Navigating your child through their early years is a tricky and delicate process. During early development a child’s behaviour is heavily influenced by their surroundings and your actions as parents.
The relationship you form with your child during these early years is essential to their development. Parents should be aware of the changes your child is going through to better understand and recognise that their behaviour may sometimes be a little irregular. This understanding will help you respond appropriately to their behaviour.
As your child moves through toddler years they will begin to ask more questions. This is due to their ever-changing perspective on the world. Often, young children will do something to see how their parents react. It is crucial for parents to recognise this so you can foster good behaviour. Attuned parents are able to forge stronger bonds as your child will know that they can rely on you for help or guidance. By helping your child self-regulate their emotions you will be teaching them essential life skills such as empathy and making rational decisions.
Dr Anna Cohen, Sydney’s leading Clinical Child Psychologist at Kids & Co. offers five of her top strategies to help parents to successfully guide their children through their early years.
• Maintain a routine. An important part of early development is maintaining a steady routine. Setting a schedule from a young age will help your child develop vital life skills and provides them with a sense of order among all the chaos of childhood!
• Help them express their feelings. Often young children get frustrated or upset when they don’t know how to handle their emotions. For example, your child may be having issues with another child from daycare but they are unsure how to resolve it. Parents should talk to them on how to convey their feelings and approach the situation. Teaching children these essential skills while they are still young is crucial as some of these messages will instinctually resonate with them for their entire life.
• Lead by example and show them what to do. It is important to lead by example! Children are very receptive and will pick up on good behaviour if they see it in everyday life. Parents who have exposed their children to good habits will see these habits follow them into their older years. It can often be counterproductive to tell a child what to do. As an alternative, try showing them what to do rather than telling them. For example, instead of telling your child to brush their hair for school, guide them through process.
• Praise them when they do something right. While it can be necessary to tell a child when they are wrong, always remember to always praise good behaviour. Positive feedback will help you develop a healthy relationship with your child and reinforce good habits. Telling them when they’ve done something right will help your child distinguish between good and bad behaviour.
• Enjoy the journey! Your children are only young once so remember to have fun along the way. Raising a child is such a precious experience, there’s no point wasting these years by being over-stressed. Remember to trust your instincts, and you’ll do right by your children!
“Children need a solid support system to help them with fundamental decisions they may face growing up. When a child’s needs are met during early development, they develop a sense of trust with that person. Remember, its normal for young children to go through a range of emotions when they’re growing up! The most important thing you can do as a parent is make sure you’re around for your child,” adds Dr Anna Cohen.
For more information or professional advice contact Sydney’s leading Child Clinical Psychologist, Dr Anna Cohen at Kids & Co. – www.kidsandco.com.au
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