On my journey of conscious parenting, many books have crossed my path that offer morsels of wisdom that though small, enact powerful changes that ripple throughout the relationships with my children, my husband, and all others. “I Love You Rituals” by Becky Bailey is one of those books. The first two chapters were a beautifully written summation of what conscious discipline is, why it works, and how to incorporate small gestures of your love into your child’s routine.
I also enjoyed the author’s explanation of why children developmentally need to play hide and seek, chase and catch, and any game that involves you finding them. Becky suggests that if the parent does not initiate these games at appropriate times, the child will initiate them at inappropriate times. She also suggests that you can take a cue from a young child’s initiation of a “find me” game to show that they seek attention from you and need to know that they are important enough for you to find.
The second half of the book is all “I love you” ritual suggestions for various situations and transitions in a child’s day. I actually only adopted one of the suggested rituals, because the book inspired me to create ones that are tailored to my children and their needs.
For example, when I drop off my 5 year old at school, after all the hugs and kisses and “I love yous,” I signal that I am leaving and his time to go into the classroom has arrived by starting a good-bye ritual. I give him a kiss in each of his palms, blowing warm air into his cupped hands, and then placing his hands to his heart and saying “Take my love with you whenever you need it.” He absolutely adores this ritual and it has made the transition to preschool very smooth.
Adding this and a few other “I love you” rituals into our day has made me feel even more emotionally connected to my children. It has inspired me to adopt a few “I love you” rituals with my husband, so that we are not just talking about the kids and the running of the household when we connect, but that we ask each other questions about life and dreams, things you may commonly ask a friend.