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Play is a natural and effective way a child learns to concentrate, exercise imagination, try out new ideas and practice grown-up behavior. To a child, play is fun, exciting, invigorating and challenging.
To children,play is as important as work is to adults. As they work through play, children absorb from the environment whatever strikes as interesting. Children are known to play with gay abandon, energy and decisiveness.
~ Role of parents
Parental role is primarily to make sure that children have plenty of opportunities to play freely in a safe environment without undue supervision. Parents need to ensure that there are no possibilities of any danger before allowing them to play unsupervised. They need to provide materials and equipment to encourage children to stretch their imagination. They would do well to observe their children at play and support their child's interest from a distance.
~Lessons learnt through play
The child at play imbibes vital life-long lessons. The child intensely observes and experiments with varied forms, materials and ideas. He learns how to use his large muscles, how to turn raw materials like clay, sand, mud and finger paint into shapes that are meaningful to him. He learns what he can do with his body and eventually learns how to get along with others through play.
Children are open to environmental influences. In homes where early explorations are encouraged, the minds and personalities of children grow and develop to its fullest potential. Children are gifted with an insatiable sense of curiosity—-they want to touch, smell, see, hear and taste everything in the environment; their sense of discovery through play, provides an important platform to learning.
~Choice of Toys
It's best that toys are as simple as possible. Simple, uncluttered toys offer scope to the child to use the imagination. Toys can be chosen for their versatility; something that can be used in several ways, not just one. It would be wise to check for safety features in toys which children handle. Rough edges or corners, points or materials that break easily or play involving leaded paint are not advisable to be used.
Learning through play varies depending on the child's age, capability and environment. Children's play preferences also vary at different stages of learning and development.
In every home, it is the parent’s responsibility of providing the right, appropriate setting for their child's play. What parents choose for their child, their imagination and inventiveness in setting up play spaces and proper equipment, is of vital importance.
Parents can significantly foster independence in toddlers by providing a host of valuable experiences and ample opportunities.
To bring about the desired level of maturity and independence, parents need to provide their kids the right activities at the right time. A child is well on the road to independence, when there is plenty of encouragement from caring adults.
The joy of accomplishment your toddler will experience at every step of his development, will give him a fresh impetus to explore and meet with further challenges at the next level. However, you will need to use caution; if independence is forced on your child too early, it could have an adverse effect.
1.Look out for the built-in drive:
Children have a well-defined built-in drive to move towards independence. During the toddler years, your child may display an innate curiosity to discover varied experiences--- for example how things taste, smell or feel. Parents need to look for these signs of readiness and encourage accordingly when a child takes the initiative to venture out doing things on his own. Timely awareness by parents is the key to fostering independence.
The period of "terrible twos" is an age of exploration for your child. This is the time when your toddler will begin to explore the environment and the world around him. Wise parents would "let go" and allow the child to freely find out for himself what he can do. This could be in any area of child development---like his attempt to pull up and stand or walk. It is these small steps towards independence on which your toddler's confidence can be built.
A toddler, who is freely allowed to blossom without undue restrictions, soon attains a considerable amount of independence. However, as much as he wants to forge ahead, your child will continue to need assurances and appropriate responses from you. As soon as your toddler begins to gain mobility, a sense of autonomy and independence develops. He will gain independence as he begins to walk and climb, grasp things and indulge in other physical activities that entail free choice. Look for the appropriate signs.
4.Believe in your Child:
The toddler years are perhaps the best years for parents to begin believing in their child's capability to do things on his own. During this period, parents can help foster independence by teaching their child self-help skills like dressing and undressing, brushing teeth, toileting and feeding. It's best not to hold off teaching these; but take time to be supportive and encouraging. By being close at hand to admire and applaud your toddler's accomplishments, you can positively promote his self-esteem.
5.Maintain the Right Balance:
Your toddler's ability to be comfortable at every new step he takes towards independence is crucial; guide and support your child whenever a need is demonstrated. Children, who are pushed into premature independence by over stimulation, may be at risk. These children would feel inadequate and not good enough to meet their parent's expectations. Maintaining the right balance is the key.
Independence is a process; its successful outcome requires observation, attention and loving firmness on part of parents.
Parenting is an exciting journey. As well-meaning parents, we want the very best for our children. We not only work hard to provide for our children, but also to give them the best of everything life has to offer.
However, apart from material gifts, as parents we also need to give our children valuable gifts that money cannot buy; these gifts are priceless. What are these special gifts you can gift to your child?
Here are TEN valuable gifts you can give your child:
Love is timeless and a special gift. Feelings of love empowers a child with feelings of acceptance, importance and self-worth giving him a positive sense of identity. All parents undoubtedly love their children; however, loving unconditionally makes a BIG difference. This entails that your love will be constant and not conditioned by the child's gender, looks or achievement.
Security is the foundation of positive parenting. Providing your child a secure environment is one of the most valuable gifts. Children thrive in a secure environment based on mutual trust, respect and love. They feel safe and protected and are better able to take on responsibility for themselves when threatened by external challenges.
