May 7, 2014

Scream and Stress Free Mothers Part 2

By Amatullah Aminah

PART 1


Bismillah


This article investigates the importance of being stress free, as a mother and the need to understand that infants are highly intelligent and absorbent human beings. You might want to read Part 1 where I described some steps and techniques we can adopt to make a practically possible stress and scream free environment at our homes, which will facilitate us to give our children a good tarbiyyah.  In this part, I will continue this discussion, inshaAllah.  

1) Its ok to get messy:

Breathe! Until our little energy boosters come along we all love to have a clean house with everything in its place. Children pretty much change that. Its ok! Embrace it. Some mothers may take more time, than others, to get used to the mess but it is a journey every mother should be prepared to undertake. Do not be upset at the sight of cushions on the floor or shoes on the table; do not start cleaning up every two hours. Do it just once - when your hubby is about to come home. As your infant will grow you can encourage and include him in the “clean-up game”. Sing a clean up song and make cleaning up a fun activity. You will be surprised how fast he will learn.

2) Stay prepared

Accidents will happen. No matter how prepared you are, your little explorer will find something new every few days and surprise you. Stock up cleaners and do not panic at spills and marks on the wall (get washable markers/crayons to be safe). A wet sponge will clean off most of the marks off walls and a good absorbent cleaning cloth will clean the stains off your carpets and upholstery. Put up chart papers on the wall, if he loves to paint the walls, and you can replace them every 2-3 weeks while your little artist will learn and get the best coloring experiences plus you stay stress free.

3) Home d├ęcor?
You may have to start reconsidering ways to decorate your house once your little one starts crawling. They are not called “the boss” for nothing; after all they dictate pretty much everything around your house. Focus more on wall decors and decals. Stock up accessible book shelves with his books or toys (Yes! You may have to do that) Remove potpourris and candle stands from your coffee table. There will be an age (between 2-3) when you can teach them not to touch certain things but an infant is too young to tutor on cleanliness and order. He needs to know how and why of things. Protect your sofas with inexpensive throws; take out your silk and sequenced cushions only when you have guests and remove any breakable decoration pieces.

4) Distractions and Alternatives:

Create distractions and give alternatives to your child. His interest level in adult stuff and activities will only increase as days go by; you need to give him alternatives. Like, if he shows interest in your toothbrush it is time for him to have his own and teach him the difference between his toothbrush and that of mum’s. If he loves tearing paper, give him an old phone directory to save your books and at the same time satisfying his curiosity. Do not worry; you will not be spoiling him. You would just be wearing his urge off and he would get bored soon. If he wants to eat on his own, give him non-messy finger food, like small pieces of grapes or fries or small pieces of chicken nuggets. When they get their hands on your laptop (just to bang the keys) try providing him with an old keyboard, he would love banging the keys and reading ABC and trust me he would gladly leave your laptop alone. You can provide an alternative for almost everything; you just need to be creative and a little imaginative.
5) My space, your space:
As human beings we all crave for a little personal space. Babies also need their own space. A space without limitations and freedom to do all they desire. Give them their space. Let them have a room, which should be set up in a way to give them a sense of freedom, control and means to satisfy their growing needs. A low bed, or a thick mattress, with small chairs, rugs and toys would be perfect for your infant. Let him reach into cabinet (which should hold only his toys), jump on the bed or mattress, and paint the walls (which should be covered with chart paper). Put balls, blocks, cars (even if you have a girl!) dolls, stuff toys and whatever your child fancies. Let him explore and get acquainted with various things and their uses. Once in a while you can put old sheets over his chairs and make him a cozy hideout. They would love and appreciate their space without destroying yours. However, make boundaries. Let him know where he can make a mess without worry and where he must not.

6) Be a Junkie: 
Stop throwing out everything!! Save a couple of cardboard boxes of different sizes, a couple of old bottles, cables which have gone bad, old gadgets and electronics which don’t work (like telephones, irons, hair dryers etc.) Children love to play with the real stuff more than their toys. You may never understand why your child would never show interest in his flashy toy phone but would love a real phone. He may want to iron with the real one, so cut off the cable from an old iron and let him have his way. Let him sit in cartons and play with empty bottles and cables. He would create his own games and entertain himself better than anyone. Just make sure you are making things safe for him and nothing in your junk can hurt him.

I would appreciate and welcome more suggestions and ideas. Please share them in the comment section below.

A Reminder: We can (and must) endeavor in every manner possible to give the best upbringing to our children, which will lead them closer to Allah. At the same time, remember all our efforts and their success is a result of Allah’s will alone, hence don’t forget to make dua for your children and yourselves.

May Allah guide us to deliver our best efforts in regard to nurturing of our children, and may He make the generation of our children immensely successful in this dunya and aakhirah, ameen.

References: Lessons from Spring Semester in Child Development and Growth


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