It’s probably fair to say that our homes are looking quite ‘lived-in’ of late because of the lockdown. If this has been a stress point for you because you have a place for everything but everything hasn’t been in its place, you are not alone! The good news is that it’s OK to have a house that’s not pristine.
Home is more than just a place for a young child. It provides far more than just the ‘four walls’ and a roof of a physical building. Home is our children’s haven, a nest of safety and nourishment that goes beyond furniture and into the furnishings of a family. Rather than investing in just what our home looks like, we need to invest in how it feels for our young ones.
A ‘show home’ kind of home is not what matters for the emotional wellbeing of our children. Sure, a little tidiness and some special things make it a nice place to be, but above all, it’s the people, the rhythms, the so-called ordinary moments that turn a house into a home. The ‘contents list’ that matters are not the price tag items, but the biggest needs our children have—love, kindness, belonging, tolerance, and play.
The foundations of a house may be concrete blocks, but the values laid down and lived out as a ‘unit’ are the true foundations of a home. Each family has its own blueprint of what matters most. Knowing what these are is the best way to align wishes with ‘will do’s and ways of treating each other.
The ‘cement’ that binds our home is the ways in which we nourish each other—love, connection, and warmth.
The little moments that mean a lot to little people all seal the space, and make our children feel safe and a part of something very special. The time we spend truly with our children, not just in proximity but in presence, keep adding more ‘drops’ that strengthen and bond.
Our homes are furnished with the daily doings, the things we carry out together. It is the little joys, stories and the laughter, the little traditions, celebrations, the ‘pet names’. These things fill the emotional space in our homes and create the ‘climate’ in which our children feel warm enough to blossom. If we have the temperature set to nurturing, our children have the cosiness of knowing this is their sanctuary, their place they can try on behaviours for size, stretch their autonomy, make mistakes and still be loved deeply.
For children, the beauty of home is that it is theirs—their space, their family, their identity. It should have the reflection and remnants of them, even if they are the very youngest one who lives there. A child-friendly, lived-in space beats a sparkling show-home because our children feel welcome in a space they can (often, quite literally!) leave a mark on.
Our home will look different, but for each child, our home is their nest. The safe, snuggly port of return after they’ve been out ‘spreading their wings’. The physical building greets them of course, but it is so much more than that. It is the family’s arms that really hold them, giving them the anchor and the aroha of true belonging.
WORDS BY KINDERCARE. Find out how Kindercare can be a safe home away from home for your children here.
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