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Supporting Your Child's Development

Supporting Your Child Development

My parenting classes always begin with building new relationships by getting to know each other. Everybody gets to hear about my three imperfectly amazing kids whom I’m so blessed to have in my life and so incredibly proud of.  Right off the bat in the first meeting we bust the myth of needing to be the perfect parent.

After we are very clear that this parenting series is not about becoming a perfect parent (it is about being the best parent for your child) the second class immediately focuses on the children and their development so parents can understand their children better and begin to have realistic expectations for them and from them.

I introduce to parents the many different areas of child development that are important to consider as we are raising kids. I use the metaphor of buckets to represent the multiple developmental domains of childhood – academic/cognitive, language and communication, motor skills (gross and fine motor), social-emotional (including self-regulation), creativity, and spirituality. I add in resilience as a developmental domain we also need to be intentional about developing through our parenting.

While it’s helpful to compartmentalize the developmental areas for the sake of conversation and discussion in class or when coaching privately with families, what we can’t separate is development from the family environment and the parenting practices on which healthy child development relies. Of all the environmental influences on development, the family likely has the most profound impact on child development.

To support healthy growth and development for children your home really matters and your parenting counts!

Family stability is the foundation necessary to support healthy development. Children who grow up in stable homes have caregivers who remain constant, consistent, and connected to them. They have parents who are emotionally healthy, engage in appropriate parenting practices (think positive discipline), and provide a nurturing and stimulating home environment.

When we create a positive family climate where parents and children are respectful of one another, a space where parents and children develop warm, supportive relationships and enjoy being together and spending time together, children can learn and children will thrive. That’s because children are more able and motivated to focus, remember, learn, and engage in self-control when they feel happy, relaxed and connected to others.

There are many ways to create a stable and positive family climate. Here are 7 top tips to consider:

First and foremost is the couple relationship. Make it a priority to stay lovingly connected to your spouse. Maintaining a close, safe, and respectful relationship allows you both to work closely together to create that stable, loving, and positive home environment.

Build family relationships. Making time to do things together as a family promotes family cohesion which enhances emotional development in kids.

Spend time with your little ones sharing activities together. Try to enjoy some fun, relaxing moments every day. Focus more on the quality of the experience together than worrying about the amount of time you spend together. When you’re together show your enthusiasm and let your child know you ‘re really enjoying spending time with them. Ten to fifteen minutes of meaningful and connected time each day will go a long way in building relationships and a positive family climate.

Be respectful, approachable, and positive in your interactions. Smile, laugh and be respectful. Model the use of manners and polite language such as “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”. When talking with children take the time to make eye contact and use a warm, calm voice. Have positive expectations and look for opportunities to comment positively on your child’s efforts, participation, and behavior. Families that treat each other with love and respect provide a positive example of healthy social interactions for young children

Clearly communicate love and warm feelings toward your children. Show your love for your child through both physical and verbal affection. Children never tire of hearing, “I love you.” Physical touch, hugging and kissing are the universal language of loving family connections.

Facilitate positive family interactions. Because family members are role models, children learn from, imitate and adopt the behaviors and patterns of parents and siblings. Encourage your kids to engage in positive interactions with you and with siblings. Teach and model the importance of sharing, helping others, and being kind and respectful to each member of the family.

Engage in social conversation. Talk to kids about their interests, motivations, and point of view. Look for opportunities to encourage conversation and seek out their thoughts and ideas. Allow your children to make decisions for themselves when appropriate. Share stories about your childhood. While you are learning about who your child is, children relish conversations where they can learn about who their parents are too.

Make learning fun

Look for opportunities to make every day learning activities fun. Think about the things that make your child laugh and smile and find creative ways to integrate these things into your everyday family routines and activities. Provide your kids with many opportunities to experience appropriate levels of autonomy and independence (as hard as this is to do sometimes) so they can build confidence in their abilities and in their learning.

Family members are the first people your children will have regular contact with. As relationships and the patterns for interacting develop within your family unit, so will your child’s understanding of himself, other people, and the world around him. The family dynamics you create will, over time, shape the way your children think, reason and problem-solve. So please be intentional about committing to create a loving and nurturing home that provides plenty opportunities for growth and bonding.  This is what will truly set your child on an optimal developmental path that has the potential to produce many life -long, positive outcomes.

Changing patterns of behavior is hard, and it can be confusing and challenging to try new things. It’s also easy to give up when something new doesn’t work out and then to come up with plenty of excuses about why it doesn’t work.

I want you to know my support is always available.

If you relate to any of this information and want to learn more about how I can help you, or if you want to schedule a free phone conversation to see if my coaching is right for your family, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your parenting counts!

Heart of Connecting

My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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