Love your children unconditionally, for just being your children. Not for being obedient, not for being clever or good looking. Just for being your children.
I love all the children I look after as if they were my own. In return they give me their love back as if I’m their real parent. This forms a strong bond and relationship through which I teach them and when needed, tell them off.
Tip 2 – Show your love through actions, not just words
Hug and cuddle your children frequently, especially when they are young. Be there when they need you. Attend their fiends parties or nursery school events (if you do this on a childminded day, we won’t even charge you for missing a day). Give them attention and look at them while they speak. Appreciate their little and big achievements. Take them to picnic, museums, or other interesting places whenever possible.
Do things together. For example, make crafts or do housework like cleaning, tidying, gardening, etc. Encourage them to make or build some models or toys or crafts, and display them in your home. Show it off proudly to other people (especially when your children are around).
You will have seen that I do all of the above from the photos you receive every month and the monthly newsletter. If you need advice on this or want more details of what I do, please let me know.
Tip 3 – Praise their work and achievements
As adults, we have a very big appetite for praise. We just can’t get enough of it.
Our children are the same. Notice their every small or big piece of work they do and praise them for their efforts, even if there is no result. So when they draw, praise. When they answer your question, praise. When they finish their breakfast, praise. This is called ‘positive programming’.
Your encouraging words program your children to do more and more good things, without shouting. And automatically!
However, there is one thing that you should remember. When you are praising your children, make sure that you do it at the right time. And the right time to praise is immediately after your children have done some good work or have behaved properly.
Another very powerful way to praise your children, without words, is to look into their eyes and smile happily. This will convey your praise and show them that you really love them.
But remember, don’t praise without reason. Don’t exaggerate too much. Otherwise your children will grow up expecting praises for things which they haven’t done. What if the good things are rare? Create situations. For example, ask them to help you set-up the breakfast table (I do this here everyday).
Need some words of praise to use? Here are some that I use:
Thanks for your help
Thank you for listening
That is so beautiful
Great use of colours
You are so good
Tip 4 – Make them responsible
In my setting, children help tidy up after an activity. They put their toys back or pick up the scraps of paper. Doing this gives the children a sense of responsibility, teaches the habit of finishing the work they start, and helps them to develop self-esteem.
At home, encourage your children to do help you with your household work. This can be (depending on their age), cleaning their room, hanging their clothes neatly, setting tables, watering plants, making their own beds, etc. If your children are older, you can ask them to help in cooking and washing dishes. Praise their effort and ignore their faults!
You will be pleasantly surprised what your children can do and how they love being responsible.
Tip 5 – Teach your children to be kind and helpful
I have some golden rules in my setting. One of them is to be kind and helpful.
I teach your children to be kind and helpful and in return I’m kind to them! Encourage your children to help others whenever possible. Ask them to share things with their siblings. Helping others instills good human values and increases the feeling of self-worth in children. The fastest way to teach your children these qualities is to practice them yourself with other people, especially in front of your children, and also with your children.
As an example, when reading a story or watching TV with them, if a character is helping others, immediately comment positively on that action, so that the incident gets registered strongly in your children’s brain. Another example I always use is when your children sees a spider in my home, I carefully capture it and release it in the garden. Be kind to even spiders!
As the author Bradley Miller once quoted: "Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar."
Tip 6 – Turn mistakes into opportunities
When your children make mistakes, focus on improvement. Not on their mistakes or faults.
For example, when we have drawing activities, if a child uses a wrong colour, we use this as an opportunity to learn about colours.
Similarly if they don’t recognise letters correctly, I focus on teaching them the correct letters and phonetics, instead of berating how stupid they are.
Tip 7 – Don’t complain about your children on Facebook or Twitter
Before social media, parents use to complain about their children to the neighbours or family. As we don’t talk to our neighbours anymore (?), it’s social media!
Can you imagine how children feel when their parents do this? It’s plainly embarrassing, even humiliating. Frankly it does nothing to improve children’s behavior or performance. It only lowers their confidence, apart from making them angry at you.
If you really want to talk about your children to other people, then talk about their good qualities. Discuss their good performance, especially when your children are present. Your positive remark, especially in front of other people, will not only increase your children’s confidence, but will also satisfy their need for approval. Bringing a happy smile on their faces.
Happy children are more inclined to listen to your instructions. And are more willing to improve on their weaknesses and behaviour.
On a more serious note, do tell me about your complain (privately). I can then use this knowledge to plan activities that will improve your child’s behavior or skill.
Tip 8 – Support their interest
Encourage and support your children’s good hobbies and dreams. For example, if your child loves to paint, encourage him/her to paint.
I have an excellent example where one of my child loves pirates. As you know, I have a pirate ship playhouse in the garden. This child (with the other children) often play on this and pretend to be pirates. Just recently, he used his imagination to draw a pirate treasure map at his nursery. It was so good that the school put this on their notice board for all the other children and parents to see!
This type of support not only helps to build your children’s self-confidence but will also increase their creativity. And who knows, your children might carve a successful career for themselves out of their hobbies and interest. After all, many people have done this!
Tip 9 – Avoid pampering
Avoid pampering and spoiling your children with too much love. Try not to overprotect them. Otherwise children may become emotionally weak and dependent on you. Aim to strengthen your children’s self-confidence without overdoing it.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.