It’s not a secret that the foundation of our behavior and habits are formed in childhood, which is why it’s crucial to acquire some basic skills for child development as soon as possible. I talk about simple but meaningful things that matter for socialization and normal life. Here’s a detailed guide that will help you and the little one overcome developmental milestones: these aspects turn out to be more important than they seem.
Practice Proper Hygiene
Teach your little one to care about hygiene: wash hands after walking on the street or going to restroom, brush teeth twice a day, cur fingernails and use personal hygiene products. It requires much time and patience: don’t hurry up, let your kid do everything on his or her own. Initially, all attempts to wash oneself can be rather awkward, and a child needs your assistance. With the time being, this skill would come as something natural, and the kid will get accustomed to keeping body, face and hands clean. In the future, this habit will serve the good turn – people would rather deal with a handsome and well-cared person.
Such words as “Thanks”, “Please” and “Good evenings” never do any harm. Good manners and friendly approach help to develop relationships with friends, start frank conversations with strangers and open the doors that seem to be closed at the first sight.
Children shouldn’t be ashamed of their mistakes: don’t make your kid feel shame for every little misstep. Instead, teach your child to say “Sorry” for accidentally pushing someone, stepping on feet, hurting one’s feelings, etc. Your kid should hear this word from you, too. Apologizing is a special ability. When you say “I’m sorry” to people you’ve offended you can not only make relationships up, but get off chest.
Instead of making your kid feel ashamed, teach to apologize and say “Sorry”.
Follow Safety Rules
It’s crucial to make your kid understand and stick to life-critical rules. They should be done automatically, and while your children are little, you should repeat them ten, hundred, or as many times as needed for them to be assimilated. There’s the whole gamut of important rules, such as:
- Not to pass the road at the red light.
- Not to play on traffic area and nearby.
- Use electric devices according to their instructions.
- Keep away from fire.
- Be careful with hot objects on the stove.
- Not to eat or gulp foreign objects.
- and so on.
This list can be endless. As a parent, you bear the whole responsibility for your kids’ actions. Of course, they explore this world through trial-and-error methods, but timely precautions and warnings can help them to avoid many dangerous (and sometimes even life-threatening) mistakes.
Learn to Say “No”
“No” to a stranger offering to have a walk in unknown direction. “No” to a classmate who keeps borrowing things and never returns them. “No” to people trying to make you do something you’re not up to. A kid should realize: although politeness is a great quality, in some cases it should be sacrificed for the sake of self-respect and your private time. The ability to refuse in appropriate moments is the golden middle between being a dough-face and an egoist. That’s what many adults lack, as well, so teach your kid to evaluate the situation and understand when it’s time to send people about their business.
Being polite is good, but it’s important to be able to say “No” to strangers and those who want to take advantage of you.
Learn to Listen
The ability to listen is crucial during all stages of child development and adult life, as well. We need to listen at school (to perceive information), at work (to go through job interviews, organize negotiations, etc.) and in relationships. Therefore, parents should listen to their children attentively and teach them to wait for the other people to express their thoughts. A kid should learn to listen to others carefully, without interrupting.
Maintain Order and Organize Stuff
Keeping order is one of the most challenging things for kids. Although your kid’s room is his or her private territory, you need to explain that maintaining cleanliness and organizing things is crucial. Teach your child to store all stuff for playing in the toy box and keep clothes in wardrobe after wearing it, and it will gradually turn into a useful habit in the future. It’s up to parents to decide when entrust cleaning to the kid, but before it becomes a habit, the little one should simply help you.
Keeping everything in its right place simplifies life.
Get Acquainted With People
You can start at early age when walking with your little one on a children playground. Approach other kids around and ask whether they can play together. In the beginning, a parent can play the leading role and ask other kids’ names: this way, the child will learn to become acquainted and make friends with peers.
Avoid Being Late
Unpunctuality is what annoys most people. It can cause problems in school, at work and other spheres of life, so sluggish children should be taught to leave home ten minutes earlier, prepare the clothes for the school in the evening to avoid morning razzle-dazzle, and so on. We have to deal with the fact that some kids and adults prefer snail-pace lifestyle, but it doesn’t mean that it should affect work and studying. With proper planning of daily schedule being in time is easy. Parents should serve as a positive example, too: always be in time for Birthday parties, meetings, or visits to a doctor.
Must read: How to Teach Kids to Read Time?
Don’t mix up multitasking and the inability to concentrate. I’ve noticed that both adults and kids lack diligence and the skill to get down to one task and finish it. However, we can teach our kids concentrate on the task without being distracted on other things and bring businesses to an end. The golden rule is not to let anything zap with the present actions: switch the phone off (or keep it in silent mode), organize working space, eliminate loud sounds and background noise.
A person who loves reading never gets bored: literature helps to develop grammatical and lexical correctness, broaden horizons and simply entertains. The earlier your child starts reading, the richer his or her life will be. It’s hard to imagine fully-fledged child development without books, isn’t it?
