child development, Child's Education, family time, momblog, Relationships

Get Involved in your Child’s Activities, Hobbies and School

It’s probably no secret that children who have involved parents are more happy, healthy, and well-adjusted and excel at their educational and extracurricular pursuits.  It can increase their cognitive development, keeps them motivated, strengthens the parent-child relationship, and has a direct positive influence on their overall academic achievement.  In turn, it can also help parents achieve a positive outlook on their parenting, increase their own self confidence and self esteem, and will most likely feel more satisfied with their child’s educational experience at school.

But where do you get involved?  

With today’s busy schedules between home, work, and school, it may feel that the average family has very little quality time to offer.  However, different options and levels of commitment are available to fit every parent’s availability, and with some careful planning and dedication, you can make it a positive experience for both yourself and your child.

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First of all, discover what your child is most passionate about.  Maybe you’ve thought about volunteering for the school bake sale to raise money, but your child is actually more actively involved in her local Girl Scouts troop.   If that’s the case, then get together with the other Girl Scout parents and see what you can contribute to help the troop.  Maybe you could organize a bake sale to benefit their next summer outing.

It’s also important to consider what skills, talents and abilities you can bring to the table.  Maybe your child’s school is in desperate need of your help organizing a fundraiser, but your skills in sewing and designing might better serve the school if you were to help in making the costumes for the school play.  Remember, you want this to be a positive experience for both of you, and if your child senses that you’re not happy with what you’ve chosen to become involved in, then they likely will not be happy as well.

But the bottom line is get involved and stay involved.  Children of involved parents are less likely to get into mischief, have emotional problems, or have problems in school. 

You benefit by connecting with and staying connected to your child.  It’s a win-win situation for you both.

child development, Relationships

Protect your Child’s Emotional Well-Being

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In our effort to balance very full and hectic lives with our families and our jobs, we may have been neglecting an all-important facet of our child’s life:  their emotional well-being.  The first three years of a child’s life is a critical time for a child, and the trauma of changing child care providers or having a ‘part-time’ parent float in and out of their life can be very traumatic and destabilizing for them.  It’s imperative that parents, educators, involved adults and care providers make a concerted joint effort to ensure that a child’s emotional needs are met on a daily basis, just as their physical needs are.  The effects of not meeting a child’s emotional needs, especially during the first three years of life, can have devastating consequences. Violent, disruptive or defiant behaviors can result.

The first three years of life are critical in a number of ways. This is when bonding and emotional separation takes place.  If there are interruptions in either of these processes, misbehaviors from the child can result. This can later have an affect on their relationships later in life and hinder them in developing their own healthy relationships as adolescents or adults.

During the first three years of life, the brain goes through its most rapid development ever, the likes of which will never been experienced again. By the time they are three years old, a child’s brain is already ‘hardwired’ from the experiences they’ve had to that point.

It’s imperative that these be loving, supportive, safe, positive experiences so the brain will be conditioned to expect positive things.  If they’ve been frightening, hurtful, abusive, or dangerous, then the brain is conditioned to expect negative occurrences.

Therefore it’s critical that parents, caregivers and other involved adults make a concerted effort to make sure the child’s emotional needs are met in a positive, constructive and healthy manner.  Parents should ensure that the child’s care providers are stable and consistent, and don’t move them around to different childcare providers during this important phase. Ensure a child feels safe and secure with structured and consistent schedules and routines.  Be sure to spend as much quality time with your child at this time as possible, regardless of your otherwise busy and hectic lifestyle.  A child can sense that such a schedule is stressful to you and it can become a frightening or confusing element for them.  Therefore it’s important to take time out to reassure them that you’re never too busy for them.

Remember that your child’s emotional well-being is just as important as their physical, so do your part to ensure your child knows he’s growing up safe, secure, treasured and loved.