I usually ask my daughters questions about how they view me to help me understand myself and my relationship with them better. Me: What does mummy need to do more of? My five year old, without hesitation, told me that I need to smile more. She is right.
Smiling plays a very important role in human bonding especially with our children and through such bonding, children learn how to communicate, think and express their emotions. Not only that, they learn how to view the world around them, since they start by seeing it through their parent’s eyes before creating their own perspective. Thus, a parent’s facial expressions is the baby or child’s way to read the world around them and by smiling, you help telling them that they can be secure and safe and make them feel comfortable… and when they feel comfortable, they will smile back, chat with you and open up. Smiling might also be a very important way to convey acceptance, so for example if you smile after discipline them, it shows forgiveness. Specially when you have a shy kid like mine… smiling at her, in her uncomfortable surroundings, makes her relax a bit and feel at ease with the gazing eyes and unknown personalities and facial expressions around her.
And now I am trying to smile at them as often as I can until it becomes a habit.