Mumbai, 20 July-2014,Debjani Arora : Children learn more by example and less from their school books. They often draw a parallel from their parents’ behaviour and actions while encountering a situation in life. So be wary of your responses to various situations. It’s human to err, but to err repeatedly in front of your children is actually bad parenting. No matter how many stories you tell your kid about great men and achievers, what they pick up is the habits and behaviour that you live by the most. So for your child to grow up as a good human being you have a big task at hand to perform and do it right all the time. Here is a little list that can help you get started:
1. Change yourself: If there is anything you want to change in your child’s behaviour, start with yourself first. If you keep frowning all the time or throw fits at the drop of a hat, it’s difficult for your young child to take lessons in humility and patience from you. If you want your child to imbibe such traits, first practice them for yourself. Your actions will be speaking louder than words, so be careful.
2. Set good examples: Stop your habits of swearing, arguing or jumping the queue at the bank or bus stops, especially if you are with your child. If you sow the wrong seeds at such a tender age you should be wary of what it will bear later. Be very conscious when you are with your child; innocent minds learn to imitate and repeat your actions, forming a pattern that will shape their lives. In case your behaviour turns your child into an aggressive adult you might not even be in a position to help him later.
3. Teach the importance of exercise: Did you know that a display of negative emotions is often due to an underlying health crisis or issue. Your health has a lot to do with your behaviour and mood swings. A sedentary life with issues of obesity or excess weight doesn’t only indicate a potential health risk, but also gives rise to boredom, weakness and a general lack of interest towards life. A healthy and fit parent can play a more active and positive role in a child’s life. Teach the importance of exercise form a very early age. Every cell of your child’s body needs oxygen and the best way to get it is through proper exercise. If exercise appears to be too structured and boring for your child, encourage participation in outdoor games that will yield the same results.
4. Encourage the inculcation of an interest: Apart from studies your child’s participation in extracurricular activities is also important. That said, don’t force your child into any martial arts class or music class simply because you think of it as the best stress buster or a must have skill for life. Instead follow your child’s interests. To find out what your child loves the most, and so that he does not feel trapped with an activity that gives him less pleasure, allow your child to experiment with a variety of options. Right from nursery to primary schooling be flexible with the activities you choose for your child. Let your child learn a little about painting, singing, take part in elocution and plays too. Outdoor activities are equally important here. This will give you cues on what interests your child the most, and what you should make him pursue. A grown up who has a hobby to nurture is usually more stable psychologically.
5. Help to develop an interest in reading: You can read to your baby as early as six months old. It is said that babies who are read to extensively are the ones who start to read early. A well read person exudes a type of confidence and poise like no other. Spend some time with your child, reading books from a very early age. It is going to be a long time investment, the benefits of which you will both reap in the future.
6. Teach your child to be co-operative: People blame a mother’s endless love and affection if a child turns out to be aggressive and self-centered. But the reason for the same is not the boundless motherly love, but a lack of participation with peers and elders. In a fast paced life where joint families have disintegrated to make way for nuclear ones, the child has less interaction with kids of his age or even elders. This makes cooperation a really tedious task during adolescence. To help your baby deal better and adjust with others, allow him to mingle more with children of his age group and leave him under the supervision of the grandparents to learn to deal with elders (other than mum and dad) better. There are bound to be fights and disagreements when your child plays with others in the playground, don’t intervene every now and then. Also, when grandparents try to discipline your child don’t interfere as this will help your child to develop a sense of independence and respect for elders too.
7. Teach to say sorry and thank you: From a very early age teach your child the importance and significance of these two words. Saying sorry and thank you when it is apt is what will define your child’s nature as a good human being. Other common courtesies would just fall in place once your child knows when to thank and seek forgiveness outside of his comfort zone. These two little words go a long way in establishing your child’s social quotient too.
8. Help to socialize: One of the ways you can make your child turn into a smart, confident person is by helping him socialize on his own. Though it is important that you keep an eye on your child’s activity and friends, you also need to allow your child to socialize in your absence and give the requisite personal space. Always be available for your child, but sometimes learn to step back and allow your child to venture forth into the world on his own and at his own pace.
9. Stress the importance of hygiene: Many think that this isn’t necessary, but for your baby to grow into a good human being, basic hygiene practices needs to be in place. Start with the basics like washing hands and mouths before and after meals, brushing twice daily and having a bath every day. This will definitely help in the long run.
10. Inculcate an appreciation for nature: Living in today’s urban jungle, this might seem difficult, but this is absolutely necessary. Just as your child draws some of his actions from your behaviours, he draws inspiration for life from Mother Nature. Go for nature trails and beach walks when your child is young. This will develop an attitude in your child to be out in the open more often and to be more accepting towards life in general. This is probably why vacations and holidays are so crucial to the healthy all-round development of a child.