Nurturing all Family Members – Part 1
Wholesome role models
Our children need wholesome role models, to learn from, and emulate. Therefore it’s vital that we are fully aware of the influences that are present in their lives, and the likely impact on them. If children spend a lot of time watching TV, playing computer or electronic games during their formative years, they will be adversely affected by them. We need to follow the classifications conscientiously, and let them know how we feel about the anti-social and inappropriate behaviour shown on the media, such as violence and lying. Teaching values needs to be done on an ongoing basis, preferably in the context of what is happening in our lives at the time. We need to make sure that our children are having plenty of time for play, active experiences, social interaction and so on. If we are handing our child over to another adult, we need to ensure that we know this person extremely well, and that she, or he, is likely to set a good example.
Collaborate with each other, other parents and carers
Whilst raising our children, we will often need to collaborate with other parents and carers. Our children need to see us discussing issues calmly, being assertive, listening carefully, co-operating and problem solving for win-win solutions. This will provide a healthy example for our children to follow.
Allow for differing temperaments in the family
It is wise to remember that each child and adult is born with a different temperament. Some are easy-going, some feisty, and others sensitive. We therefore, can’t treat our children the same, as each child is unique, with differing needs. Their personality develops over time, according to the way they are nurtured, and the experiences they have. A sensitive child, for example, may need longer to adapt to a new situation, and a child with lots of energy may need to spend more time in an area that enables him to move around more.
Varying family dynamics
Having different combinations of family members, can be stimulating and beneficial, for everyone in the family. Particular set roles can be challenged and changed for a time. This can allow members to take on different responsibilities, to get to know other members more fully, and to try different activities.
Be aware of everyone’s needs and support each family member
Children need to feel noticed and special when they master a new skill. We, as parents, need to give undivided attention to our children frequently, when they are proud of mastering a skill, or have seen or heard something of special interest to them. In order to emotionally support our children, we need to give lots of affection, express love, listen reflectively, and validate them. Encouraging children to think of solutions, and give their own ideas, will boost their self-esteem and exercise their brains. Support, thanks and patience will be of enormous benefit to them also. Music and creative experiences need to be offered, to calm and empower our children. Our children require many social activities with children and adults of all age groups. We can also organise play dates, sleep overs and camps to aid their social development. Physical activities that we can arrange for our children include, going to a park each week, and setting up space, inside and out, for active play. Encouraging use of large muscles experiences such as climbing, running, jumping, hopping, walking, and joining in some of the time, will foster this. Large thick mats are great for children to bounce around on, too. We can also give them opportunities to develop fine motor control, such as sand, dirt and dough play. Children naturally want to learn, and are very curious. We need to foster this innate behaviour. It is amazing what they are capable of teaching themselves, if we support them emotionally. It’s very important to provide suitable books, games and materials that will foster thinking, problem solving and remembering. We can also ask them lots of questions, and ask their opinions on various subjects. Children’s language development will be stimulated with a lot of conversation, stories, books, songs and rhymes.