Each child is a unique individual having his/her own identity. Accepting your child’s identity, is the finest gift you can give your child.You as a parent, need to recognize your child's individuality, develop his or her positive self-image and refrain from comparisons with any other child or sibling. Your child needs to feel a sense of pride in his or her own worth, needs to be accepted and respected.
Fostering an understanding of values in childhood is a timeless gift; it contributes to the formation of good character. As a parent, you need to incorporate values like honesty, humility and compassion in your child's life. These values when incorporated, will find a way of shaping patterns of behavior and substantially contribute to enabling him/her to be responsible, productive and successful adult.
Parents are their child's first teachers. Wise parents consider it their responsibility to provide guidelines and a structure conducive to teaching discipline. Imparting the fundamentals of self-discipline is a priceless gift you can give your child.
A child needs to imbibe the ability of getting along well with others and function efficiently in group and social settings. Teach your child to communicate verbally, to express feelings effectively and listen carefully to others without monopolizing the conversation. Another useful gift your child can use with gratitude.
Children who have effectively developed time-management skills, will be successful in all spheres of life. You can gift your child this special skill by consistently insisting that he or she completes all assignments and chores in time. This habit inculcated in childhood, will lay the foundation for success.
In today's world, children are increasingly being kidnapped or confronted with violence. Experts in the field believe that parents need to teach children to think and act promptly, avoid accidents or mistreatments and ways to cope when lost or stranded. Equipping your child with this vital skill, can be one of the valuable gifts.
#9-A sense of purpose
Character traits like ethics, determination and perseverance, can all be formed through instilling a sense of purpose in a child. Inspiring a sense of purpose in your child—-equips him/her for living a productive life. This important gift will motivate your child to have a clearer vision for the future.
A child need to imbibe the value of all the wonderful blebestowed on him like a stable home, love and attention from parents and family, good health and the myriad opportunities he has for personal development. Teaching your child the true essence of thankfulness is a valuable gift.
By taking time and genuine interest to impart the above ten gifts to your child, you could make a huge difference!In doing so, you will sow the seeds that bear fruits for a lifetime; you will make a significant contribution to his/her success and happiness in the years to come.
Children need parents to provide them with important tools to equip them for living.
Our children's lives are to a large extent, dependent on what we do or not do as parents. Parents have the power to teach their children to become capable, competent and self-reliant human beings. Teaching children to be self-reliant is one of the most efficient tools and finest gifts parents can bestow on their children.
Parents undoubtedly want to do and give their children the very best they can. However, in today's competitive world, parental responsibility does not simply entail making things easy for children. On the contrary, this attitude could promote children to be overly dependent and deprive them of their sense of self-worth, confidence and independence.
Discerning parents would do all they can to make their children capable and self-reliant human beings.Here are some SEVEN proven tips on teaching children to be self-reliant:
Tip # 1. Encourage
Encouraging independence in children should begin right from the early stages. Support your children's quest for independence and give your children a chance to do things on their own—-even if it entails that they may not do it correctly or as per your expectations. Begin by entrusting them with little tasks and gradually, let them move on to doing chores in the home. This will make them responsible in accomplishing bigger tasks as adults.
Tip # 2. Allow
Allow your children to follow their own bent of mind and make decisions about things that directly affect their lives. Allow them the freedom to explore the environment and the world around, taking care not to stifle their inner sense of curiosity. Allow them the freedom to think and act for themselves, even at the risk of making mistakes. Allowing children to experience failure and face the consequences, instills in them self-reliance—- making them less susceptible to peer pressure in later years.
Tip #3. Model
Parents can be ideal role models to their children. Children are ever-watchful of their parent's behavior; they observe and emulate their parents. Parents therefore need to be particularly careful and focus on demonstrating positive behavior. By consistently modeling appropriate behavior by words and actions, parents can yield a powerful impact on their children's lives.
Tip # 4. Build
Parents can help build their children's personal competence by avoiding constant directions and interference—-even if they see them struggling in the process. Children get the most satisfaction when they are encouraged to accomplish tasks independently. Children, who work their way through tough times while achieving personal goals, significantly acquire proficiency in decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Tip # 5.Create
Creating awareness of their skills and abilities can instill confidence and sense of pride in children. When this aspect is recognized and openly acknowledged by parents, it serves as a primary tool in gaining self-reliance. Parents, who are able to trust their children without passing undue judgments or threats, empower their children to take on the initiative of pursuing new experiences.
Tip # 6. Monitor
Wise parents take time to periodically monitor their children's progress from time to time. Setting benchmarks are one way to monitor progress, note improvements, It implies that parents keep a close check to ascertain that their children are headed in the right direction and motivate them with continual positive feedback.
Tip # 7. Celebrate
Finally, it is important for parents to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate when children accomplish their goals. Children need to “internalize” this exciting feeling of success—which gives them the opportunity to share their happy feelings with the family. When parents fail to elicit appropriate response or belittle their children's accomplishments, it could set the tone of discouragement and hamper children's future successes.
Parents need to believe that the success of their children is NEVER out of their control.
