The start of a new year marks a time of change, resolution, and celebration. As you look to the New Year, you may be thinking about what you can do to see your children grow to their fullest potential. Children grow to become caring and productive adults through their day-to-day experience in nurturing environments. Outlined in The Nurture Effect are the top 10 ways for parents to nurture their children:
- Be generous with praise and reward your children by listening to them and spending time with them.
- Minimize your use of punishment. When you have to give a negative consequence make it brief and not harsh. For example, a five-minute time out, the loss of a privilege for a short time, or ten-minute chore.
- Monitor your children’s activities by talking to them about what they are doing in school and with friends.
- Teach your kids safe, productive, or enjoyable activities.
- Establish a routine in which your children use after school time to do their homework, household task, or recreational activities.
- Be sure to show great interest and approval for the positive things they do after school.
- Limit your children’s exposure to advertising for tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthful foods. For example, record your child’s TV shows and fast-forward through the ads.
- Advocate for your child at school by asking about academic progress monitoring and remediation practices when children aren’t at grade-level.
- Play with your children and let them take the lead. You may be surprised at how it makes them more likely to follow yours.
- Give your children choices so you build their skills at managing their own behavior. For example, ask your children if they’d like to walk to bed or have you carry them to bed instead of hearing you say, “Get in bed.”
You can join other parents in building nurturing environments for children by embarking on the #nurtureeffect100. There you can post something nurturing each day to share the good, celebrate your family, and help other parents.