Our child was born 5 years ago. It was a spectacular event that changed the way we were setting our priorities. We have tried to adapt the old habits to the new family configuration. In this journey, we have lived, tried and applied different ”strategies” that made us, the adults, better human beings... to be able to raise a happy and healthy kid.
When our children are coming into this world they are ready to offer love, they are ready to learn all the amazing aspects of life, they are ready to make everybody happy… they are the perfect clay ready to be shaped. From this moment, as parents, we have a great responsibility regarding the new life, the new person that will develop near us. This is a real honour, but some of us are not aware of this fact and sometimes our behaviour is inadequate.
Not being able to go back in the past and change the interaction we had with our kids=future adults, in this article I will be very straight forward and I will share my DOs and DON'Ts. Maybe for some of us, these will sound disturbing, but I want to ring a bell before it is too late for our children.
We have to treat our kids as we treat each adult in our lives. Kids deserve respect as we are respecting ourselves and the adults around us.
1. Don't be a COUCH POTATO
If you want to have a healthy kid or maybe a future athlete in your house, be an example. The child is copying everything that he/she sees, either we like it or not...this is the truth.
- Take him on your bike. A bike child seat is not expensive and you can find one for each age;
- Go walking/running in the park. This is the moment when you should use your baby stroller;
- Go to sports events and expose your kid to different kind of sports activities;
- When he/she starts walking: go outside and just walk with him. Push together the baby stroller;
- Let him climb, let him jump, let him run;
- Go hiking or take a walk in the forest. Admire the beauty of nature.
2. Don’t be OVERPROTECTIVE
- If you panic easily you will convey uncertainty in your child’s mind;
- Try not to pass him your fears;
- Encourage and let your child explore the world. Only in this way he/she will discover and also learn new things very easy and in a funny way, plus he/she will develop his/her self-esteem and confidence;
- Being calm and relax will help your child to have the same state of mind;
- Rise the kid from the ground and offer your support to move on.
3. Don't UNDERESTIMATE your child
Your child can do everything he/she sets his/her mind. START to believe this! This will be a great support for him.
- Observe your child. Don’t interfere in his/her activities unless his/her life or somebody else’s life (human beings, insects, animals, birds, etc) is in danger;
- Try not to minimize his/her achievements. For example, when he/she creates something and his/her clothes are dirty, don’t make a tragedy, the clothes can be washed;
- Keep your advice for the moment when the child asks it;
- Keep in mind: for the kid, the process is more important than the result;
- Be there for support, not for critics.
4. SCREENS are NOT your child’s FRIENDS
- I know it is easier to leave the kids in front of screens, but exploring the real life is more beneficial for an absorbing mind.
5. RESPECT your child's NEEDS
Be near your children when their life is tough. It is not easy to move from a warm belly to a big, cold, and agitated world. The kids are feeling your emotions even if they are only a few months old. Crying is one of the few ways of communication used by babies to pass on messages. They are new in this complicated place and maybe they are hungry or they are tired...or something is not as it should be for them. Even if you haven’t slept too much lately and you are not very familiar with the new life that is moving near you, be patient, don’t start yelling at the kid, don’t shook him. It is common sense that if you keep somebody for a long time in an environment that is not healthy, that human being will be affected by it.
So, when you are on the edge of the abyss, try to do one of the followings:
- Ask your partner to come and sit with the kid so that you can reset yourself; go outside and take a fresh air breath;
- Try to put some music that will change your mood and your mindset;
- Remember that your child is trusting only you and your partner; The kid knows your scent and your voice since he/she was inside the belly;
- Just listen to their crying; be strong and embrace their suffering.
6. READ real BOOKS
Your phone user guide is not a book 😀. You have to read real books.
- From the moment the kid joined this world, expose him/her to books. Don’t let the thoughts such as he/she doesn’t understand, he/she cannot read ...to be barriers in the magical adventure of books. Read to your child, explore together books with pictures and create stories depicted from reality;
- Read your own books in his/her presence;
- Use a real dictionary when he/she asks you what the meaning of different words are;
- Use encyclopedias for children to explore the world and everything you can find around you.
7. CULTIVATE your PASSIONS
You hope to have a passionate child, but you don’t have any passions or you are not exposing him/her to them. Passions should be part of our lives. What is a life without passion and the joy behind it?
- Cultivate your passions or rediscover them so that your child can see you in ACTION;
- Do what you like and try to integrate your child into your activities. It can be very challenging, but it is double;
- Don’t use your child as an excuse in not doing what you liked before he/she came into your life. There is time for everything.
8. ANSWER the “WHY” questions
- If you want your child TO LOVE LEARNING, to find his/her own answers, do your best to answer to his/her childish questions even when you are too tired or too bored;
- Be patient, listen to the questions and answer them… WHY? It is a very simple question. Be a responsible grownup. If you don’t know the answer, admit it and tell him you don't know. Start to explore together and try to find the right answer.
9. Eat to live, don’t live to eat
- Eat healthy food; expose the child to a large diversity of healthy food from an early age;
- Reduce sugar consumption to zero if you can; Remember that a kid who’s eating a high sugar diet is going to get sick more often;
- Trust your child, he/she knows how much he/she needs to eat; don’t put food into your child's mouth (would you like to be feed by someone else?); leave him space to experiment; let him eat alone, he/she will not stay hungry;
- Configure your kitchen in a child-friendly way. The kid should be able to serve himself with water, food, dishes. Remember: independent kids=independent adults
- Cook your food together with your kid; you might have a little chef in your house and not even knowing it.
We are not perfect. Everybody is doing mistakes. Do your best and keep in mind this question whenever doing something for and with your child:
Is this action beneficial for the "future adult"?