WAYS TO COMMUNICATE LOVE AND CARING TO YOUR CHILD
You have brought a perfect human being into this world. This little perfect person now needs you to be the best possible parent that you can be. Your child is depending on you to introduce them* to the world, to guide them through their years of self-discovery and most importantly, to help them develop good self-esteem.
Instilling self-esteem in your child is probably one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. A child with good self-esteem feels loved, valued and confident. S/he* is likely to grow up being creative, successful, kind and popular. A child with low self-esteem will be an underachiever or will be a compulsive
overachiever whose self-worth is tied to their accomplishments. This child will easily be guided by the opinions of others, will be at risk for poor choices and will be more apt to participate in alcohol, drugs and early sex.
The following list of WAYS TO COMMUNICATE LOVE AND CARING TO YOUR CHILD will help you be the best possible parent you can be as you foster healthy self-esteem in your child.
1. Breast feed if possible. This creates a very secure bond between mother and baby whereby baby feels nurtured and safe
2. Feed on demand
3. Respond quickly to baby’s cries
4. Comfort and sooth baby when s/he is in distress
5. Talk lovingly
6. Stroke, cradle and touch
7. Respond with pride when baby accomplishes a task, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Get excited, clap, smile, yell "bravo"
8 Verbally tell the toddler "I love you"
9. Verbally tell the toddler "I always wanted a son or daughter just like you"
10. Verbally tell the toddler "I am so glad you are a part of my life"
11. Verbally tell the toddler "You are so special just because you are you"
12. Compliment the child. Say, "You are smart, pretty, handsome, strong, courageous, kind, generous, gentle, sweet and you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it"
13. Acknowledge the child’s accomplishments before pointing out areas in need of improvement
14. Focus on the child’s special abilities and talents rather than comparing them with other siblings or children
15. Create a supportive and encouraging environment by using at least twice as many "Yeses" as "Nos"
16. Answer questions with care and concern
17. Set aside special time just for the two of you
18. Sit with the child and play games
19. Read stories to one another
20. Take visits to the park
21. Plan family outings
22. Recognize that the child has an inner world of feelings that must be communicated. Ask, "Is there anything you would like to talk about?" "Is something bothering you?" "Have I done anything to upset you?"
23. Allow for the expression of feelings without judging or labeling them as good or bad. Validate anger, understand fears and concerns, respect all feelings as being natural and okay to feel.
24. Take an interest in the child’s daily life. Ask, "How are you feeling today?" "What did you learn at school?" "Do you have something you’d like to share with me today?" "Do you need help with your homework?"
25. When a mistake is made avoid making the child feel guilty or shamed. Say, "Everyone makes mistakes. Let’s try this again"
26. When you discipline focus on the misbehavior. Do not attack the child’s personality. Say, "Throwing things, hitting or leaving your room messy is not acceptable," instead of "You’re a bad boy," "You’re so lazy," "You’ll never amount to anything," "You are the cause of all my problems"
27. Keep your promises so the child will learn to trust and to believe you
28. Acknowledge and celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, graduations and holidays
29. Put a note in your child’s lunch box with a loving message on it.
30. Bring home a special surprise that was not expected. Say, "This is just because I love you so very much"
31. Make the last thing you say at night a compliment or a statement of appreciation
32. Sometimes when you are on the phone and the child is becoming restless for your attention, tell the listener, "I’m sorry, but I will have to hang up now because I want to play with my child." This will make the toddler feel really special and important
33. If you and your partner are continually arguing, thinking of separating or divorcing, tell the child that the problems you are experiencing are not their fault. Explain that it is very sad but that your decisions will hopefully be best for everyone. Make sure there is a chance to ask questions, to clarify and to share feelings.
Can you think of additional ways to communicate love and caring to your child? Add your own ways now.
The more ways you express love and caring, the happier and more emotionally healthy your child will be.
GIVE YOUR CHILD
THE GIFT OF LIFE
*For grammatical consistency and clarity "s/he has been used to replace "she" or "he"
*The use of the words "their" and "them" have been used to replace the word "it" when referring to the child. The use of these words is grammatically incorrect but the use of the word "it" is politically incorrect. A child is not an "it" or a "thing." Our language is incomplete.
© 1994 Blythe Daniel
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