Parents Guide to the Early Years of Childhood

1. The Role of Parents- (Being a good one)

It may come to your realisation that the role you play in your child’s life during the first five years is perhaps the most crucial role. During this time- your children have fewer external influences and therefore they choose you to imitate and obtain certain traits from. It is our duty to create an environment in which our children can flourish, reach their potential and some what become as nurtured as possible. Keeping this in mind that each child has different traits and develop at a different pace.

In order to become a good role model for your children, you need to be aware of your behaviour and moral conduct. You may think that your child does not understand or is even aware of your behaviour, when in fact they are learning instinctively from the minute they are born. Therefore it is paramount to facilitate an environment for your children in which you would like for them to be in- for them to become the best they can be.

A child is more complex than any modern device. Giving a child a proper upbringing requires a combination of knowledge, experience and skill. It’s both very interesting and very difficult at the same time. Part of this difficulty comes from the feeling of burden as sacrifice to achieve it, while part of it is from the feeling of disappointment when we cannot find the expected result in the personalities or character of our young ones. Here it is our duty to become more holistic and open minded in our thinking and way of approaching our parenting style.

Often we underestimate how important it is to remain consistent within a parenting style but also be flexible at the same time. Children don’t like being told what to do all the time, therefore it is important to accommodate your parenting style when need be according to their needs and wants. This doesn’t mean listening to every demand they have but in fact creating a strong and healthy relationship with your child so they see you as a support system more rather than just a caregiver/parent.  We must not leave them with the impression that we do not care about their happiness or assisting their wishes to come true. We must attend to their demands followed by some instruction and guidance while at other times, it should be followed by concrete actions taken to make the child’s request materialise. The important thing here is assuring them that we understand their feelings, appreciate their priorities and are willing to do something about the requests to make them happy.

1.1. The Role of Parents- (Praise and Value your child)  

We all know too well about when a child misbehaves and the reaction they have when you address them negatively. Its not always a positive response and often ends in a tantrum. Children misbehave, it’s all too easy to pick up on it and tell them off. However, when done all too often, we don’t realise how damaging it can be for their self-esteem both as a child and as an adult.

Positive reinforcement is used in classrooms quite often, I was one teacher who found it quite beneficial with my students. When a child misbehaves, we’re often so prone to see the negatives in their behaviour, but what we don’t see is why they reacted the way they did. Its better to make a point of noticing the positive things that your child does; however simple they are, such as painting you a picture, throwing rubbish in the bin or simply giving you a hug. Make sure you appreciate these actions; it will not only boost their self-esteem but also strongly affect their behaviour throughout their adolescence and adulthood. They are far more capable of achieving the best to their ability if they have the confidence in themselves to be able to do so.

Praising your child doesn’t always mean appreciating their efforts but also showing and displaying affection to your child. In other words, kiss, hug and hold your child. It is the best and easiest way of making them feel loved and secure. A child who is shown affection will respond by being respectful and affectionate towards you as well. No matter how busy you may be, always receive your child’s hugs and kisses with a show of pleasure and encouragement because there are few things as pure and beautiful as the love of an innocent child.

1.2. The Role of Parents- (Communicating with your child)  

In order to successfully achieve a solid relationship with your child is consistent communication. It is paramount to speak to your children politely, in a calm and patient manner. Remember kids are like sponges, if you exercise good conduct, they will too.

When children are young, in their first five years, communication doesn’t just mean talking to them or giving them orders. It means sharing an interest in what they are interested in and share with them what you are interested in. Play with them; enjoy their company because they surely do! If your level of good communication with your children remains consistent, you will instantly form a bond like no other. A precious and priceless bond!  Creating a family environment consists of several factors, among which are the personalities of its members, the values that they cherish, the types of relationship they share, the lifestyle within the family, the condition of their home and its specifications. Parents set the tone for the atmosphere within the home, both in the way that they behave as individuals and their relationship with each other. This has a direct impact on how their child behaves and forms relationships. Parents who spend more time on their phones and watching TV rather than communicating with each other. Kids adapt to that life and in turn become similar adults in the future.

Creating a home life, that promotes open discussion of emotions, inner problems etc. is a healthy environment. One, which allows your child to thrive, grow and develop into mentally and emotionally strong individuals.

An open communication environment consists of an environment that is:

  • Calming, peaceful and secure
  • Filled with humour, fun and positivity 
  • Encouraging of individual differences between children, maintaining justice and avoiding negative comparisons
  • Filled with mutual respect and understanding the causes of mistakes in children

1.3. The Role of Parents- (Service to others)  

One way to teach your child about the value of life and the importance of kindness is through ways of them delivering service to others.  Teach your child ways to help others, whether that be their siblings, family members/friends. This trait will then remain with them for the rest of their life. They would want to help and elderly, give charity as well as help the community in many ways. These practices can be instilled at a young age, it all starts in the first five years. How your child spends those five years, are they kind, respectful, caring individuals- it all makes sense when you see the child follow those footsteps.

One way you could teach and in grain these practices in your child is through charity. You could make a brightly coloured box with a slot at the top. Get your child to put small change into the box with time. When its full, you can give it to charity and explain to them where the money is going with maps and pictures about less fortunate children. Encourage them to name blessings that they may take for granted that other children may not have. Children thrive on activities like these, planning small visits to other community homes is another form of charity; bake a cake for an elderly- it all adds meaning to they’re and your life.

1.4. The Role of Parents- (Understanding the Child)

When a child is born, he/she is incapable of understanding themselves, let alone any problems they may cause etc. They don’t know what’s expected of them, and hopes that their parents would assist them to scale through childhood safely.  

Having good intentions for your child is not sufficient enough to deal with the child, whether they may be causing problems or have problems of themself. You need to understand the nature and root of the problem in order to make solutions. Im not a professional in discussing the attributes of many mentally or physically challenged children and now they can be understand and raised in the right manner, but what I can say is that each child is different. All children are products of different individual manuscripts and each one of them has his or her personal traits.

It is crucial to understand this concept of each child and being different in their own way in order to understand them, cater to them as well as discipline them the right way.

1.5. The Role of Parents- (Discipline)

 We know that children are of different natures from our previous post. Some are peace loving, obedient and calm, others are troublesome and obstinate. Their needs for thoroughness and discipline when educating them are therefore not have the same degree. 

To begin with, it’s important to treat your child with gentleness and respect. This will always save you from counteracting bad behaviour. Try and address your child with words of endearment like “darling, sweety, honey”. Not only will they learn to speak this way but also respect you in the long run.

To build a child’s personality adequately, is that outpouring of compassion he/she experiences from their parents. In order to discipline a child the correct way, a lot of effort is needed in positive training and instruction so in turn you don’t have to result to harsh forms of discipline.

Some examples of positive training and instruction are:

1. Spending time with your child

2. Cool down time

3. Reward charts

4. Routine but with some flexibility

5. Positive Reinforcement

6. Rules- Child led.

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