Critical Do's and Don’ts of your kid's Development
Development, contrary to popular belief, does not happen on a clear-cut timetable or in concrete stages. What appears to be true at one age can change over time.
There are many times in child development when the brain is open to change and development happens based on the child’s experience. The only constant in development is change.
Here are a few guidelines to ensure the healthy development of your child and help you focus as a parent and give you a sense of “it will all work out”.
Do let your kid take the lead
During playtime, do what the child wants to do, not what you want to do. Get down on the floor with your baby — play with them at their level. Start by dedicating just five minutes to playtime each day. If you have more than one kid, spend time with each one individually. Combine their playtime only if they request it.
Don’t blame your child
When your child makes a mistake, do not pin the consequences on them and think about the problem from the child’s perspective. Ask your child why she made the mistake and if there is any way that you can teach her a better way of handling the situation.
Offer selective praise
When your child excels at a particular activity, it is better to dole out praise for an action than a result. For example, if your child does exceedingly well in a class test, respond with “I’m glad that you worked hard. Keep it up.” rather than saying, “You’re so smart! I’m super proud of you”. Parents sometimes tend to over praise and this can make your kid self-conscious, which may then lead to unwanted personality complexes.
Don’t protect kids from failure
This may be one of the hardest tasks as a parent, but let your kid make their own mistakes and learn from them. Help them learn to accept life’s realities, such as conflict, struggle and consequences. Avoid becoming a "helicopter" parent who is always hovering or a "snow-plough" parent who swoops in and rescues a child before something bad happens. Instead, adopt a middle-ground approach to parenting. The trick is to stay just far enough that the child begins to develop his or her own autonomy but close enough that if a child is floundering, the parents can come in and pick her up.
Be a good role model
Children learn from watching you. In order to be a good role model for your child, you must follow the five Rs of parenting.
— Relationship investment
— Regulation of impulses and emotions
Don’t demand submission
When teaching your child to obey, try to foster an attitude of cooperation instead of ordering them to perform certain tasks. If they throw a fit or refuse to follow through, do not lose your calm and threaten or explode. Instead, show them the benefits of doing the said task and use positive reinforcement to motivate them.
Enjoy your child and be careful not to imply that your child is a burden in any way or circumstance. Avoid comparing your child with others and teach him/her core values of self and others. Make time for your child and do fun things together. Sit with them at meals and enjoy. Create a positive environment for your child to grow up.
Don’t hide the negatives
Positive stories are good but negative one are, if not more, just as effective as they illustrate perseverance. They enforce the idea that families can stick together and triumph through good times and the bad.
It is very important to practice gratitude with your child on a daily basis. Teach your child to appreciate non-material things. At dinnertime or before bed, ask your child to name three good things that happened that day. Gratitude and happiness are strongly linked and this will help in positive development of the child’s overall personality.
Shining light on unwelcome behaviour can often backfire. If your child constantly displays bad behaviour, calmly explain to him/her why his/her behaviour is not acceptable.
If you have multiple children, avoid comparing them with each other. Even child is an individual so focus on their individual strengths and help them develop these qualities.
Have your child take the lead but don’t blame or criticize him/her for the decisions he/she makes. Do not demand submission from your child when they act up. However, you can shape your child’s behaviour and decisions by offering selective praise, being a role model and instilling optimism. Do not be overprotective of your child as well. Let your child learn the positive and negatives of a situation and the importance of expressing gratitude at all situations.
There is no definitive secret to parenting. Although knowing about child development and research studies can help parents in practical ways, it certainly isn’t the only way to make parenting decisions. Follow your gut instinct and reflect on yourself and your behaviour with your child.