Tuesday 28 June 2022

10 Simple Steps To Raising A Well-Rounded Child: From Early Childhood To Adolescence

Image Credit: Alexander Dummer on Pexels

{This is a collaborative post}

Having well-rounded kids, who are intelligent, confident, curious, and friendly, is a challenge that many parents struggle with. How do you instil these qualities in your child? There’s no magic formula. The answer isn’t sending your kid to the right school or signing them up for every enrichment activity under the sun. The answer is small actions repeated over time that add to big results. You can’t leave it to chance or hope things will turn out okay. You have to work at it -- consistently! 

Why is Confidence so Important for Children to Have?

We all know confidence is a key life skill. And one that kids need to be successful in all areas of their lives. But how does confidence grow in a child? How do parents help their children become more confident? 

A lot of it comes down to the way that parents interact with their children on a day-to-day basis. Parents are their child’s first and most important role models. They are the first source of information about the world. And the first source of feedback for their child’s actions. As a result, parents play a pivotal role in how their child perceives and responds to new situations. As the child grows and develops, it’s essential to let them know that they are unique and capable of achieving anything they set their mind to.

The Importance of Independence

Raising a well-rounded, confident child means helping them with stress and self-esteem. And it starts young. But parents often worry that they’ll fall behind their peers if they don’t do everything for their children. They’ll be less successful because they’ll never learn to fend for themselves. 

Well, yes, that’s true. If you don’t do everything for your child, they’ll fall behind their peers. But that’s not a bad thing. If a child is constantly being coddled, never having to work hard for anything, never having to solve problems on their own, they grow up not to trust their abilities. They don’t know how to take control of their own lives. They become dependent on other people. They don’t know how to break out of that rut. It’s important to let your child try things on their own and be successful. They need to learn that they can always depend on themselves. 

          1) Be A Role Model

You probably already know this, but kids want to be like their parents. They want to do what you do. Kids are sponges constantly soaking up information, always looking for role models. 

You are your child’s first and most important role model. Kids are great imitators. They like to copy what you do and say. Kids have an inherent desire to grow up and be like their parents. That’s actually a good thing. It allows parents to be mentors and positively impact their child’s life. Kids want to know what you know. They want to learn from you. They want to be just like you.

2) Encourage your Child's Interests

Every kid has different interests. If they have a specific hobby or interest that they’re really into, it’s important to support your child’s interests. You want to encourage your child to pursue the things they are interested in. And this can be done in several ways. 

You can give your children opportunities to pursue their interests. Or, you can sign them up for classes and let them explore what they’re interested in. It’s important to let your child explore their own interests. You don’t want to force your child to pursue something they’re not interested in. Why? Because it won’t work!

3) Talk A Lot

Kids learn communication skills by watching their parents. They learn how to express themselves by observing how you communicate with others. So you need to talk to your child. Not just once in a while, but regularly. This doesn’t just mean talking about their day or asking them what they did at school. 

Talk to your child about important topics. You want to have honest conversations and keep the lines of communication open between you. Don’t want to wait until something bad happens before you talk to them. You want to have normal, everyday, casual conversations with your child.

Image Credit: Daria Obymaha at Pexels

4) Don't Be Afraid to Discipline

Discipline is really a way of showing your love for your child. It shows your child that you care about them and their actions. That you’re paying attention and that you actually care what they’re doing with their lives. 

Discipline provides boundaries and fosters respect for others in your child’s life. It’s about letting your child know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. It’s about letting your child know that their actions have consequences. It’s essential to be consistent with your discipline. You can’t be strict sometimes and then turn a blind eye to your child’s misbehaviour regularly.

5) Establish Routines

Kids thrive on routine. They like to know what’s coming. They like having a set schedule with regular activities. Routines give your child an idea of what to expect and what they’re going to do next. It gives them a sense of control in their life. So it’s important to establish regular routines that your child can get used to. You don’t have to follow the same schedule every day, but you want to make an effort to stick to the basics. Things like bedtime, dinner times, and family activities are good examples of routines you can implement.

Some routines you might not want to keep going. Or some might cause you to worry, like sleeping with a blanket. If your child is very young, read these tips for letting your baby sleep with a blanket to ease your mind. But the point is that not every routine or habit you don’t like is a bad thing. Some provide needed comfort. 

6) Take Care of Yourself

Kids notice how their parents act. They notice how their parents feel. But how often do you pay attention to your own feelings? How often do you pay attention to your own well-being? We often get so caught up in parenting that we forget to care for ourselves. We forget to pay attention to our own feelings. And then get to a point where we feel like we’re running on fumes. 

Taking care of yourself is an integral part of parenting. Having time away for yourself is essential. You need to have time to recharge and regroup.

7) Let Your Child Make Mistakes

Mistakes are an essential part of growing up. They are a part of life. And they’re an excellent way for kids to learn and become independent and confident. But how do you let your child make mistakes without making a mess of their life? The trick to letting your child make mistakes is encouraging them to make mistakes in an environment where those mistakes don’t matter. You want to ensure that any mistake your child makes doesn’t negatively affect them or hurt anyone.

8) Teach by Listening more than Speaking

When you speak more than you listen, you send the message that you are the expert and your kid should be the student. Learning through listening is the best way to cultivate curiosity, self-confidence, and empathy. When your kid has a question or a challenge they wish to overcome, ask questions, listen, and let your kid be the expert. 

By listening to your kid more, you are modelling that you want to know about your child’s interests and challenges. What they have to say matters. You are equal, and your child will be less likely to rely on peer pressure to be cool and more likely to be a leader who is kind and has strong social skills.

9) Play and Discover Together

Play and discovery are the building blocks of human development. Kids naturally love to explore their surroundings and learn by playing. When you play with and encourage your child to explore, you are helping your child develop self-confidence, social skills, and a strong sense of identity. You are also modelling how to be creative and have fun. 

Developing a sense of wonder and curiosity is important as well. When setting up play dates, focus on letting your child play and explore rather than directing the play. Your child is more likely to want to do it again if they have the freedom to explore and learn through play.

10) Be Clear and Consistent

Kids crave structure and consistency. They don’t want to be treated as if they’re special all the time. They want to know what to expect and have rules to follow. Helping your child learn to manage their time and set goals is a great way to instil a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. 

Setting clear, consistent rules and sticking to them is the best way to help your child develop self-confidence and self-esteem. Have a family meeting once a week where everyone has a say about what is essential for the family. Don’t be a helicopter parent and have your child do everything for you. Your child should be responsible for their homework and household chores, but they should also be able to turn to you when they need help.

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