When we think of babies or children and the stories that they tell sometimes, we are really amazed by what we hear.
There is one story that a kindergartner told in class one day. He began, in not so many words, by saying that hugging and kissing was “icky”. Then he proceeded to explain that, yes, his mom hugged him when he was a baby whenever she fed him. However, his gestures clearly indicated that, that was the only time she was supposed to hug and kiss him.
And there is another story that precedes this next young fellow because he is not yet speaking and because it was seen and heard by a small group of shoppers who were waiting in line at a self-checkout. The young mother swung her heavy hand at his tiny one saying, “Yo, get out ma (beep) Bro! You messin’ up ma (beep)! Get out ma (beep)!” And we wonder what’s wrong with our children today.
In the first scenario, we have a six-year old who was obviously taught that only babies in the arm require affection – that he was already too big or too old to receive hugs and kisses from Mom and Dad.
In the second scenario, we have a toddler who is not even talking yet, receiving such negativity from the person who is supposed to love him the most in this life.
It is imperative for all caretakers to know that affection is crucial to all age groups. It teaches children that they are loved and because of that love, they can accomplish their dreams. Responding to your toddlers with aggression and anger is not the answer. It only makes that child build up a mental wall of fear and self-defense. Later in life, he will be afraid to try anything. And his responses to anyone around him might be either reserved or a verbal or physical lash-out… once again, that fear and self-defense mechanism manifesting itself.
Moms and Dads there are three simple things that you can do to ensure that you are raising a smart and happy child who is confident. Execute these tips along with discipline, and you should be pleased with what you see.
1. Positive Interaction
Show your child affection. A parent’s wholesome caress sends the very important message that your child is loved, wanted and supported. As aforementioned in previous articles, affection is so important that when given, it activates a chemical that coats brain cells which causes them to develop more efficiently. Well-developed brain cells increases a child’s academic ability and enhances his social skills.
Read to and with your child. This cannot be stressed enough. Story time builds closeness between you and your child. Your voice and facial expressions bring the story to life and your child will learn to do the same by watching and listening to you. Furthermore, poetry and songs develop that one on one fun time between parent and child. It enhances speech and auditory skills – creating the ability to capture rhyming patterns and rhythm.
Play with your child. Children are always both amazed and pleased when parents join them on the floor to play with toys, play a game, draw, color, paint or to create crafts.
2. Sharing Time
Now, the nice thing about sharing time is that it can take place anywhere. And everything aforementioned counts as sharing time also, but we are discussing specific topics here.
You want to talk with your child about the world around him. It’s alarming to ask a child what he is eating and his response is, “I don’t know.” In lieu of allowing your child to run and play at the store, allow him to help you shop, and prepare menus for dinner. In this way, your child learns various foods and how to put them together to make a meal. He learns the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.
Talking to your child is essential. Discuss the weather; teach the different kinds of clouds there are and what kinds of weather each of them bring. Discuss the joys of getting dirty from playing outside and the necessity for cleaning up; and this begins the topic on hygiene. Conversations about daily activities help to build a well-rounded child who is comfortable – unafraid to try new things.
3. Challenge and Encourage
Lastly, tell your child what he can do. And then through the loving tones of your voice and by your example, encourage him to try those wholesome activities that he would probably never experience if he did not have your awesome support at his side.
Remember Moms and Dads, it is through positive interaction, sharing time, and encouragement and challenges that we raise smart, happy children who are confident in themselves.