Healthy Eating =Healthy Living
Whether you like it or not, children tend to copy their parents’ nutritional habits, so if you want your baby to eat healthy, start from your own meals. Of course, most kids are persnickety about food and they will exclude some things (typically, unappetizing ones) from healthy diet. But if parents’ table is full of sweets and half-stock, children are unlikely to find vegetable salad and fish appealing.
Respect Others’ Private Space and Keep Distance
Some kids, especially the ones with preferably tactile perception, won’t mind getting acquainted with a person and sitting on his knees for five minutes. However, not many people are ready to accept such a friendly and trust-based approach right from the start. If your kid is open and prone to tactile interaction, you should explain what private space is and tell him when and how unknown people can be approached: who won’t mind touching and hugging, and who can be scared of that in the beginning of communication.
Whenever there’s some stressful situation, both parents and children should describe their feelings and thoughts. If quarrels happen, you can tell your kid what you feel and ask him or her to do the same. Let your child say “It hurts”, “I’m upset”, or “I’m scared”. The ability to say one’s say helps to relieve distress and avoid emotional breakdown from keeping everything inside. People with their mind and heart closed tend to suffer from depression more often, so encourage expression of affection and emotions in your kid.
Your little one has become a whyer? That’s great! At this age, kid’s questions should be encouraged, and, of course, you should be ready to give ample, satisfying answers (even if you actually don’t know them for sure). This way, children won’t be afraid of asking questions in their classroom, and would like to know thousands of different facts about this world.
Curiosity drives intellectual development – encourage it.
Kids who can prepare a sandwich and a simple salad won’t stay hungry, if parents are busy or feel unwell. They may also help you to cook and become independent easier. Cooking is an essential skill for both boys and girls, so don’t hesitate to involve your little one into this gripping process. Besides, kids who cook their meals by themselves are more likely to eat and enjoy them.
Do Physical Drill
It’s great when sport is a part of your kid’s life. But what if your child is more into reading and modeling rather than swimming and running? Such a simple thing as physical drill will help to wake up and energize. It doesn’t require much time: dedicate 10-15 minutes to physical exercises, and you will feel much better throughout the day (perform workouts together). A session can include the following:
- Tilt the head towards the left and the right shoulders. Turn your head.
- Rotate shoulders, arms and hands.
- Perform squatting.
- Jump with straight legs.
- Bend aside.
Don’t forget to breathe deeply while doing all these exercises.
Make Public Performances
Although some parents don’t really like these theatricals in school, this is the first experience of public performance that will come in handy when a child grows up. University, work, concerts and so on – a child will need to face with presentations and speeches, and that’s exactly the case when practice makes perfect. Encourage your child by praising little poems he or she recites, and help to make costumes and conception of performance. Set your little one for success, and there won’t be any fear of public speaking.
When it comes to overcoming the fear of public performances, this is exactly where practice makes perfect.
Understand The Real Value of Money
Kids get the idea of money when playing in shop, but they will realize its real value only when they start working. It doesn’t mean you can’t educate them the basics of financial awareness, though. Show them how to maintain the budget, pay for bills, save and make a purse or invest – this can be done in some kind of game problem. Monopoly is a great option for children starting from 8-10 years (you can also find simplified 5+ versions of Monopoly): at least it will teach them the skill of building financial strategies. Just make sure that when your child grows up and starts working he or she will understand how to use money wisely.
Must read: Teaching Money: 10 Lessons for Kids
Push the Matter Through
Determination and unwillingness to give up halfway through some task that seems to be impossible to do or just boring are rare qualities in kids. However, you should develop them, because in the future they’ll have to deal with things that cannot be put aside like unfinished Lego houses. If you want to teach your little one to pursue a goal, you should assign easy tasks and gradually increase their complexity. If a kid faces some obstacles and finds difficulties, just show how to ask for help, search solutions and get the things finally done. After that, let your kid feel satisfaction and pride from a well-done, completely finished job.
Help a homeless kitten. Buy foods for a lonely neighbor. Make a kind donation. All these things let your kid know he’s not alone. Make sincere conversations about real-life situations and others’ problems: it will teach your kid to put oneself in another person’s shoes and understand that circumstances can be different.
While the kid is learning to sympathize with the others, don’t forget to show your involvement and concern, too. Use phrases:
- “I understand how you feel.”
- “I know what it’s like…”
- “I think the same way.”
Being understood is crucial for children, as well.
Sharing is Caring
Recently, a lot of people started manifesting the idea that you shouldn’t make a kid share his things, if he doesn’t want to do that. Well, you cannot fail to agree with that, especially when imaging this situation on us, adult people: we hate borrowing things that we need, too. However, the ability to share something with the others is what makes us humane and generous, isn’t it?
Look After Near and Dear Ones
Teach your child to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it – your grandma, an ill aunt, or a friend who broke his arm. This ability is important for friendship, future family life and parenthood: when your offspring have their own kids they should be able to give their love, time and powers to babies without thinking what they’ll get instead.
Striving to make our toddlers little brainboxes we often forget about essential skills and personal qualities – it’s a big mistake. Remember that as a parent you have the duty of explaining basics of communication and self-help, and the above mentioned aspects will greatly simplify your kid’s future life helping to reach new child development milestones.