Children really do learn to imitate what they see, hear, and experience from the people around them. Some of it is wonderful and precious, and some of it, unfortunately, is not.
No parent has ever been 100% positive that everything they do is the right thing. We learn by paying attention! All parents have to learn along the way, because every little personality is different, just like their parents!
Here are 5 quick pointers that I have learned being a parent and a teacher. These are ways to be positive and help babies and young children learn that they are loved and taken care of. These are ways to make sure there emotional health is taken care of.
We can feed and clothe a child, but if we aren’t paying attention to how they are feeling or how they are being treated, they won’t be happy or learn to trust others.
5 Pointers for Parents
- “Read Between the Lines” Observe the behaviors your child is showing. Listen carefully to their sounds, their words, and try to figure out what they need, even if it isn’t obvious. Behaviors and sounds mean something, whether we understand them or not. Infants who cannot talk learn to communicate in many ways.
- “Use Positive Words and Tone of Voice” Using positive sounds and words encourages your child to be positive in interactions with others, too. Since all children are individuals, not “good or bad”, only their actions are “appropriate or inappropriate”. Directly praise “good actions”, such as “good brushing”, or “you’re doing a good job keeping your feet on the floor”, or “thank you for trying so hard to tie your shoes”, or “I’m glad you said please”. Try to tell children what action they are to do. As they get older, you can ask them what they should be doing. Avoid “no” and “don’t”, or they will remember and do those inappropriate actions.
- “Stay Attentive and Available” Be on the same wavelength emotionally as well as physically. When taking care of household chores (cooking, cleaning) continue to listen and observe, and put down chores when necessary to “be there” for your child.
- “SMILE” When the so-called “terrible twos” begin (at any age!), adults tend to forget that the child will be a mirror of their important caregivers (family, friends, teachers). Smiles, positive words, having fun, are imitated and copied; so are frowns, no’s, don’t, and whining. If you want your child to be positive and listen, you also have to be positive and listen.
- “Enjoy Your Child” Remember to enjoy your baby, your son, your daughter. We can get so caught up in daily routines and problems that we forget to notice and enjoy all the great little gestures, facial expressions, phrases and movements that these miraculous little ones show us every day. Stop and take the time to listen, watch, and photograph or “video” those wonderful moments that you can’t get back. Time really does fly fast when we’re not looking!