My beautiful first born, Brayden. My beautiful second born, Liam.

Those first 5-7 years for children are absolutely imperative and pivital to their foundation of joy.  I believe that if a child is raised with wonder, imagination, fun and optimism, they will have had their joy reinforced and it will get them through absolutely everything in life, in good times and bad times.

Joy is a reminder that even when challenges are met or there is loss as they get older, yes we may mourn and be sad or grieve and be mad, but joy will always come in the morning.  Joy is optimism.  It is when we are going through hard times, we know that this too shall pass.

Reading bedtime stories to your children and getting animated is fun for you too.  I loved those days when my kids we little and we played at the beach and with our shovels creating little castles with moats – or burying one another in the sand.  Come to think of it, being buried was quite comfortable!  A rather nice womb cocoon.  The beach for me and my 2 boys was peace and happiness.  I could sit for hours watching my boys.  I’d pack a picnic or we’d indulge in a big plate of French fries.  I always brought magazines along, but mostly, barely a word was read.  I find it hard reading at the beach just because there is always to much to watch.  As well the sounds and the elements always lure me to dream and to look out at that big ocean.

Another way my kids and I used to have fun was in just inventing or making things from the craft cupboard I put together.  I still have that craft cupboard and whenever we have little kids over, they are welcome to rummage through it.

More important than supporting our children’s imaginations and their hearts for creating, is in the PROTECTING them from the harsh elements that ruin their self-esteem, frighten them, take them down dark roads and kill their joy.  I’m talking about social media, TV media, inappropriate company and so forth.  Particularly when your kids are in their formative years, who you allow them to be around will become an imprint on their souls.  I mean, you can’t protect your kids from everyone, that’s not what I mean.  However, primary caregivers who will have influence and how you spend your time with your kids does matter. They are your greatest investment.  Protect and treat those first years with responsibility and as sacred.

Other things I did to allow that joy to manifest, was never to be in too much of a hurry –  say if you are on a walk.  Kids love to puddle jump and to stop and look at the worms and the leaves and the bugs along the way.  I remember walking just a couple of blocks used to take forever.  But this is when they are exploring and developing the wonder of the world all around them.  Indeed every year is super important when we have children, but those first formative years should be treated and valued as the most important time period to nurture and nourish their natural joy.  It will then stay with them for absolutely ever and sustain them as they get older.

Joy is the inner rock that regardless of what you are going through, you will always have hope that yes, things will get better.  But joy is also gratitude for everyday living.  And when you have gratitude and joy, you have everything.  XOXO

Written by : Tara McIntosh

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