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5 Ways to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mental Health

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Do you want to give your child more than you had growing up? This is a natural path that many parents want to follow, but aren’t sure exactly how to nurture their children into passionate, driven adults.

To nurture your child means you are helping them grow and develop. This can include developing their interests, goals, and social characteristics.

As parents, we want to nurture our children in positive, loving environments at home. We want to bring out the best qualities in them so that their future is bright. That’s why we’re looking at five strategies to nurture your child’s mind and help them grow into a brilliant, positive-thinking adult.

1. Acknowledge monkey-see, monkey-do!

Yes, we know your child isn’t a monkey! But this adorable, age-old adage definitely has some weight to it. This phrase implies that your children will  mimic what they see you do. Modeling behavior of others begins in early childhood, so make it your strategy to nurture the best in your child by setting a good example.

  • Be honest — This will teach your children the importance of honesty.
  • Work hard — Your child will learn responsibility and develop a strong work ethic.
  • Socialize regularly — Studies show that parents are often the ones to help children develop friendships. They do this not only through play dates, but by setting the example of how to treat friends. Set a good one by treating your friends with love and respect.
  • Break your bad habits — Do you swear, smoke, or over drink? Science says that your child will mimic your bad behaviors, too. Research indicates that children are more likely to smoke if their parents do. Set your child up for a bright future by breaking your bad habits now.

2. Spend quality time together.

Couples who take an online marriage course will learn the importance of communication. When you communicate, you convey thoughts, feelings, and ideas with your partner. Similarly, when your child communicates these things to you, you will get a better understanding of how they see the world and how they are developing as a young adult.

Spending quality time with your kids, without your phone in your hand, will help them see that they have your undivided attention. In turn, this makes them feel safe and validated by your attention. Research shows that spending family-time together during meals can help with your child’s brain development. Eating together is also a chance to start the day feeling united, or perhaps eating dinner together is the most time you have in a day to talk, connect, and share information about your day.

3. Create a healthy routine.

Children thrive when there is structure in the household. Along with your love and care, a routine will give your child something substantial to rely on.
Consider a daily childhood routine:
  • Wake up
  • Brush teeth
  • Shower
  • Get ready for school
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to school
  • Have lunch
  • Arrive home
  • Do homework
  • Eat dinner
  • Enjoy leisure time with friends or family
  • Go to sleep

This, along with doing simple chores throughout the day/week (make your bed, empty the dishwasher, mow the lawn), will help set your child up for success in the real world. It creates a harmonious balance of routine, responsibility, and recreation.

4. Don’t be afraid of discipline.

You may not like disciplining your children, nor will they enjoy receiving punishment for wrongdoing, but your children must be raised to know right from wrong. They should be taught that there are consequences for their actions.

Of course, discipline must be done with love and understanding in order for it to hold any weight. Children must trust you and understand that you have their best interest at heart when you are enforcing rules. Therefore, if your reason for punishment is, “Because I said so!” your child is not likely to learn anything from the discipline.

To quote the Paediatrics Child Health Journal, “Effective and positive discipline is about teaching and guiding children, not just forcing them to obey.”

5. Build community around you.

Research shows that your mental health (and that of your child) relates strongly to your environment at home, school, at work, and out in public.

Therefore, building a positive community of friends and getting involved in community events, such as a religious groups, public sports groups, or other extracurricular school activities, can greatly improve one’s mental health.

Traditions are another great way to build community. By taking an online marriage course, you and your spouse will learn the importance of creating traditions within your family.

Creating traditions of spending time together recreationally, helping out at a local charity, going on a picnic every Sunday (and the list goes on) as a family can be highly beneficial.

Traditions help give your family a shared identity. It creates a bond of structure, familiarity, and safety. Such traditions as having weekly game nights, going to church, or attending community events.
Whether your child wants to start a family one day, travel the world, or have an amazing career, they deserve the absolute best. Online marriage courses can help you be better parents. By learning how to work as a team and communicate effectively, you and your spouse will be able to raise your children on the same page and with the same goals in mind.

Photo credit: evgenyatamanenko/Getty Images

Originally published: May 2, 2020
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