Things You Should Be Doing in Front of Your Child

By Michael Hughes

Have you ever turned around to notice your child watching you with inquisitive eyes? It’s easy for parents to forget everything they do in front of a child is being studied. Children have minds like sponges: they mirror the way we speak, the way we act, even the way we feel. Parents need to provide a positive example to lay a strong foundation for their child’s physical and emotional growth and well-being.

Here are four things you might not be doing in front of your child, but should.

Make Healthy Physical and Mental Choices

Making healthy choices isn’t just about eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Mental and physical health are both equally important to a child’s development. It’s important for children to see adults taking care of themselves inside and out. Taking regular walks, joining a local sports team, even having a morning stretch routine are all excellent ways to show children the importance of physical activity.

Mental well-being is just as important and can be nurtured by exposing children to healthy emotional practices. It’s essential for children to see their parents cry, to be present for a respectful disagreement, or to watch one parent admitting fault and apologising. Children can’t learn to cope with emotions that are hidden away. Don’t hide the less glamorous parts of adult relationships behind a closed door. Children need to be taught it’s OK to be wrong or to be sorry, and that even their parents don’t always get it right!

Reading

Convincing children that reading books is a fun activity is going to be difficult if they only see their parents watching television. Watching an adult read for pleasure is far more encouraging for a child than being told and read a book for five minutes before bed. Reading not only helps with literacy and vocabulary, but also actively nurtures a child’s imagination. It’s also a great way to spend some quiet time indoors on a rainy day. As children get older, books can even be shared or discussed over the dinner table.

Communicate Effectively

While most kids learn to scream and shout all by themselves, it’s up adults to teach them how to communicate effectively. Speaking calmly, using good manners like please and thank-you is the quickest way to get children to do the same. Watching an adult admit to fault and accept blame will not only give insight how to do it themselves but also teach a child there is nothing to fear from telling the truth, that it’s okay to be wrong.

Being able to clearly communicate at school will help their social and interpersonal skills mature, which has a knock-on effect when it comes to many of the issues that worry parents. Most parents want to know their children are making friends and are not being bullied or falling behind in class. Being able to effectively communicate gives children the confidence they need to speak up without fear of being ignored.

Be Creative and Have Hobbies

Being a parent is a full-time job, but it doesn’t define who a parent is. Parents are still the person they were before having a child. They still get to like all the same things, even if they can’t do them anymore

Parents should show their children they have an identity other than parent. It’s healthy for a child to watch their parent enjoying themselves painting, playing an instrument, or surfing down at the beach. Teach them to find the things they love, and that everyone deserves to feel happy!

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