What you think is good for your kids, is probably not
“You can’t be serious, letting our girl learn how to ride the scooter at 3?” my wife protested. “What if she gets hurt?””of course she will get hurt, but she will get hurt responsibly” I amusingly rebuked. My wife was not amused as I fitted my little girl her butterfly print helmet.Peering over my shoulder and giving my wife the “I got this” look, making her understand that it’s under control. She reluctantly relinquished and stepped aside to watch.
It is in these moments as a guardian that you wonder if what you are doing is the right call. Your partner has her valid reason to be concerned, especially when it comes to the welfare of the kid(s). I often hear from protective parents say “I’m afraid that (fill blank).” or “What if (fill blank)” or my personal favorite “Are you out of your (fill blank) mind”Of course doing “Jackass” stunts never came to mind to do. Yet, you do want to up the ante to keep this interesting for the kids. Whether this is to help build self confidence or let kids experiment on running with an idea just for the hell of it. Is it worth it? absolutely because it is through play that kids learn how different things work and what doesn’t.
Variety is the spice of life
I remember my High School English teacher, Mr. Murray, taught us the above mentioned quote from the 18th century poet, William Cowper. The lesson was about variety and how the diversity brings in all of life’s flavor. This was not limited to food, but to a great deal of things that we can overlook. I didn’t really put much thought into it until I had to face a slew of challenges that required creativity. Believing that Maslow’s golden hammer is the answer to all is a mistake. You are obligated to prepare your kids for the road to life. Different tools are made for different jobs. Some are handed down from parent to child while some are hand-forged by the mighty child itself. You can help make it happen with 5 strategies that will help your kids grow their minds.
Get down and dirty
Let your kids get in contact with the 5 wonders of the world. Let them discover smell, taste, touch, sound and sight. When immersed, let them explore. Step in only when safety is a real concern. Plan on it that they will get dirty and fast. Please note: Refrain on having them wear cloths that you are not ready to part with…just yet.
Spread their interest
Help your kids explore the different interest that he or she may have. Change the set up and routines so they may experience a new element each time they’re in play mode. Dress up, arts and crafts or sports are all great activities to stimulate the child neural development.
Connect and guide
Developing rapport is crucial to building adaptable human beings. Helping them guide through their emotions and giving these emotions names are vital for children to identify what their feeling and how to express themselves appropriately. Mr. Rogers is a good example to start with.
Encourage generously, Praise sparingly
Helping kids develop in their learning process is quite a walk on the tight rope. We can encourage children to continue their work and applaud on their efforts that they have invested in “I see you have invested a lot of work on this, great effort or keep it up”. However, it is counter intuitive to say “wow, your so smart” or “Your the best”. It sets in the childs mind that he is above average and can streak through the problems with little to no effort. When the time comes that they didn’t do as well as expected, their expectations will churn them inside out. Avoid giving such praises and recognize their efforts with encouragement instead.
Limit screen time usage
Several studies have indicated that children with a chronic use of smartphone, tablets or other electronic devices have increased risk of sleep disorders and attention deficit because the blue screen emitted by the devices. It disrupts the brain’s pattern to generate melatonin, a hormone that aids to sleep and hijacks the controls of the brains electrical activity during the deep sleep cycle.
As a parent, you can give them the basic tools to start with. You can go a little further and give the tools to grow and build. Ultimately, you can stoke the fires of Hephaestus’s forge and give a gift that will bring wonders.