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Personal development for kids is just as necessary as providing them with good formal education. Parents and teachers are responsible to encourage positive personality traits in children.
Everything kids learn in their early years has a much greater impact on the adults they grow up to become. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s personality begins to exhibit itself.
Don’t we all want our children to grow up to be the best versions of themselves?
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We surely do. Have a look at these ways and activities that can help you encourage and develop a good personality in your child.
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1. Become a Role Model
As a parent, you are the strongest influence in your child’s life. If you think that regularly lecturing your kids on good behaviors will help them to learn those, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Children won’t pick up as many values by listening to your words, as much as they would by observing and imitating your behaviors. Therefore, practically doing the things that you endorse will leave a lasting impression on them.
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Your words should always be supported by actions – as they say, you don’t just talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.
2. Labeling Can Be Disabling
Avoid boxing your child into a single set of behaviors or personality traits, whether good or bad. Stop using labels such as “he’s very athletic”, “she’s creative”, “he’s wild”, “she’s a fussy eater” etc.
Be mindful of the words you used to describe your child. Negative labeling can have a huge impact on the child’s self esteem. They start to believe they are like that and don’t even try to correct themselves.
Even positive labels can limit your child’s abilities when used too often and mindlessly. It can also put unnecessary pressure on them to behave in one way and strive to meet everyone’s expectations.
Moreover, labeling your children makes other people view them in a certain way and treat them accordingly. It’s extremely detrimental to the personality development of children.
3. Don’t Just Focus on the Bad
It’s easy to get upset on your kid’s negative actions like screaming, creating a mess etc. and ignore the good things they do.
Catch every good action that your child does like when they help you or others, are being thankful, or showing kindness etc. and reward them with your attention and words of praise.
If your child is trying to get something good done but fails in the end, always acknowledge his or her hard work and effort.
4. Listen to Your Kids
Don’t just hear their words, listen to them attentively and engage in effective conversations with them. Children are always hungry for attention and by listening to them, you show them that they are important and strengthen your bond with them.
Children express themselves at their own pace so be patient and allow them the time to speak up. This is will be very important for them to find their voice in later years.
Attentive listening encourages open dialogue between you and your kid. They are not just looking for yes or no replies, so keep the conversation open ended and ask them more questions.
If you’re going to listen to your children, chances are that they will also start listening to your more. Moreover, it improves their social skills as well. They begin to understand that communication is a two way process.
Regularly communicating with kids prepares them to deal with the outside world and build positive social behaviors and relationships.
5. Be Reasonable with Your Expectations
Every child is born with a unique set of skills and abilities and as a parent it’s your responsibility to identify and encourage them. Don’t expect your child to be a champion at everything.
If they fail to meet your expectations, you cannot keep expressing your disappointment and make them feel like they aren’t capable enough.
It’s also important to understand that each child learns at his/her own pace. So don’t try to put timelines on them. If you neighbor’s kid could ride a bicycle at the age of 3, good for them! But it does not mean your kid must be able to learn it too!
6. Make Them Learn Life Skills and Encourage Early Independence
It’s important to provide a caring and nurturing environment for your kids but it does not mean that you make them too dependent on your support and guidance.
As your little one grows older, start teaching them how to manage routine tasks on their own such as brushing their teeth, taking a shower, tying their shoe laces and packing their school bag.
Children can be taught how to be more responsible by assigning them age appropriate household chores. If you involve your children in things like doing the laundry, watering plants, helping with groceries etc. it will really boost their self confidence and make them smarter.
Kids who are a bit older can also be involved in local volunteer work. It inculcates empathy in them and they start to look beyond themselves.
7. Story Telling and Reading
Children love listening to stories. Make this a part of their daily routine. Spend time with them while they read or listen to stories with you.
There’s no doubt that reading can significantly improve the language skills of your child but that’s not the only advantage.
Books open up a new world of learning for children. They don’t just encourage imagination and creativity but also broaden their understanding of the world.
Children can learn to differentiate between right and wrong through stories. They may be able to relate to some characters, try to pick up the good behaviors and stay away from the bad ones.
Nothing can match the impact that reading has on the mental and emotional growth of your kids. Therefore, provide them with good materials at every stage of their development so they feel enlightened.
8. Nurture a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset allows children to believe that they achieve their goals if they are willing to put in time and effort. It motivates them to be persistent and resilient, rather than giving up thinking that they can’t change themselves.
Show your children that they can’t always be successful and that’s okay. Failure is part of learning and it can teach your valuable lessons for coming out stronger and trying again.
