Nurturing a child’s healthy mindset is at the core of positive parenting.
A child’s emotional development begins the moment he or she enters the world and interacts with life around them. The first few years of healthy development are crucial to their emotional well-being. If children do not receive positive mental stimuli during their initial years, they may suffer from emotional or psychological distress.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 21 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder. Yet, due to a shortage of pediatric mental health care providers, only 20 percent of these children receive treatment.
As parents today, it becomes increasingly difficult to balance our lives. Work, chores, fatigue, and stress affect us emotionally. Our children sense our anxiety and are inevitably affected by it. While it is normal for family members to influence one another on almost every level — physically, emotionally, spiritually — what’s most important is that each of us has a platform for sharing our emotion.
Thus, if we want our children to be emotionally healthy, we must demonstrate genuine caring and nurturing by staying attuned to our their feels, fears, thoughts, insecurities, and the joyous time they experience. It is imperative for us to address when our children are feeling depressed, afraid, or disconnected.
Below are some simple, yet powerful ways we can help our child develop emotionally.
1. Address Emotional Issues Now
A child’s behavior will often indicate what is going in their minds. If you notice sudden behavioral changes — particularly those that could be potentially destructive, you will be able to help your child work through them if you address them right away.
What may seem like an insignificant behavior pattern can develop into more destructive behavior if you do not address their emotional issues as they occur.
2. Validate a Child’s Feelings
As parents, we often carry a ‘been there, done that’ attitude towards children. Our experiences have equipped us to deal with problems without emotionally investing ourselves.
Children, however, experience many of life’s problems for the first time. Hence, they are not equipped to emotionally navigate these problems and find a solution on the other side. If we downplay their feelings, they shut down emotionally, become insensitive, defensive, rebellious, and they do not know how to work through a problem emotionally. These defense or coping mechanisms start an early age.
3. Learn to Listen, Not Parent
The best way to foster open communication between you and your child is to learn the art of listening. Children are not always looking for answers to problems. Instead, they need reassurance, security, and support from us.
If we want our children to be honest with us, not go behind our backs, or spend time with us, we learn to listen without preaching, parenting, or try to find solutions all the time. If we invite our children to talk to us honestly, but we display defensive or erratic responses, we give them valid reasons to refrain from telling us what's going on in their lives.
4. Spend Time With Your Children
Spending time with your children let them know that they are a priority in your life and that you value what they are interested. The best way to spend time with your child is to engage in fun activities without distractions or interruptions.
Remember, you do not have to spend much money to spend time with your child. There are plenty of simple activities you can engage in that cost little to no money. Children appreciate the moments when you take a genuine interest in spending quality time together.
Early Childcare and Education in Minneapolis
The Learning Lodge provides early care and education for children in the Ramsey and the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. We offer a unique approach to childcare and education. Our approach emphasizes desired-results education that focuses on interactive learning and parent participation.
Our childcare center hosts a variety of exciting activities that both encourage education while providing endless hours of entertainment.
To find out more about our educational programs or how to enroll, call us at 763-427-2587. You can also message us on our contact page.