Tracy Martin-Turgeon from the Children’s Workshop shares some advice on how to handle popular parenting topics.
1. Raising a respectful, responsible child
Raising children is hard, there is no doubt about that. All parents want their children to grow into responsible and respectful contributors to society. In order to ensure that your child grows with these characteristics, it’s important to start instilling respect and responsibility at a young age.
First, begin by holding your child accountable for daily tasks and chores:
• putting belongings away (shoes, coat, etc)
• placing dirty laundry in the hamper
• trash and recycling chores
• simple cleaning tasks
• keeping bedrooms and play rooms neat and tidy
• use calendars and to-do lists to teach children time management and responsibility
Respect includes taking someone’s feelings, needs, thoughts, ideas, wishes and preferences into consideration. It means taking all of these seriously and giving them worth and value. Being respectful includes valuing another person’s thoughts and feelings. It also includes acknowledging, listening, being truthful, and accepting others. To instill these qualities in children, parents can:
• Ensure they speak to children with care and warmth
• Validate a child’s feelings and opinions
• Act respectfully toward their children
2. Dealing with Challenging Behaviors
• Too often, when a child begins to exhibit emotional or behavioral problems, parents find it hard to speak up. If you suspect your child has a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
• Talk to your child’s doctor and teachers to see if they have noticed any of the behaviors that concern you or if they’ve seen any difference in your child. There are many services available to you and your child.
• Always remember that all behavior has meaning. If your child exhibits challenging behavior, consider what skills your child might be lacking. What is the reason for the behavior? What happens before and after the behavior? Is this a recurring instance?
3. Raising a healthy child
All parents are concerned about their child’s nutrition. We’ve all seen the sad statistics regarding childhood obesity and the associated long term health issues. Many have also put the fast food industry squarely in the cross hairs. Ultimately, parents have to take responsibility for what their children eat. Here are some quick and easy tips to raising a healthy child with a well-balanced diet:
• Just one fast food meal per week: It should be less, but let’s start with one. Then, if needed, make this a special occasion type of occurrence.
• No processed sugar at breakfast: Fruits, grains, dairy and some pure fruit juice instead.
• Make your child’s lunch with your own hands: A sandwich, carrot sticks, apple or orange will do fine.
• No soda and processed juices: Soda should go back to once-in-a-while status, like fast food.
4. Forming Friendships
• Do you know your child’s friends? If you haven’t done so yet, express an interest in them — let your child know you feel friendships are important and worth the effort.
• Respect your child’s social style — some need a lot of friends, some want a few close friends, others make friends quickly, while some need time to warm up. Be supportive and flexible and help your child make time in life for friends — it’s a gift that will reward the both of you for a lifetime!
5. School Success
All parents want their children to be successful in school, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Success in school can be challenging. We know that children tend to do the same things as their parents do. What we say and do in our daily lives can help them to develop positive attitudes toward school and learning and to build confidence in themselves as learners. Showing our children that we both value education and use it in our daily lives provides them with powerful models and contributes greatly to their success in school. Here are some tips that will help you and your child get set off on the right foot:
• Encourage your child to read
• Talk with your child on a regular basis – talking and listening are important to your child’s success.
• Monitor and engage in the homework process
• Limit TV and screen time
• Visit the library with your child
• Help your child how to use the internet properly
• Encourage your child to be responsible and work independently
• Be involved in school events
• Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher