While parents don’t have complete control over whether their children mature into healthy, thriving, and contributing members of society, they can make a positive impact. What your children do when they’re older is up to them, but you can set the foundation at home for them to develop physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally into stable and functioning adults. You can do this by promoting positive behaviors at home like exercise and sleep, fostering constructive relationships within your family, and creating a sense of structure.
Method 1 Method 1 of 3:Promoting Positive Behaviors Download Article
Practice what you preach. Children take on a great deal of the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors demonstrated by their parents. Therefore, it’s essential that your presence in their lives reflects that of a positive role model. The popular saying “Do as I say not as I do” simply won’t cut it here. If you smoke, drink, use swear words, or demonstrate prejudiced viewpoints, there’s a good chance your children will, too. Instead of telling them what to do, try showing them with your own behavior.
- Be mindful of your behavior around your children. If you tell them not to lie, then you should also be honest in your words. If you want them to minimize time on technology, then you should also limit your use of technology. Eliminate the potential for back-talk like “But, you do it!” and try your best to practice what you preach.
Emphasize health and wellness. In a similar vein, be sure to encourage good nutrition and health practices for your whole family. As much as your budget allows, select fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and low-fats. Make sure your children get adequate exercise by going on walks around the neighborhood or playing sports in the park. Get them to bed at a decent hour so that they can get at least 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Be sure that you are taking strides to support your own health and wellness, too. Avoid drugs and alcohol or other forms of unhealthy coping. Manage your own stress by practicing regular self-care.
- Make sure to teach your child healthy ways to self-soothe as well. This will help to prevent them from engaging in unhealthy behaviors later on. Teach your child to do things like go for a walk, take a bubble bath, visualize a tranquil place, or listen to some soothing music as ways to self-soothe.
Nurture their self-esteem. Another way you can use your home environment to build good character and well-being in your children is by supporting their confidence and self-esteem. Children with positive self-esteem have more resilience, feel accepted, and have positive views about themselves.
- Build an “I can” attitude in your children by giving them opportunities to develop new skills like dressing themselves or riding a bike. Show them how to do it and then give them the chance to try on their own. Then, offer genuine praise for their effort.
- Promote their self-esteem also by encouraging a healthy body image. Voice a zero-tolerance for teasing about weight or food in your household. Change your own language if you often make self-deprecating comments about your body. Also, remove negative media sources that reinforce unrealistic body sizes and shapes. You may even want to limit the media, such as the news, in your home in general since it tends to skew negative.
- Let them know that they can always talk to you about what is on their mind, even if they disagree with you. This will encourage them to speak their mind when needed and they will be more likely to come to you with their problems.
Help them cultivate their interests. When children feel supported by their parents to learn and advance their skills, the sky is the limit. Notice what your child is passionate about and find ways to help them develop those passions.
- Your child’s interests may run the gamut of academics, music, sports, or collections. Get them involved in extra-curricular activities that allow them to grow their skills and meet other children who share the same interests.
- Take it even further by making sure that you show involvement and interest in their passions. For example, if you have a child that is on the debate team, you might help them practice at home as a family. Then, the family might all attend events together to show support.
Method 2 Method 2 of 3:Building Connections Download Article
Stress the importance of family bonding. One of the most important investments you can offer your children is quality time together as a family. Family time presents an opportunity to monitor your children’s interests and strengths in a relaxed environment. It also gives you an opportunity to enhance your connection with one another and enforce family values.
- There are a multitude of ways for you to get the family together. Share mealtimes several mornings or nights each week. Create a family hobby such as playing basketball or going for bike rides. Attend church or other community events. Go shopping. Make sure everyone attends important events for the children like sports games, recitals, and spelling bees.
Schedule some one-on-one time. Although time together is beneficial, so is time spent with your children separately. It can be challenging to dedicate attention to each individual child when you’re all together. So, allotting a bit of time each week to each of your children is yet another beneficial strategy for building a positive home.
