To make sure your kids grow up to be confident, well-rounded, and capable adults, it’s vital to instill good habits from a young age. While no two parents will raise their children in the same way, there are a few general guidelines that you should keep in mind to help your kids learn healthy behaviors as they grow. Here are just a few:
Choose a Good Early Learning Center
There comes a time in every parent’s life where they have to drop their child off at daycare, preschool, or an early learning center. While this can be an emotional occasion (perhaps more for you than bub!), it also marks a huge step for your little one’s early development. Preschools help children cultivate essential social skills, foster their cognitive development, and provide an excellent head start for future learning. Choosing an outstanding early learning center will help your child acquire positive habits from a young age, so make sure to do your research and find the center that’ll work best for your child’s individual needs.
Be a Role Model
It’s no secret that a child’s brain can be compared to a sponge – kids absorb an incredible amount of information and learn primarily by example in their initial years. One of the best ways to teach your child good habits is by demonstrating them yourself. If you’d like to raise a little one who says their pleases and thank-yous, make sure to use these phrases when you speak to them. While it’s all too easy to get frustrated with a stubborn toddler, yelling at them when you’re angry will not only make them feel scared but teach them that this sort of behavior is acceptable.
When your child does something worthy of praise, try to avoid using general phrases like “good job” or “well done”. Instead, say something like, “you’ve done a great job putting all of your toys away”. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, but only when your child fully understands the context – by being clear, they’ll know exactly when a particular behavior is desirable. Additionally, make sure to give clear instructions such as “please shut the door” over “don’t leave the door open”. This guides your child’s behavior in a positive way and allows them to know exactly what you want from them.
Keep Your Promises
If you’ve promised your child that you’ll take them to the park once they’ve completed their homework, stick to your word. Likewise, if you say you’re going to leave the park if your child continues ignoring your instructions, be prepared to get up and go. When you follow through with promises, your child will trust you, come to understand the importance of honoring commitments, and learn about actions and consequences.
Listen to Them
Children have a whole spectrum of emotions but often aren’t equipped with the tools to deal with them. To help your little one feel understood, practice active listening where you nod when your child talks and repeat back what you think they’re feeling. For example, you could say, “it sounds like you’re sad that you lost your favorite toy”. Active listening helps children to process and identify their emotions and provides them with comfort and validation when they’re experiencing big feelings.
Raising kids is no easy task, and can test the patience of even the calmest parent. However, if you remember to praise your child for good behavior, set the standard for acceptable conduct, and provide clear instructions, you’ll be well on your way to raising a polite, well-adjusted tot.