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9-Minute Parenting Rule: I Bet you didn't know

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Infants and toddlers are intricate beings who absorb everything around them, including both positive and negative influences. They're in the process of understanding the world, their own bodies, their interactions with people, and how others respond to them. As parents, it's crucial to be mindful of these crucial 9-minute intervals when they're most susceptible to influence: the initial 3 minutes after they wake up, the following 3 minutes after school, and the last 3 minutes before they drift off to sleep.

3 Minutes After They Wake Up:

This is a crucial time because it sets the tone for the entire day. Instead of rushing through the morning routine, consider waking up a few minutes earlier to spend quality time with your child. A calm breakfast together or some light play can create a positive and nurturing start to the day. These moments of connection can provide a sense of security and help your child feel valued and loved.

Questions that can be asked by parents

· How did you sleep last night? Did you have any interesting dreams?

· What are you looking forward to today?

· Is there something special you'd like to do or talk about today?

Activities that can be played during those 3 mins

1. Morning Stretching or Yoga: Engage in some gentle stretching or yoga poses to wake up the body and promote flexibility.

2. Mindfulness or Breathing Exercises: Practice a short mindfulness or deep breathing exercise to start the day with a calm and focused mindset.

3. Quick Creative Activity: Set up a small creative station for drawing, coloring, or simple crafts. This can be a calming and imaginative way to begin the day.

4. Share a Short Story or Joke: Read a short story or share a funny joke to bring a smile and a positive start to the day.

3 Minutes After School/Daycare:

After a day of learning and socializing, children often have a range of emotions to process. The first three minutes after you pick them up offer a valuable opportunity to engage with them and help them make sense of their experiences. Asking open-ended questions encourages them to share their feelings and thoughts. This can foster trust and strengthen your relationship, as your child learns that they can confide in you about their experiences, both positive and challenging.

It's important to validate their emotions, even if they seem small or trivial. By acknowledging their feelings, you're showing them that their emotions are valid and important. This helps build their emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

Questions that can be asked by parents

· What was the best part of your day?

· Did anything surprise you or catch you off guard today?

· Was there a moment that made you feel proud or accomplished?

Activities that can be played during those 3 mins

ü Emotion Check-In: Use these minutes to talk about how they feel after their day. Provide a safe space for them to express any concerns or excitements.

ü Play a Quick Game: Engage in a brief game like a quick round of Simon Says, a short puzzle, or a simple board game to encourage interaction and fun.

ü Snack and Chat: Share a healthy snack together while discussing their day. This creates a relaxed atmosphere for conversation.

ü Journaling or Drawing: Allow them a few minutes to jot down or draw something that stood out to them during the day. It can be a great way for them to process their experiences.

3 Minutes Before Bed:

The bedtime routine is a precious time for reflection and gratitude. Taking turns expressing what you're grateful for can cultivate a positive mindset and help your child focus on the positive aspects of their day. It also provides an opportunity for them to hear what you appreciate about them, reinforcing their self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

Additionally, this is a chance to offer praise for their achievements, no matter how small. Recognizing their efforts and accomplishments instills a sense of pride and motivates them to continue striving for excellence.

Questions that can be asked by parents

· What was your favorite part of today?

· Is there something that made you feel particularly happy or grateful today?

· Can you tell me about a moment that was a little challenging, and how you handled it?

Activities that can be played during those 3 mins

ü Gratitude Practice: Take turns expressing things you are grateful for. This promotes a positive mindset and fosters a sense of appreciation.

ü Storytelling or Reading a Short Book: Share a quick bedtime story or take turns making up a story together.

ü Affirmations or Compliments: Share positive affirmations or compliments about each other. This helps boost confidence and reinforces feelings of love and support.

ü Gentle Massage or Cuddle Time: Offer a soothing back rub or cuddle together to promote relaxation before sleep.

By consistently investing in these short, but significant, moments throughout the day, you're creating a foundation of trust, emotional connection, and positive reinforcement. This approach not only nurtures their emotional well-being but also empowers them to navigate the world with confidence and resilience. It's a powerful way to help your child grow into a thoughtful, confident, and resilient individual.

Remember, the goal is to encourage open and honest communication. These questions serve as a starting point, but be attentive to your child's responses and follow their lead. Sometimes, they might want to share something entirely different, and that's perfectly fine. The key is to create a safe space for them to express themselves and know that their feelings and experiences are valued.

Remember, the aim is to make these moments meaningful and positive. Choose activities that resonate with your child's interests and preferences, and adapt them to fit the time available. The key is to create a nurturing and supportive environment that fosters connection and emotional well-being.

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