‘Like the Princess of Wales, I believe early years are the key to nurturing our children’

SHAPING US The Princess of Wales has launched her early years campaign Picture: PA

Author Leonora Langley tells the Times about the importance of nurturing self-love in our children from a young age – and it’s something that the Princess of Wales agrees with…


Last week, Kate Middleton launched her first major project as Princess of Wales, a campaign that has been dubbed her ‘life’s work’.

She believes that: “As a society, we are all responsible for building a more compassionate world in which our children can grow, learn and live.” The Princess’s initiative, entitled ‘Shaping Us’, emphasises the vital importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

Speaking at a BAFTA event, she said: “The way we develop through our experiences, relationships and surroundings during our early childhood, fundamentally shapes our whole lives. It affects everything from our ability to form relationships and thrive at work, to our mental and physical well-being as adults and the way we parent our own children.”

Like the Princess of Wales, I firmly believe that the early years are key to nurturing our children.

It is well known that children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. It’s the time when the foundations for learning, physical and emotional health, behaviour and social skills are established. In these early years, the nurturing of young people’s senses, and the relationships they form, create more than a million connections every second. The greatest influence of a child’s development are their relationships which need to come from warm, responsive, consistent and dependable adults (parents, carers and teachers) who are able to offer unconditional love. If emotional stability is missing in the early stages of a child’s development, their life’s journey is more likely to become a long, painful and circuitous road to reaching self-understanding and fulfilment.

Encouraging self-love in children lays strong foundations for emotional well-being throughout. In the early years, a child’s concept of self is intrinsically tied up with with a mother’s concept of herself, which means that self-love building is a mutual process.

As infants develop, their parents remain the main source of their children’s sense of being worthy of love and they learn by watching and imitating them. Much of children’s self-perception and development of self-love comes not only from what they perceive about themselves but how others perceive them. The messages children hear and receive from their parents readily translate into how they feel about themselves.

Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to nurturing self-love in others (‘Infinite patience produces immediate results’). By demonstrating forbearance when interacting with children, adults are modelling respect for themselves and others, encouraging a sense of safety and self-esteem. They are also showing children they are valued and valuable. Whatever adults are expressing, by consciously being aware of their own behaviour and self-regulating their emotional state, they are less likely to project their stress and inner discord onto children.

When it was first published, I sent the Princess a copy of my book, ‘Let The Souls of Our Children Sing’ in which I write about   the importance of the interests that we share. I am so pleased that she has decided to shine a light on this often overlooked area, which is so in tune with the ethos of my book.

Let he Souls of Our Children Sing is priced at £8.99 and available from Amazon and Austin Macauley. Also available as an e-book for £3.50.

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