Wednesday, October 10, 2012

20 Ways You Can Bring Out the Best in Your Child

{1} This one should go without saying but love them unconditionally. Your children will make mistakes. They may not clean their rooms or do their school work to your standards however you must love them despite these things. They will feel it.

{2} How often do you tell your children you love them? If you say "I love you" daily they will know they are loved beyond just showing them. If saying this to your child is difficult for you it is even more important for you to say it. I grew up with a mother that had a hard time telling her children she loved us and I can count on one hand the number of times I remember hearing it from her. I love her very much despite this but I knew I wasn't going to make that mistake with my kids. I wanted them not only to feel it but to hear the words. Those words do matter!

{3} We all want our children to have a positive self-image. My experience is if I act and speak in the way I'd like my children to behave they mimicked my behavior - lead by example. Tell them you believe in them and their abilities. Simply say the words, "I believe in you." Our children look up to us and hearing those words will mean a lot to them. Even if they don't believe in themselves at first for whatever reason, in time, they will.

{4} As I mentioned above, lead by example. A good friend of mine told me as a young mother, "Don't expect your children to do as you say but expect them to do as you do." I really took that advice seriously and realized I needed to step up and be a great example to my kids.

{5} Give positive feedback when your child does something you want them develop in themselves.  You may want to make a list of some of the things you want your child to develop over time.

{6} Remember that each child is unique and different. I have 6 kids and each has different personalities, talents and interests. While making that list I mentioned above remember that. My list was more generic like I wanted them to have a testimony and relationship with their Savior, develop a love of service, compliment others, be kind, and so forth. But remember they are individuals and need to be treated as such.

{7} As you see your children develop their talents, remind them how it will not only effect them but others around them. Word it in a way that will be positive and give them a desire to continue to develop their talents and share it with others. I know our talents can effect others in a positive way and we need to remind our kids that when they are sharing their talents they are serving others.

{8} All of my kids are either teens or beyond the teen years. I've said lots of not so nice things when they messed up. I've seen the side effect of this and it's not good. My best advice is to choose your words carefully before you speak after your children have made a mistake. I've learned that I need a few minutes to myself to pray and ponder how I will handle a situation. This took some time for me to figure out but it does help. My kids respect that I'll take time to consider what is the best way to handle the situation.

{9} Spend time with great books. We are Christians and read from the scriptures daily but there are lots of books that have great messages.

{10} While reading all these great stories find ways to relate them to real life. We have a night each week that we invite new members of our church or people learning about our faith to come over to our home. This gives us all a chance to share stories with one another and more often than not our children get the opportunity to share experiences that have been life lessons for them. This may not be for everyone but it has been a way for our kids to strengthen their beliefs and help others learn from their lives.

{11} I used to kind of freak out when my kids made mistakes. After lots of conversations with God I knew what I needed to do. I needed to create a home where my kids could feel safe and protected from the outside influences of the world. I wanted a space that when they came home they felt calm and peace. Create a home where love and peace abound. Turn the TV off and allow time for quiet and family time.

{12} Be patient. If you're a homeschooling parent I know you've been asked many times, "You must be so patient in order of teach your kids at home." My response is always, "I wasn't at first but I'm  more patient now because I chose to homeschool." My kids have taught me patience. And in return, I believe I've taught them patience.

{13} It's okay to apologize to your children when you make a mistake - in fact we really need to do this. We all do make mistakes and I know my kids respect me more when I apologize to them. It also teaches them that we're not all perfect and it's important to acknowledge when we mess up. Kids are very forgiving and it teaches them to forgive.

{14} Watch how other parents interact with their kids and take those great things you see and apply them to your family.

{15} I've also seen things while watching others interact with their children that I don't want to apply to my family. You can learn a lot from watching how others interact that are both positive and negative. Run with the positive and stay far away from the negative!

{16} I love getting to know others. Ask other parents what works in their homes. Ask them what their parents did that they feel worked well while they were growing up. You can try their ideas and if they work, great, if not, don't use them anymore.

{17} Point out things you are grateful for and in time your kids will do the same. We pray everyday as a family and we always express things we are grateful for. It's beautiful to me to hear the things my kids are grateful for. Other things we've done over the years are keeping a gratitude journal as a family. We'd write in it once a week. We also had a gratitude jar. How that worked was if my kids were arguing when they were younger I'd have them tell one thing they were grateful for about the child they were fighting with. It worked well for us. We'd share what was added to the jar at dinner on Sunday and usually it would make the kids realize that the fight didn't mean anything but they were glad to see the good in their sibling.

{18} Like all families we've experienced trials that have impacted one or all members of our family. These are great opportunities for you to point out lessons learned through these trials. There are lots of great and important life lessons to be learned through our trials. Our children should be able to see the blessings that come through adversity. Ask your children, "How can we grow from this experience?" or "What is a positive way of looking at what you or we are going through?"

{19} Help your children learn from their mistakes. They will make plenty of them but it's important that they understand we all do! I teach my kids that we are here on Earth to make mistakes and learn from them. We're basically 'at school' away from our Heavenly Father and He's up there grading us. We want to please Him. One way to do that is to learn from our mistakes and not to repeat them.

{20} Ask yourself each day what you can do to be a better parent. We all have room for improvement. None of us has reached our potential. As we ponder this, remember our children need us to be our best in order to become their best.


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Savannah McQueen said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this...please consider linking it up to my end of the week feature - Its a Wrap. -Savannah

Savannah McQueen said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for linking up with Its a Wrap last week, Betsy. I featured you this week.

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