- When you spend one-on-one time with your children you can find out what’s happening in their lives, what their unique abilities and interests are, and offer them affection and encouragement in a way that best suits their personality.
- How you spend quality time will depend on each child. For example, a shy child might simply enjoy watching a movie with you while sitting side-by-side. Meanwhile, a more gregarious child might want to go on a shopping trip and tell you all about their latest adventures with friends. Select appropriate activities that work for you and your child.
Encourage your children to express themselves. Family time spent together or individually is also an ideal time to talk with your children. Make an effort to reach out and ask about their experiences at school, with friends, and in other environments.
- It can be hard to know how to talk to your children as an adult. Let them lead you. Pay attention to what each of your children are interested in or receptive to and use those topics as openings. For example, if you have a daughter who is on the swim team, you might go swimming with her and ask her to give you some pointers. Then, you might ask, “What do you enjoy most about swimming, and why?
- Another way to encourage open discussion between you and your children is to have regular family meetings. Set a time each week or every other week where everyone comes together and shares some details about what’s new with them or any challenges their facing. Then, discuss any problems proactively as a family. This helps your children feel comfortable bringing problems—big or little—to you when they encounter them.
Practice active listening. No matter how busy you are, when your kids are talking, don’t tune out. This sends the message that what they’re saying doesn’t matter. Listening requires being active in not just hearing the words, but also understanding the thoughts and feelings behind the message.
- Use active listening principles when your children are talking, such as making occasional eye contact, demonstrating open body language (e.g. uncrossed arms and legs), and nodding or making appropriate facial expressions.
- When they are done, ask appropriate questions like “How did that make you feel?” or “Are you worried about that?” to further the conversation and show you were listening.
Method 3 Method 3 of 3:Developing and Reinforcing Structure Download Article
Stick to a relatively predictable routine. Building a positive home for your child depends on consistency and predictability. Children require set times to wake, sleep, eat, and do other activities to feel safe and secure. Having erratic schedules can lead to cranky, confused children that act out. Research shows that even though kids may hate bedtime, it’s good for helping them regulate emotion, fight impulses, and manage time.
- Help your child learn self-discipline by creating a predictable schedule for activities like waking up, eating breakfast, eating snack after school, attending extracurricular practice, doing homework, completing chores, and preparing for bed.
Set clear household rules. Limit-setting is another necessary aspect of establishing structure in your home environment. Creating a set of rules to follow in your household lets your children understand the parameters of behavior—what’s off-limits and what’s acceptable. This builds a foundation for other environments your child may enter, such as daycare, relative’s homes, or school.
- Sit down with your partner, if you have one, and devise a set of rules that are clear and easy to understand. Post the rules somewhere they can be seen regularly like on a memo board or clipped to a magnet on the fridge.
- Your rules might include, for instance, “No running through the house,” “No jumping on furniture,” “No telling lies,” and “No hitting or teasing your siblings.”
Be consistent with discipline. Once you have established ground rules and shared them with your children, be sure to follow through with any consequences for rule-breaking. Consequences should also be clear to your children on the outset.
- For example, if you have a rule that everyone needs to remove all their belongings from the living room by bedtime, a consequence may be to take anything that’s left behind for a period of time or require that they complete a chore in order to retrieve the items.
- Make sure you follow through on consequences every time as failing to do so presents an opportunity for a power struggle between you and your child.
- You may even consider getting your children involved in making the rules and coming up with consequences that they think are fair. This will help them to feel appreciated and increase the chances that they will comply with the rules.
Assign age-appropriate chores. It’s beneficial that children are allowed to contribute to the household in whatever way they can. This helps them develop a strong work ethic, recognize how they can positively contribute to their environment, and appreciate cleanliness and organization. It can be helpful to create a chore chart to place in your kitchen or other common area that clearly states each child’s responsibilities.Internet Explorer Channel Network