Once we have a child, we will be mothers and fathers for the rest of our lives – but children will not stay children forever. Some people say the first two years of a baby’s life are over before you can blink twice. The first time I heard this, I thought it was an exaggeration…I couldn’t wait for the day my baby could talk and play with dolls and balls with me. Now my two daughters are in school. When I see pictures of them wearing baby clothes, my heart fills with nostalgia.
The time we have with our children is limited – there are only about 940 Saturdays between the day your baby is born and the day they turn 18…so don’t waste them! We can’t stop time, but we can make every minute of every day count by doing these things:
1. Kiss and hug them
Consistent physical contact for our little ones will help them develop emotionally, and strengthen the bond between mother and child. They will feel close to you and feel wanted. Enjoy these kisses and hugs when they are young because they won’t last forever.
2. Listen to them
As parents, we often talk without taking the time to stop and actually listen to our children. Make a conscious effort to take a break from talking to just listen to your little child express themself.
Ask them how they are doing in school, what their favorite animal is, what they want to be when they grow up and who their best friend is – and listen to their answers.
3. Play with them
It doesn’t matter if they are one month or 12 years old – children learn by playing. When they play, they place their full attention on that particular activity. Use games to teach them concepts they need to learn and to bond with your babe.
As you teach your child, they will also teach you by showing you their character, sense of humor, passions and interests. Playing together means you both get the chance to understand each other better.
4. Read together
Your children are always paying attention to you, I promise. At this very moment, you are reading the screen of your cell phone or computer and they are watching you. They will learn the importance of activities, habits and objects by watching how you spend your time. It’s important your kids see you read.
Reading will open the doors of knowledge to them. Show them reading is fun by sharing your favorite stories. Read at least one story, or chapter, together every day. It is never too late to start this routine. You and your child will learn to enjoy the time spent together as family.
Make yourself more happier, learn new jokes and tell them to your children, play with them, tickle them and laugh with them. These happy memories will last through the years.
Follow your heart and enjoy the precious time you have with your little ones. Remember, each day of their childhood only happens once. Take time to be happy and teach your children to be happy.
This article was adapted and translated from the original, “5 cosas que debes hacer con tus hijos o te arrepentirás” It was originally published on familias.com.