Any parent will likely tell you that raising a child is not an easy task but it is indeed a very rewarding and wonderful experience. Most would agree that the time and effort invested in raising a child the right way pays off in a young adult who is well adjusted, happy and motivated to succeed. This is not to assume that a child must strive to be a brain surgeon or astronaut to succeed, it simply means that the child will be content with whatever path in life they choose. The good news is that there are few simple guidelines that parents can follow to help steer their children into a healthy and happy adulthood. While there are no absolutes when it comes to raising children, following a few simple tips or pointers will certainly help to make the challenge a little bit easier.
Spending Quality Time With Your Children
Perhaps one of the most important elements of raising a healthy and happy child is spending quality time with them. There is nothing more valuable to a child then quality one-on-one time with their parents. Buying toys for a baby to replace one-on-one contact is a sure fire way to have problems later on down the road. In addition, using a television or computer screen as a babysitter can also have negative consequences. For example, studies have shown that children who stare at a computer screen or television screen for long hours during the day have a much shorter attention span and tend to be more hyperactive and more distracted. It is far more useful to have a child sit with a book than to have them stare at the television screen that may actually contain questionable content. Absolutely nothing can replace real and genuine one-on-one quality time with a parent.
Creativity is Truly the Engine That Drives a Child’s Being
Another important component of baby care is allowing them to play freely and openly and allowing their creativity to flow. Creativity is truly the engine that drives a child’s being. As they grow and develop they must express their creativity through arts, crafts, drawing, painting and a host of other activities. By allowing a child to express their creativity you allow them to blossom and grow in a free and natural way. Because children are unencumbered with the stresses of adult life they exhibit natural tendencies towards unbridled creativity. It is a wonderful thing to watch as a child explores their creativity in abundance. As a parent it is important to reinforce this behavior and to complement children when they create something beautiful. While there is plenty of time for structured learning when kids enter school, time at home should be time well spent creating and exploring all aspects of creativity.
An Abundance of Quality Sleep
In addition, another vital link in the key to truly happy kids is an abundance of quality sleep. While adults can easily get by on 6 or 8 hours of sleep each night, a baby is well-suited with 12 to sometimes even 14 hours of sleep. This critical component of a child’s health can cascade into all areas of their lives. For example, getting inadequate sleep can cause them to be despondent and perform poorly in all activities during their waking hours. Getting adequate sleep cannot be overstressed enough with regard to young children. While they will often resist bedtime and having to go to sleep, it is important to be rigid on this particular subject to ensure that a baby is getting a generous amount of sleep each night. Reading before bed or bedtime stories offer a great way to transition a child from an active day to a restful night’s sleep.
Constantly Providing Positive Feedback and Rewards for Good Behavior
Also important for raising a healthy and happy child is constantly providing positive feedback and rewards for good behavior. As most parents would agree raising a kid is a very challenging and sometimes very stressful process. Because of this it is easy to fall in the trap of constantly reprimanding and disciplining a child. However, in truth it is much easier to support good behavior with positive reinforcement and rewards. This approach to dealing with a young child allows them to explore the difference between right and wrong and gives them the opportunity to identify positive behaviors. It is also useful because it tends to keep children, in a more relaxed state and is far less stressful for their young minds. Much of this strategy requires that a parent change their way of thinking and adjust their own behavior. It is so easy to get caught up in disciplining and reprimanding children that we often forget to take the positive approach to correcting children. Yet, this is a far more effective and rewarding approach to teaching children the difference between right and wrong.
Listen to Your Children
Last but certainly in no way least, it is of vital importance that parents always listen to their children. Most parents would agree that it is easy to get distracted and to get caught up in the struggles of life that they sometimes do not hear what their kids are saying. Because it is easy to fall into this type of behavior as a parent it is important to constantly remind oneself to listen to your children. Communication is a critical element to the healthy development of any child. By listening to children we open the channels of communication and allow them to express themselves in a natural and stress-free way. When children know that a parent will listen to their concerns and needs it helps to foster a strong and more solid relationship between child and parent. There is absolutely no substitute for the ability of a parent to listen to a child. It helps to build a child’s self-esteem and develops healthy communication skills in that child. Raising healthy and happy children is easy if you follow a few simple tips.