Anything that parents do which makes a child feel loved, accepted, wanted and cared for is beneficial. There is no set formula, it will be different in each household.
Basic ingredients include listening to the child, telling them they are loved, spending time with them, complimenting them when they do something right / behave appropriately. Praise creates a sense of pride in the child who will want to do the right thing again to receive further praise. It helps to build healthy self esteem and a sense of ‘I can do things, I am capable’ which are great core beliefs to have.
Spending time together outdoors in nature is powerful connector for the child to Source and to the flow of life. Children love to play in nature, to watch the plants and insects go through their life cycle. Have a vegie and flower garden that kids can help you with. Teach them to value and respect the Earth as well as each other.
It is important for children to interact with others their own age, but it is preferable if this is unstructured play so they can use their imaginations and creative side of the brain. Too much structured play and competition with self – to do better each time, or competition with others forces a more linear, rational side of the brain to become dominant. Then a child is less spontaneous, more robotic, more determined to succeed at the expense of all else. Let them be children. Let them play.
Don’t set goals to achieve or place pressure on them to learn languages, music, etc if they have not expressed an interest in it or they don’t enjoy it. Let their lives be joyous and if that is their foundation it will be easier for them to be joyous throughout their lives. Don’t deaden them to achieve, work hard and sacrifice their dreams and desires to fit in or to be ‘realistic’ and succeed in life.
A successful life is one where the person is happy within and is being of service to the whole / to the community, doing something they love. It may be music, art, gardening, sport or a hobby that fills their heart and others hearts with joy – an act of beauty that touches people. It doesn’t have to be financially successful. That is a poor measure of a successful life. Yes, you want them to be comfortable and able to support themselves and any future family they have, but it is best done through a job that they enjoy, rather than one they feel they should do.
Give them the freedom to do what they want and they will succeed. Encourage any natural talents and tendencies they show from a young age – that is often their gifts showing through. If they show great interest in building things then help them through buying them the kits to construct different devices. If they show aptitude in music then buy them the musical instrument of choice for them to use. Support them to follow and maximize their passion, then they will enjoy life more fully. They will know it is okay to do what they want and that they deserve to have what they want.
Don’t worry about making them an all rounder. Some kids are athletic, some aren’t. Don’t try to force a square peg in a round hole. It hurts kids quite a lot when they are forced to do something they don’t like. They often feel pathetic, not good enough, not capable, etc which is not a beneficial set of core beliefs to foster. Better off to let them revel in what they are good at. It is okay to help them build the skills in other areas in a fun, playful way – just don’t force them to spend lots of time on it, don’t be too serious about it and make it clear that you love them no matter what. They need to know they are loved for who they are, not for what they can do. Give lots of positive feedback and tell them they are loved and special. Then they will grow with a strong sense of self esteem.
It is good for kids to do chores, to help around the house, to learn that you all have certain tasks to do to help the family enjoy life. Do not make these boring or hard work. Make chores fun by playing games as you clean up rooms or do dishes. Teach them to use their imaginations when doing a repetitive task. You can have quite a fantasy going through your mind as you do a simple task such as weeding the garden or mowing the lawn. Thank them for helping. Tell them you are proud of their kindness and support their passions.
Most children will thrive under these conditions. It is only when they are yelled at, belittled, left alone too much, etc, that they develop a low sense of self esteem and that makes everything harder as their starting thoughts are ‘I can’t’ instead of ‘I can’.
You set up their core beliefs from what they experience in the first 6 years of life. Everything they see, hear, feel gets absorbed into their minds and forms their core conditioning. Help it be positive through providing a loving home, kind words of praise and acceptance, and a fun atmosphere in which to learn and grow. Then the kids will thrive.
It’s okay for the parents to work or for a child to go to day care. It is not about quantity of time together as much as quality. If a child feels safe and loved at home and at child care then they will thrive. If they feel unsafe then they won’t. So find the right place and people to care for your child so he/she has fun, feels loved and thrives regardless of the fact that you are not there. When you do get time together make sure you do pay attention and connect deeply with your child, listening to how their day has been, asking questions and sharing stories. Cook tea together or do dishes together so that you get to have enough time connecting. Once a child feels seen / heard, their cup is full of love, then they are content to be on their own or with others. They don’t need to be with you all the time or even interacting closely with you. A child who has had their needs met will happily go play by himself or with others, as he/she is content, fulfilled, knows they are loved, accepted and okay. And that is what we wish for all children. Blessed BE. Amen.
By Jodi-Anne (25 June 2015).