By Stella van Lane Contributing Author,a passionate Home Designer Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation, and interior design.
Taking care of a child’s physical needs is relatively easy to do. After all, parents can see when their kids are cold, hungry or hurt, and on most occasions, children will tell them so directly. But, kids cannot really comprehend their emotional needs the best, which is why they usually don’t know what they should ask for or how to deal with something bothering them. Unfortunately, precisely because of this, it can be rather difficult for parents to decipher their behaviour, as well. That said, kids should be provided with unconditional family love, encouragement to explore and discover the world and themselves as well as proper support. This will all affect their mental development. Of course, these things are probably part of your daily life, but there are some tricks to learning how to treat and talk to your child that may not have crossed your mind but can affect their self-esteem and confidence greatly.
Be honest about your own shortcomings
You should never use extremes when you spend time with your kids. Basically, don’t treat them like adults who can understand self-deprecating humour but don’t present yourself as a superhero either. Children need to know that you as their role model are simply human and that there’s nothing wrong with failing sometimes or not being good at something. So, don’t hesitate to talk about both your achievements and shortcomings with your kids in a positive manner. This will teach them from an early age that it’s OK to be happy for things you accomplish and that it’s perfectly fine to admit defeat on occasion so that you can move on in a positive manner.
Kids need both their peers and parents for playtime
It’s important for children to spend time with their peers as they grow up. But, that doesn’t mean that they won’t benefit from a constructive playtime with you. Quite the contrary. When they can’t play with their friends, don’t hesitate to step up and take the time to engage in a play with your kids. This can be absolutely anything, from colouring to roleplay. Having you as a playmate creates various possibilities for you to connect more, share ideas and open up. Sometimes, kids can’t do that with their peers as they’re only focused on the fun bit.
Let your kids choose their own clothes (reasonably)
Of course, if your child wants to go to school in their clown outfit from the last Halloween party, you will have to explain why that’s not really appropriate. But, this isn’t about the way they dress for different occasions but the way they develop their personal style. Obviously, if you find yourself a lovely baby clothing store where you need to get the clothes for your baby or toddler, you will probably have some fun on your own picking out the pieces. But, it’s important to listen to children from the first time they express a certain desire about their choice of clothes. Allowing them to pick and choose things that they personally like as much as possible can have a serious influence on their self-esteem and the way they view their own uniqueness.
Know how to criticize
There will obviously be certain situations when you will have to reprimand your kid for doing something. However, these are the moments when you have to be very careful with words. If you constantly criticize the kids themselves, they will truly believe that they are bad, which is something that will haunt them into adulthood as well in various forms of shy and withdrawn behavior. So, no commenting on how naughty they were. Instead, focus on the behavior itself and talk to them about why such and such actions are not OK. Treat them with understanding and calmness and the kids will respond the same.
Talk about feelings
This should be an obvious aspect of proper child growth and mental development, but one would be surprised at how many parents simply don’t know how to deal with emotional talk or forget about it just because kids don’t start talking about these things first. Well, kids will never start these conversations because they mostly don’t know what the things they feel mean. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the emotions your child may be dealing with in different situations and openly, calmly and positively discuss how different emotions feel, the way to deal with them, and most importantly, just how natural they are.
Respect your child’s fears
Making fun or ignoring the fears a child may have is the worst thing you could do when it comes to their emotional and mental development. Even if they’re scared of something silly, that fear is real enough for them. It’s essential that they know you’re there for them to protect them and help them overcome that fear. Never, under any circumstances, should you let the kids believe that they’re on their own, ignored for something that frightens them. Kids will need time to understand why something may not be scary and they need to be supported and allowed to grasp this in their own pace, and with you there every step of the way.
Children may not know how to express themselves the best, but they definitely soak up everything they hear, see and feel around them. This is why it’s up to you to show them the way to positive attitude, self-acceptance, confidence and self-esteem.
Stella van Lane is a passionate Home Designer from Sydney. She’s also a writer in love with coffee, chocolate, music, books and good vibes. Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation and interior design.