Lighting up their children's lives with passion and inspiration, empowering them with a sense of inner stability, motivating them with the force of conviction and teaching them the right skills, will go a long way--- not only in making children self-reliant, but indeed, in making them into responsible, contributing and successful adults.
It would indeed be great if we parents could start teaching good work ethics to our children right in the early stages of child development. But, how can we do it?
By transmitting our passions, motivating our children with shared goals, and instilling core values in our children, we could have greater chances of planting the seeds and ingraining good work ethics in our children. Setting high standards is the key.
Our children need to understand that the most important motive for good work ethics, be it in school, at home or at work, is in the pleasure of the pursuit. It is in its end value--- not only to himself, but more importantly to the community, society and ultimately to our country at large.
Here are some simple tips parents can use:
1~ Be a good role model
Teaching by example is the best possible way for children to learn. Children are continuously listening and watching and drawing important conclusion about life from us parents. By providing models of friendship and hospitality to our children’s friends, keeping promises, controlling our emotions and not belittling our kids, we can steadily help our children to imbibe good work ethics.
2~ Give your Time
It is important that we parents give our time and involve ourselves in all aspects of our children's lives. We can do so by sharing activities together and taking keen interest in all the happenings around them. Supportive parenting greatly contributes to children's academic success. Children, who are taught the value of time will find no difficulty in completing their school assignment without constant reminders—- ultimately doing well for themselves in the adult years of their lives.
3~ Be inspiring
Parents have the power to inspire children in many ways. By inspiring children’s artisitc and creative abilities, encouraging children to pursue activities like nature walks, hikes and outdoor sports, parents can largely contribute to creating life-long interests. Creating wholesome fun activities banishes boredom. Idleness is the number one enemy. Keeping children occupied instead of allowing them to be couch potatoes and internet surfers, is crucial to their all round development.
A civilization rests on the strength of its values. Children thrive when parents spare no effort to incorporate the right combination of simple basics——- core values like honesty, integrity, perseverance and humility in our children's lives.This brings about inner security and instills in them feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.
5~ Entrust Responsibility
Parents, who trust their children with responsibilities, make their children believe that they can be trusted. These children by their actions and behavior will strive hard not to break that trust. Responsibility entails learning to behave, be helpful, have empathy for others and be responsible enough to bear the consequences of his/her own actions.
Active parenting need not be a burden but rather a reward. What we do for our children is never wasted. What better way than to gift our children with good and morally sound work ethics; ethics that will yield the greatest reward in their adult lives.
Having worked closely with a vast array of children from varied strata of society, race and culture as a teacher and an ardent admirer of children, I can vehemently state that there is a wealth of wisdom we can imbibe from children, only if we choose to partake of it.
Here are some thought-provoking lessons children can teach us:
~Keep in mind
As adults, we become convinced that we must leave behind all vestiges of childhood in order to be taken seriously. However, this is a total misconception.
“Without childlikeness, we are cut off from our capacity to be simple, spontaneous, trusting and open to life.” Elizabeth Weathersby.
~Lighten your heart
We need to revitalize our lives with the spirit of light-heartedness. Child-like play gives fresh spurts of energy to those who are worn out. Lightening our hearts in stimulating ways, allows us to loosen up and enjoy our days rather than endure them.
Activities like swimming, hiking, skating, dancing, cycling and many others invigorate our mind, body and soul.
~Remember: Life is not a dress rehearsal
Those who stay in touch with life’s joys, are generally the most productive. There is a charisma about them that attracts people.” Betty Blackerby. By taking a break from the long, tedious hours at work, we can punctuate our work days with bits of playfulness.
Enjoy life and “live life to the fullest” should be our motto if we want to stay healthy—-mentally, physically and emotionally.
~Ignite a sense of wonder
Children have the knack of seeing things most adults never do. Their observations stretch the imagination and quicken the soul. By cultivating a sense of wonder, our spirits soar to extraordinary heights. Have you lately been caught up in Nature’s awe? It could be anything like watching the glorious sunset, or the amazing full moon night or the daffodils dancing in the breeze!
Nurturing this unique sense of wonder, keeps us vibrantly young-at-heart and adds a fillip to our daily existence.
~Dare to be different
We must believe that it’s O.K. to be you; to be different and not always conform to the standard norms. Children have this special mind-set. For example, a six year child in my art class, created a picture of a purple bird. It would be wise for us adults to refrain from frowning or ridiculing the child’s perception.
This creative daring of a child who risked his own vision of truth, teaches us some insightful lessons. World’s artistic creations and scientific discoveries spring from this kind of childlike daring.
~Be open to faith
Children are essentially trusting. They are born with an enormous capacity to be open to faith.
Simple faith and resolute belief that the loving presence of God exists at all times, revives and renews our own faith in the Almighty and in ourselves.
As adults we sometimes need children to show us things we are too clever to see. In their inherent openness to life, they remind us what matters most.
The greatest lesson children teach us is to be in touch with our hearts. Love is powerful; more joyous than hurt being painful. Children teach us about unconditional love.
Parents, open up your hearts and allow yourself to love deeply. When we love with a full and indiscriminate compassion of a child, we are blessed.