By Rachel Wells
If we are being honest here, sometimes parenting can feel like really hard work. We want the best for our children, and strive to accept them the way they are.
The things kids need most in life are love, security, guidance, and support. Seeing the best in your child helps bring out the best in everyone, and focusing on your child’s strengths is an easy way to connect with your child.
You don’t need to be super-mom or super-dad to bring out the best in your child. Here are 20 easy ways to empower your child and bring out the best in them.
1. Let your child discover their own interests. Expose them to a broad spectrum of experiences, and pay attention to the activities they seem drawn too. Free play is a great time to watch your child and see where their interests lie.
2. Give your child permission to make mistakes. If a child is pressured to be perfect all the time, they will never be willing to take risks, and risks are a necessary part of discovering the things they enjoy and are good at.
3. Don’t pressure your child into certain activities or to learn about certain things. Encouraging is fine, but don’t push if you are met with a lot of resistance as this can cause stress, exhaustion, and resentment.
4. Maintain realistic expectations.
5. Invite your child into your adult life where appropriate. Sharing about your feelings, friendships, work life, successes, and failures can all help your child understand their own feelings and life.
6. Set a good example and be a lifelong learner.
7. Encourage creativity at home – put out craft supplies, instruments, puppets, dolls, kitchen items, and sports equipment. Find a place in your home to display your child’s creations or works of art.
8. Don’t give your child labels.
9. Play together as a family. Go for walks, head to the park, play board games, attend sporting events, head to the movies, read together, listen to music, etc.
10.Talk!!! Make time regularly for talking and asking your child questions in order to get them to open up and thinking critically about the world around them. Remember to be a good listener too!
11.Fill your home with humor and laughing.
12.Praise your child when they are successful or helpful.
13.Make sure your child has plenty of unstructured time in their day to just let their imaginations and thoughts soar.
14.Find clubs, classes, or teams where your child can spend time with peers that have similar interests.
15.Don’t compare your child to others – they only person they should be comparing themselves to is themselves!
16.Give your child choices. For young kids try give them two okay options and let them choose which one they want. When kids make their own choices it helps build independence and confidence.
17. Step back and encourage your child’s growing independence.
18. Teach your child the power of “yet”. Help them understand that just because things are hard at first, and they may not know it all now, it doesn’t mean they never will, it just means they haven’t learned it YET!
19. Apologize when you make a mistake. This helps your child feel respected and shows them how to handle situations when they make mistakes themselves.
20. Speak kindly to your child and let them hear you talking kindly to yourself.