I have a teenager. She is a really great kid, but she's still a teenager. Last night she started talking to me and it turned into hours of conversation. I'm grateful that she still wants to open up to her mom and I'm happy to listen to her teenage ramblings as well as her wise beyond her years observations. It reminded me of the importance of truly listening to your kiddos, no matter their age.
Keeping communication open with all of my kids has always been very important to me, and that communication began when they were infants. Listening to and learning their cries, holding them when they needed to be held, feeding them when they were hungry, letting them sleep when they were tired, all of the basic needs of every baby. These are all normal, parental things that sometimes feel like chores and/or second nature. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily routine of attending to needs and not really taking the time to listen to what they are saying. Sometimes kids just need to talk, or in the case of babies, sometimes they just need to cry. For babies, every day is a new learning experience. So much is changing as they grow and discover their new world.
Infant massage can play a great role in learning to better listen to your baby. Starting the practice of setting aside time every day to do something soothing with your baby is a great first building block for a lifetime of open communication with your child. It doesn't have to be a long session. If you only have ten minutes, that's okay. It is the quality of time and the practice that makes the difference. Learning to listen to your kids is a gift for both of you. When you secure that trust when they are an infant, it will grow with you both and lead to your teenagers sharing their lives with you...whether you like it or not ;)