Appreciate your child’s effort and notice their persistent hard work. This will enhance their self confidence and resilience and motivate them to keep learning and trying harder.
9. Limit Your Child’s Screen Time
Kids these days are spending much of their time moving from one screen to the other. They are exposed to digital media on televisions, computers, smart phones and tablets. Although parents feel tempted by all the peace and quiet they get while their kids are lost in the digital world, too much screen time is extremely harmful for the health and development of children.
Many parents feel that the best time to feed their child is when they are sitting in front of the TV or busy watching videos on the phone. Eating while your mind is busy somewhere else not just leads to health problems like obesity, your child will no longer be able to practice mindfulness.
Prolonged exposure to blue light emitted from these devices, will also disturb your child’s sleep resulting in mood disorders, poor school performance etc.
Getting addicted to playing video games and watching videos can develop anti social behaviors at an early age. Moreover, children can learn various negative behaviors if you don’t keep a check on the content they are being exposed to.
Allow 1-2 hours of screen time for your kids, distributed in two or three sessions during the day. Make sure no gadgets are used at least an hour before bedtime or when they’re having their meals.
Be careful about what your child watches and allow only age appropriate content. Make use of parental controls whenever necessary.
You need to set a good example and avoid any unnecessary use of your smart phone when you are with your kid. Share your screen time rules with guests or other caregivers like grandparents so that everyone follows them even when you’re not around.
10. Encourage Activities and Extracurricular Interests
Motivate your children to strike a healthy balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Pay close attention to what they really enjoy doing be it playing a sport, painting, dancing or anything else.
If your child loves to sing, find a local choir to join. If they’re into soccer, you can sign them up for a soccer academy. Find ways to promote and develop your child’s hidden talent and interest so they can excel at it.
If they are good at something and get a chance to show it to the world, it brings them great joy and boosts their sense of self esteem. They will feel more confident about their skills.
Not just that, getting involved in activities outside home and school will expose them to different social environments and make them appreciative of others’ talents and skills.
11. Help Them Develop Problem Solving Skills
Problems and challenges are a part of everyone’s life and they present themselves at every stage of life. Children shouldn’t come running to their parents when they face difficulties.
Get over the habit of cooking solutions for your kids and serving them instantly. Allow your kids to develop their own problem solving approach and learn to view difficult situations objectively.
Try to talk to them and listen to their ideas. Appreciate their efforts and trust their abilities. Sure they need your guidance so be there for them but let them feel accomplished by tackling issues themselves.
A fun way to encourage kids to take up challenges on their own is through solving puzzles like crosswords, Soduku etc. This also helps them in their cognitive development.
12. Be a Gentle Disciplinarian
Being an authoritative parent is never a good idea. It doesn’t give any room to your child and disregards their feelings.
Don’t use phrases like “because I’m telling you so” when dealing with your little ones. It can make your child feel like their thoughts, beliefs and opinions on a matter don’t hold any weight.
Physical punishments, yelling or using inappropriate language are the absolute worst things you can do to your child’s personality. Never ignore a child’s dignity even when they misbehave or become difficult to handle.
Set reasonable rules and boundaries to ensure a healthy code of conduct in the house and explain why it’s important that they follow it. Be very clear about your expectation of them. Additionally, apply the same rules to yourself. It makes your child understand the importance of doing the right thing regardless of one’s position.
13. Don’t Raise an Entitled Child
There’s no question that we all love our children but we can’t let that get in the way of their personality development.
Instant gratification can severely damage your child’s nature and temperament. Parents need to realize that fulfilling your child’s every wish, doesn’t validate your love for them.
Steer clear of bad parenting behaviors like gifting or bribing your children for being good, taking your child’s side even when they’re wrong, getting the smallest things done for them, giving in to their tantrums etc. will not only spoil them, this psyche will stay with them forever!
Never say yes when you have to say no even if that means ignoring your child for some time. Cultivate an attitude of thankfulness and humility in your child and stop over praising them.
Children should be made to learn self consciousness at an early age. They should be accepting of their mistakes and apologize every time they make one. Don’t make them feel that they are above anyone.
Teaching them words like “thank you”, “please” “is it okay if I do/use this?” “I’m sorry” will help them learn polite and modest behavior.
Encourage your child to look beyond themselves by creating chances for them to help those who are in need. Take them to visit shelter homes to donate clothes and toys themselves. This will keep them grounded and help them grow up to be compassionate adults.
Parents always want their little ones to flourish and prosper in their lives. A consistent effort at conscious parenting is essential for personal development for kids. These parenting guidelines will enable you to raise children who are responsible, kind and empathic.
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