Forget the new shoes or the latest video game. Of course, those things are nice and will make your child happy, in the short term. This is what they need to go the distance.
1. Love– First and foremost your child needs love. This means unconditional. Whether you’re having a bad day or a bad week, never discount how much your child is there, seeking to feel valued and accepted and nurtured by his parents. Make sure you set aside the time each day to let your child know just how important they are to you. A little love can go a long way in their early childhood development.
2. Your Time– Kids need your time more than the newest toy. Better yet, they need you to play with them, if you buy that too. Be an active parent and don’t be afraid to get dirty and get on the floor with them. Kids will fall asleep feeling content if you spend that last 30 minutes on their bed, tucking them in, and reading them a bedtime story. Make your time with them valuable and make it a priority.
3. Encouragement– Kids need encouragement whether they win or lose. Don’t make the mistake thinking that your child is thriving, so he doesn’t need to hear those special words. Or, if your child is going through a difficult time, t’s even harder for him to reach out and ask for your support. Children aren’t yet aware of all their feelings and emotions, and they are still processing their own victories and failures. Show your encouragement for improvement, and show encouragement for continued success. Be your child’s biggest fan and you’ll see the difference it makes.
4. Patience– A raging mom is doing no favor for her kids. Life and stress and priorities can make high-stress times even more challenging. Practice the art of patience. Count to 10 during an inflammatory moment and think twice before you yell at your child or blame them for your upset.
5. Respect– Just because they’re little doesn’t’ mean your child doesn’t deserve to be treated with respect. Her opinions might be different than your own, you may struggle to see eye to eye. You may not understand why the fact that her teddy bear fell on the floor when it was sitting perfectly in the middle of the tea party, was such a big deal to her. But it is. It’s absolutely the most important thing going on in her little world now.
Remember, kids have very little control of their lives and the world around them. When they show their emotions and open up about their struggles through tantrums or tears, learn to respect what’s going on, and learn to listen to them. Children deserve the respect of being heard and validated. It’s your job to teach them they should respect themselves enough to expect that. This will be a valuable lesson throughout their lives.
Children are picky. They can be bratty. They just seem to think the whole world revolves around them. But, to their parents, it really does. Are you taking the time to give your child the 5 things
he REALLY needs? Put back the video game. Say no to the toy. And listen well when they complain. Explain to them that there are more valuable ways to spend both money and time.
Go on a picnic, encourage them to make the sandwiches, and be patient when they drop the bread on the floor, and make crumbs all over the counter. Tuck them in after a long day of playing, and read them their favorite bedtime story.
You might not be the perfect parent, but if you’re giving your kids the 5 things they really need, well then, you’re pretty darn close.
And that’s perfect enough.