every mother and say in those crazy sleepless nights your aren’t alone.
I think the best thing we can say is: “When you’re ready, reach out.” It’s as though piece by piece we have to take down our walls and allow others in. Sometimes we brick by brick add to that wall, but if we need help we also have to give help. When you are struggling please focus on you and our family. Allow yourself time to adapt to a new feeding routine or toddler toileting time. Your family comes first.
What I’ve noticed after having each baby is that when we see other mums face-to-face not on social media at play groups, parks, school drop offs or church we let down our walls and say: “I’m not going okay.” Believe me when we are honest we let others in. Other’s who want to help and can help. When someone asks “how can I help you?” that’s the best question of all.
If you’re wondering “Where is my village?” Let me ask you are you seeking help? When you have times of clarity in motherhood, where you’re kicking goals are you thinking of those who helped you get there? Can you return the favour or just simply thank them?
How Can I Make Motherhood Friends?
- Once coronavirus social isolation rules are over, try a weekly face to face coffee catch up.
- Instagram or Facebook Message someone you met at kindergym, play group or another mother you pass regularly walking.
- People usually prefer to meet somewhere public with play space.
- Join a local MOPs group (Mother’s Of Preschoolers newborn-school aged mothers).
Raising A Child For The Village.
Once you come out of the stormy clouds of newborn life or other mummy challenges you have faced, reflect on how the village supported you. I like to think about how can I raise a child that has their own village to lean on, and be an active participant in that community.
Kids need to build social skills. As hard as it is the earlier the better. Getting them to meet with other kids or FaceTime builds conversation skills.
Preschooler Social Skills:
- Taking turns
- The beginnings and endings of conversations
- Naming emotions
- Playing flexibly with others
- Self regulation (what they like/don’t like, how they handle being tiredness or peer challenges)
- Becoming assertive; and
- Eventual empathy and encouragement to others.
This is a gradual process. Toddlers aren’t going to be the best carers overnight and will be egocentric (selfish) to their own needs. Over time and with maturity these skills will develop. It takes practice to make social skills automated in the brain. Give your preschooler the grace of understanding that eventually they will become an active participant for their own community with assertiveness and empathy.
Written By Sarah Courtney