Singer, actress, fashion designer, entrepreneur, writer, and mom of two Thalía shares her parenting, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty tips as a POPSUGAR Latina contributor.
5 Things I Want For My Children This Year
A Mom's Hope For Her Children in 2016
"Let the children come to me". This phrase you've probably heard before is very poignant to me. It emphasizes that you do not need to be a mother or a father to be close to the children you love. You could be an auntie or an uncle, a single friend, a cousin, or a kindergarten teacher and love the time you spend with your nieces and nephews, godchildren, students, or friends' kids. Children are the world's treasure, and we want the best for them. Even when they are mischievous, litter the house, and paint the white walls with ketchup, they are a marvelous gift that make our lives better in a world full of chaos and impersonal relationships.
Because of that, I would like to dedicate this post to all of those divine creatures that make us live in the moment — children don't spend their time pondering about what they said or how they said it, what they did or how they did it, what they will be doing in the future or what they will choose as a career. These are my hopes for my son and daughter, but also all the children of the world this year.
1. The freedom to be themselves.
Many times, we adults, who have seen and lived so much and have fallen and stood up so many times, lose patience and do not take time to explain things to kids step by step. We get desperate and rush through things without paying much attention to their goals and dreams. Children tend to express themselves not only through words, but also through singing their made-up songs and dressing up in unique ways, among other things. How many times have you found brightly painted pants and glittery tennis shoes in their rooms? They also express themselves through the way they eat and what they eat. Those are their strokes of individuality and personality, and we have to encourage them to be themselves.
For example, my daughter Sabrina loves to alter her clothes. She paints her t-shirts, adds sparkly details to them, and sometimes even cuts one of the sleeves and adds a sleeve from another shirt! She likes to wear formal dresses over leggings with a jean jacket on top, and many times, she wears two completely different socks with her shoes. Sabrina even likes to add little pieces of color to her hair, but I allow her to do that, because that is how she expresses herself, her uniqueness, and her individuality. So let's let kids be kids! Let them express themselves fully, and let's not curtail their creativity, ever!
2. The chance to get moving.
We live in such a digital world! We are surrounded by smart phones, iPads, computers, smart TVs, game consoles, and lots more, and children spend too much time sitting down. They sit in school; they sit at home while doing homework; they sit while playing video games; and we forget to promote them to move and exercise.
Movement is essential for their bodies, brain chemistry, emotional well-being, and self-esteem. It is so important to help them find an activity or sport they like, and there are so many options nowadays.
Sports such as tennis, baseball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and fun activities, like jumping rope with friends, hiking with the family, and swimming, are great alternatives to present to kids and let them choose what they like best. The important thing is to make it a habit to be active and make sure that we, as parents, don't get lazy about taking them to their activities, regardless of how far away they may be. It is our duty to instill in them the love for athletics, for activities that involve movement, their bodies, and their health. That is something that will stay with them for life, a gift from us to them, and when they get older, they will find a way to stay active, just like they did when they were little.
3. The ability to open their hearts and souls.
It does not matter what religion you practice or if you don't practice any religion at all, the important thing is to show children that within themselves, they can find their essence, spirit, and soul. In the middle of their chests, where the heart is, there will always be a safe place for them. That place will be with them wherever they go, in tough or stressful situations, whenever they are nervous or sad, or they don't know what to do and how to react.
By teaching them about their inner strength, they will be able to close their eyes, access that center, and feel safe and at home. We can teach them to breathe and find ways to connect to their center, soul, and hearts. Through breathing and visualization meditation, they can learn how to feel. For example, if they visualize a warm light that passes through their heads and bodies, they might feel warm and comfortable, just like when they spend time in the morning sun. Those exercises will also help them feel safe and protected as if they have a blanket over them and they are receiving their parent's or caregiver's embrace. Guiding your children to find their inner strength is a great gift you are giving them to use for the rest of their lives.
4. More vegetables, less sweets.
I am very careful with the amount of sugar I give my kids, because I do notice that, every time they eat sweets, they become accelerated, even a bit aggressive, and they cry or fight with each other. Sugar changes the way they behave, therefore, I watch their intake like a hawk. I try my best to feed them balanced meals, and it is a constant struggle!
Sometimes I am lucky, and they eat several things from their plates, but other times, they just eat one thing. As I have said before, I also try to make it fun for them, and when I do that, the results improve.
But I also believe that a good way to get them to eat healthier is to help them understand the consequences of eating sugar. I remind them that they get thirsty and get headaches when they eat too much of it. I also tell them that, if we all eat too much sugar, we may end up having to go to the dentist more often. The point is not to tell them to stop eating sweets and remove them from their diets altogether, but to inform them of the consequences of eating it, and what it does to our bodies.
I give sugar to them, if they ask, on special occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, and when we go on special outings and we find a lollipop, cotton candy, cookie, or pie that they never get to eat. Teaching them about healthy choices takes time and patience, but little by little, they grasp the idea of why we need to eat more vegetables and fruits, what proteins are, and how to find balance when they come across sugary treats. Again, it is not an easy task, because we like to see our children smile and give them everything they want. I wish I could give them all of the candy, ice cream, and cookies they ask for, all at once. However, it is our duty as parents and caretakers to be responsible and help them understand that less sweets and more vegetables is the way to go!
5. Extra hugs and kisses.
Do not let a day go by without holding, kissing, and hugging your child! Affection gives children a sense of security and peace because they feel loved and like an important part of their household. You can be an older brother or sister, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or caregiver — the important thing is to show you care and develop closeness through hugs.
Many times, when children lose control, throw tantrums, and start crying, the best way to calm them down and balance their mood is to hold them in a tight hug. Being so close to the person and hugging them help improve their brain chemistry and channel all of the emotion she or he is feeling until the child relaxes.
Hugs are a wordless and wonderful way of communicating with children. They appreciate being hugged and usually feel calm afterward. And let's not forget about kisses! I am one of those moms who can't stop kissing her children. I love giving them smooches on their cheeks, hair, arms, hands! I want to fill my life with them at every moment, because I know that very soon, when they get older, they will not allow me to kiss them anymore. I am not looking forward to when they say: "Mom, stay away. Don't kiss me. Don't come to pick me up at school. Actually, if you pick me up, do so one block away from school. No, mom, do not hold my hand." Therefore, while they still allow me to, I will kiss them and hug them and tell them I love them as much as I can, and you should too.