That’s how many 24-hour periods of time there are in five years.
These days are profoundly formative in a child’s life. However, if most of us think back to our preschool years, we most certainly do not have one thousand memories; some hardly even have one hundred recollections!
We rarely retain a vast number of distinct impressions, but what does shape our early childhood years is the tone of the environment in which we were raised.
As a parent or caregiver, this brings great freedom to focus on the overall atmosphere of the family versus each small, isolated interaction.
Focus on the tone of the home.
As parents, there are moments of feeling stretched too far, fatigued, and over exerted. Not every instance will be handled in a textbook manner. But that’s OK. An environment rich in relational warmth will help cover those occurrences.
Think of your relationship with your child as a kiddie pool. Each time you affirm and breathe life into his or her little heart, you dump a cup of water into the kiddie pool. Every “I love you,” and each snuggle is another heap poured right into the container.
Some days you will add a lot of water to the kiddie pool. Others, you may splash a little out with a snappy reply or an irritated manner. But because of the water you’ve poured into that pool, there will be a reserve and basis of love and understanding with which to safeguard your connection to your child.
The tone of your home can add to the pool or drain water right out.
In times of loss or trauma, it is vital to be intentional about cultivating the tone. Do less. Engage more. Play. Know that there will be seasons where you need to designate more effort into creating a peaceful atmosphere. Music is powerful. Dance parties are engaging. Hugs and reassurance all add water to the pool.
You don’t have to bat a thousand every day, but be intentional about making deposits every day. My own children have different activities that greatly raise the watermark in the kiddie pool of their hearts. Violet loves to read. Theo loves to play ‘dogs’. Engaging in their interests fosters connection and love in our relationship.
And let’s be honest, I regularly pray that all my efforts would be their most prominent memories and that God would ‘fill in the cracks of their heart’ in any areas that I might miss.
So get to filling those pools!
*Photo by Tori Vandament