We all want our children to grow up into happy and well-adjusted individuals. Unfortunately, because of the huge number of things we have to deal with, we don’t always pay as much attention to their needs as we should, restricting them from doing certain things with a wave of the hand. Of course, all children should abide by certain rules — but the trick is not too many. They need to have the space and freedom to start making sense of the world.
Here are six vitally important things which all children should be allowed to do.
1. Eat without help
It might be easier and cleaner, to field a child yourself. But learning to hold a spoon and to not make a mess of their meal is a skill which children want and need to learn to do themselves from an early age. It demands a great deal of effort and patience on their part, and developing this can only be a good thing.
If we always feed our children ourselves for years on end, we not only prevent them from learning their first lessons in self-reliance and perseverance but also stop them from ever feeling a sense of self-confidence gained from acquiring a new skill, summed up in that oft-repeated phrase ’I can do it myself!’ You might have to wash their clothes more often than you already do, but that’s a price worth paying in this case.
2. Assist you with a task
Some parents often say things like, ’If you take it, you’ll drop it’; ’If I give it to you, you’ll spill it everywhere’. And then a few years later they’ll say ’he/she doesn’t want to help with anything!’ No one wants extra trouble from their children, but it’s vitally important for a child to feel that they’re necessary and can be of help to their parents. Just observe how enthusiastically they’ll help you out as best they can when you give them a simple task.
It’s even more important for a child to hear praise and understand that they have responsibilities which they can fulfil. So when you can, always ask your child to assist you, and tell them that you couldn’t have coped without them.
3. Draw or paint whatever’s in their head
Unfortunately, not all parents give their children the chance to depict their fantasies on paper. They’re afraid that they’ll draw all over the walls, that they’ll get their clothes dirty yet again, that they’ll chew on the crayons.
But creativity, especially when it’s expressed through drawing and painting, not only develops a child’s imagination but also lets them express their emotions in a completely safe way. Perhaps if you do some art together, you’ll have a great chance to get to know what your child is thinking and feeling.
4. Express what they think
It would seem that nowadays more and more parents understand that their child is a complete individual with their own thoughts, feelings and desires. Nevertheless, not everyone gives due attention to everything that their child says and expresses.
It’s important to recognise that even if we are parents we are not automatically right about everything. Remember that even if you say something along these lines, it doesn’t make much sense to your child. It’s much better to speak to them as equals, listening to what they have to say and how they feel whilst not forgetting to patiently explain everything that needs to be said.
5. Run, shout, and jump around at home
In other words, let them express their emotions. Doing this is so vital for a child; it helps them to relax and release their energy (which as you well know, they have huge amounts of). Of course, you have to set them boundaries, but it’s important to strike a balance and not be too strict.
Try to let your child be themselves at home. And if you can join in, you’ll definitely have a more entertaining evening.
6. Have fun in the playground
The chances are you, you can’t walk past the playground without hearing parental warnings and complaints: ’be careful!’ ’don’t touch that!’ ’you’ve ruined your clothes!’ This really isn’t the best approach. It’s much better to simply teach them the safest way to play on the swings or the climbing frame than to ban them from doing them altogether, as they’re going to do them anyway every time they go there — with or without your permission.
A child may not be very careful at times, but they have a good grasp of up and down and are full of energy. Unless you ban them from going to the playground altogether, it’s really futile to keep resisting everything they want to do their. So, just let them play!