Usually, we understand that NURTURE is to do with nourishment and nutrition. It’s the intuitive response of every mother to provide food.*  But NURTURE is also wrapped up with emotional qualities. And generally, it’s mothers who ensure these powerful aspects of NURTURE will happen in a family.

The powerful aspects of nurture are an amazing gift from mothers to their children, which begins right at the start. And continues for as long as you are a mother.

*That’s why Treasuring Mothers has connected with dietician Fiona Rowell, for our podcasts.

The Many Forms of Nurture

Breast or bottle feeding your infant is the very start of nurturing. But interestingly, while that’s happening there are elements of nurture going on which encompass all the senses. There’s gentle touch; loving sounds; eye-to-eye bonding; good food to taste; and while we mothers smell that beautiful baby smell, no doubt babies smell a wonderful mama-aroma!

And as they grow, the many forms of nurture increase. Care, Love, Time together, Concern, Open-heartedness, Undivided Attention, Tenderness, Appropriate Physical Closeness, Gift-giving, Affirming Words. All these, and more.

Powerful Aspects of Nurture: Amazing Gifts

Usually, your mother’s instincts help provide that nurturing element to kids’ lives. It’s often under-appreciated, but it’s a critical aspect of your ability to help your child’s development. Here are just a few of those nurturing elements:

Giving Hugs

The US News website states, “In a 2015 study involving 404 healthy adults, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University examined the effects of perceived social support and the receipt of hugs on the participants’ susceptibility to developing the common cold after being exposed to the virus.” It went on to say that, “Even among those who got a cold, those who felt greater social support and received more frequent hugs had less severe symptoms.”

Hugs are under-rated therapy. And they are free. They are instant stress-relievers, and create smiles. Plus, amazingly, as this research shows, hugs even keep you healthier.

Human touch is a powerful thing. Studies of children brought up in Romanian and Russian orphanages last century reveal the power of touch, or more accurately, the lack of touch. These children, while having their basic physical needs provided for, were left in cribs for weeks at a time, starved of physical human contact.

In fact, the study found that without physical nurture, children’s brains experience permanent and negative alterations. Research shows that brain size can increase by up to 10% if children have more nurturing mothers. That’s quite significant! Now there’s even more research available showing that the more physical affection babies receive the smarter they will become! So the whole nurturing idea is incredibly important, perhaps even foundational to a long and successful life.

We’re great at doing physical touch with babies. But it can easily become less important, as babies become toddlers, toddlers start school, and suddenly they are pre-teens! Physical touch is no less important, even for older children. Don’t be like me, who realized one day that I hardly ever hugged my 10 year old daughter. It’s up to you to remember to include healthy and appropriate physical touch daily, for children of any age.

LISTENING

It’s easy to let the little voices of our children whizz past our ears, and not take the words in. But listening properly is a good way for a child to know he or she is loved and valued. In fact, it’s not just about young children. As well, intentionally listening to your teens, and even adult children, makes them aware you care about them, and you acknowledge issues important to them. You are a primary relationship for them. It’s so important to invest in that.

One thing to note: Listening generally means not talking! This sounds obvious, but it can be surprising how much you talk, instead of listen. And before you know it you’re off topic, the original message is lost, and the speaker’s value deflates like a week-old balloon. Instead, concentrate on the speaker, stop talking and make eye-contact when listening. It makes all the difference.

NOTICING FEELINGS

Have you ever felt as if you were invisible? Like some Anne Hathaway Princess Diaries invisible-school-girl-person? “My expectation in life is to be invisible, and I’m good at it,”she protested.

If you feel as everything you say or do is not worth a mention, it can be pretty disheartening. If you dismiss a child’s feelings as trivial or not worth listening to, they do not feel valued. And like Amelia in the Princess Diaries, remember how she blossomed when someone took notice of her?

So, it’s good to notice your child’s feelings, and take the time to acknowledge them. Even if he or she feels sad or disappointed, at least they know a burden is shared. And that’s a much less lonely place to be.

RESPECTING INDIVIDUALITY

Did you ever feel like you were in an older sibling’s shadow? I did. My two older sisters are brilliant musicians, and I always felt an expectation that I would be too. Perhaps that’s one reason I finished school with straight Science/Math. At least then there was no way of comparing! After that, I moved onto an Applied Science degree, and I didn’t go into teaching, like all three of my sisters.

Similarly, it’s important to to love and value your children as individuals. Make time to see their differences, and encourage them to take their own paths which may, or may not, follow the family line.

WALKING ALONGSIDE

As children grow from cute babies into magnificent adults, your job is to walk beside them. First of all, showing them what to do, and how to behave. Next, you do it with them. And then, you let them do it own their own. Each new task has its complexities, and is appropriate at different times of life. Your children learn to talk from you, to walk, to eat on their own, get dressed, tie shoelaces, all the way up to driving a car, and leaving home to live on their own.

Without doubt, it goes beyond these physical things. Because, your children also learn about morals, beliefs, ethics and standards from you. It’s amazing how much they pick up, even from a very early age. So be aware, because if you have habits you do not really like, they are watching! Don’t be the mama who is horrified her pre-schooler swears like a trooper, as a friend of mine confided to me one day. The problem was, she did it too!

Not only do you walk alongside them, but they walk alongside you.

Never underestimate the importance of what you are doing as a mother.

TAKING TIME

All children need time and focused attention. Love them. Enjoy their antics. Laugh together. Be spontaneous. Enjoy one another. Read together and have fun. Run and jump and play together. Because all these together create a loving and enjoyable time in your family’s life. And important memories are built.

The amount of time spent with children is an important element of self-understanding for both you and your child. One on one time will strengthen the bond between you and you child, as you can read HERE >>>

Are you stuck for ideas? Here are 25 Ways to have fun before your child turns 10 years old.

Nurture

The powerful aspects of nurture cannot be underestimated. It’s so important. In fact, it’s critical to their solid development, and long-term success in the world.

Never underestimate the importance of what you are doing as a mother. Your child cannot grow into a functional and caring adult without you, and your powerful gift of nurturing.

What are some special ways you like to nurture your children?

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