My friend Shanarri

I have 2 kids, an anxiety disorder I’ve yet to get diagnosed and a personal family history that has been far from peachy. All of this shapes who I am not just as a person but as a parent. I reflect… A LOT! I analyse my life daily, multiple times a day and question my parenting choices and practices almost constantly. I rarely reach out for support as I try to learn and grow from all of my challenges. Though I do have a friend called SHANARRI that helps me out daily. Maybe Shanarri can help you too?
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Shanarri gets me to think about the safety of my children. I’m not just talking about stair gates and pans on the hob but also things like how I plan to talk to my kids about things like sexual abuse (even at an early age) with guidance like the underwear rule. Ensuring the safety of my children creates a foundation whereby children can learn, grow and test boundaries in an environment that they can trust.
Shanarri also nudges me to consider the health of my kids. Both the physical and mental health. I consider this daily in relation to the food which I provide them, how active they are and how I talk to them. Kids are always going to have health problems, it seems that they get sick all the time once they start nursery. I can’t control that, but aspects that I can control such as access the good food, getting out and about and talking to them about managing emotions is a responsibility that I take seriously.
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You might think that your friend’s kids are achieving much faster than yours, or maybe you’re the one with the kids who develop faster. Shanarri reminds me that all kids move at their own pace and comparison isn’t always helpful. The importance instead being the opportunity to achieve. I’m not a competitive parent in the slightest but I also don’t want to see my kids fall behind. Progress can be built upon rewards or motivation but life skills will always trump academic achievement in our family. Each family has their own priorities so I’m not saying this is ‘the’ way but simply ours. Have you considered what yours are?
 
I praise my son probably more than I should but I also teach him humility and compassion. Each time I see him develop a new life skill I feel as though I’ve achieved something. Shanarri reminds me to respond to my kids and look to them for what their needs are not just always tell them what they should be doing. Nurturing my kids requires attention, good phone and TV free attention. Kids appreciate that more than you’ll ever know. Shanarri challenges me ask myself if I think my kids are happy.
Being active is something that we all know our kids need. Heck, we need it too but we don’t always do it. Shanarri reminds me that getting this right for our children is simply about balance. Kids in general have an unending supply of energy and providing them with an outlet for that can be as simple as regular trips to the park or just playing active games at home. Active can also relate to the mind. As tired as being a parent is I know I need to mentally stimulate the kids with games and activities that give them opportunities to develop and grow.
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I often have a wee debate with myself when I’m teaching my son something new in the area of responsibilities. Yes he’s only 3 years old but he puts his rubbish in the bin, he helps to tidy his toys before he moves onto the next thing and he knows that fighting is a straight up no. Well, unless it’s with me. I kid you not I’m sure that boy hits me with a nut-shot at least once a day. But he knows that the rough-housing that we do is not OK with other kids. Shanarri informs me that encouraging him and giving him clear guidance on right and wrong is important for him.
With this in mind I’ve been keen from an early stage to ensure that my kids know the importance of respect. Not just about respecting his parents or those around him but that he feels respected. Shanarri shows me how the attention that I give to my kids lets them know I value them, their opinions and their interests. This might not always be easy when your kids tend to talk about ‘poopoo’ all the time but it’s the little things that our kids pick up on. It’s the conversations, the choices they’re allowed to make and the opportunities that they are given.
This leads me to the final aspect of the support I receive from Shanarri. By including children in decisions, by making them feel part of something and allowing them to discuss with us we build character. I’m not talking about them helping to decide which energy provider to switch to but the little things like the activities you do over the weekends. Including children in communities be it nursery, play groups or the wider family gives them a unique identity. It gives them an opportunity to find out who they are in the wider context. It’s not always easy but its worth considering.
This is truly were Shanarri helps me, It’s not always easy! Sometimes we need help and guidance as parents to ensure that our kids get every opportunity they deserve.
 
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SHANARRI is one of the keys to the way that any organisation in Scotland working with children operates. It come from the national approach in Scotland for improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people called GIRFEC – Getting It Right For Every Child. It stands for Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurturing, Achieving, Responsible, Respected and Included. All of these wellbeing indicators are deemed necessary for a child or young person to reach their full potential.

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Thanks for reading.

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