Raising a child isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels like one is climbing a mountain without reaching the top, but we believe parents and children can build their interaction on a foundation of love, trust, and respect; just as they have done before modern day parenting styles evolved. It’s important to remember that everyone parent differently and that there are no right or wrong ways to do it. The one thing to always keep in mind is that any kind of dialogue with our children must be healthy in order for it to be productive.
When your child starts to grow, it gets difficult to constantly change yourself to cater to their needs. Below are the different stages of a child’s life and some comprehensive tips that may help:
Toddlers (1-3 years)
When your child turns two years old, it’s time for you to teach them about the world around them. Children want to start exploring their surroundings and interacting with others. Start encouraging independent play and establish boundaries early as well!
The different ways of bonding with them at this stage involves:
- Being attentive towards them,
- Spending time together by playing, reading or simply doing fun activities they enjoy,
- Understanding them, for eg: If your little one is less comfortable socialising, it’s better to spend time at home instead of going out,
- Understand how they feel emotions and teach the right way to behave, for eg: If they show anger by hurling things, talk before yelling or punishing,
- Share meals together, this makes them feel valued,
- Let them decide for themselves sometimes, little things like the dress they want to wear today or a toy they want to play with.
It is also necessary to teach them to be comfortable when you’re not around. Helping them bond with others is crucial since they’ll soon be going to a play school.
Pre-Schoolers (3-5 years)
At this stage, your child is experiencing a lot of changes. From finding the shoots of their self-esteem to developing the basic skill sets alongside socialising with others. As a part of the process, your relationship with them is bound to undergo some changes.
Your conversations will start to get longer and more questions will be asked. Their curious minds would seek answers to all things novel they experience around. It is important that at this stage you keep the gates of communication open so that they can always come up to you. Also, you must be real and honest with them as they begin to understand the world and lying to them can only get them confused. This will also nurture trust in your relationship with them. Listen to them and engage accordingly, that’s the key!
School-Age (5-8 years)
When your child begins school, he/she will start to feel independent and your role as a parent is still equally important. They may sometimes feel like they’re not good enough or even become self-conscious and self-critical about the way their life takes shape. At that point, they need your help to shift focus towards what’s necessary. You need to be there for them throughout every stage of development and give them all the encouragement and love they need to keep heading down the right path.
You must ensure that your child knows you’re always there for them and you have the time to do things you both enjoy. If your little one does not know about his/her likes, dislikes, and interests (which is what most children will try to avoid telling their parents because they may be easily embarrassed, self-conscious, and even self-critical) you can use this opportunity to encourage open communication between the two of you so that your child learns that he/she can come to you when s/he needs someone.
At this stage it’s better to set some family rules that all members can follow. Teach your children simple things like how to say please, thank you and sorry when they are required to. Tell them what behaviour they need to exhibit and what is not accepted in the family. Ensure you make time for celebrations because they create shared memories between family members and turn into great moments that one can cherish. Never compare your kid with someone else’s! It’s important because no two childhoods are exactly alike so there is constantly room for growth – let their strengths shine!
Once your child enters his/her pre-teens, and then, teenage, the dynamics of parent-child relationships change a lot. There’s no set rulebook that can be a fit for all but the key to always maintaining a healthy relationship with your child is to listen to them and understand their world through their eyes. Once you become great at the listening part, most concerns would begin to resolve quicker.