From the day we are born, human beings need encouragement to make us feel wanted and valued as well as helping to develop our self-esteem. Positive interactions will help a child to become a capable and independent person, qualities that they will need throughout their life. For a child, it is vital that they receive encouragement from their parents and those closest to them. It will make them appreciate that they are valued and make them feel more secure.
All children need to develop a positive self-image as it will help them to build self-confidence and adapt and learn about the world around them. Confidence is essential when it comes to forming relationships with others and your child’s development. Children with lower self-confidence tend to be less independent and rely heavily on others. It is something that can hamper their development and restrict opportunities in later life.
Security and safety
All children need to feel safe and secure, and a lot this comes from the primary caregiver, usually their mother. It involves reassuring a child when they are scared or anxious, and it is an action that is often required in new or unfamiliar situations. If a child knows that they can turn to you when they need emotional or physical support, it will inevitably give them a sense of security. Security and the feeling of being support and encouragement will create a happy environment for them to grow up. Children will always respond to positive interactions, especially if they are repeated.
Ways of offering encouragement
There are many ways that a parent can provide support to their child. There is the obvious verbal encouragement when you praise a child when they have done something well, but it can also be something as simple as sharing a smile. Making eye contact or hugging a child is also a sign of encouragement and with older children; you can show an interest in their hobbies, activities they take part in and most importantly, celebrating their achievements.
Ways to encourage babies
As we have touched upon, children of different ages require different forms of encouragement. Although babies won’t understand words, they will quickly learn to understand actions and body language. They will recognise the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, as well as your overall demeanour. Specifically, you should:
- When your baby smiles, immediately smile back
- Hold your baby when they cry
- Respond appropriately to noises and sounds that they make
- Talk to them about what is happening around them and tell them what you are doing
- Take note of what interests your baby, for instance, dogs or a particular toy
As your child becomes a toddler, verbal encouragement will become more important. Offering positive attention will also help a child understand right from wrong without needing to put too much emphasis on the negatives. For example, you could:
- Thank your child when they help you. It will be even more effective if you use a positive tone of voice at the same time
- When your child wants to show you something, bend down to their level to show that you are interested
- Give your child time to reply and ask questions after you have said something to them
Encouraging preschool children
Preschool children will be starting to become more independent and doing things from their own initiative. While sometimes this may be testing the boundaries, you must encourage them when they do something right. Examples could include:
- Joining in with their favourite activities such as painting or playing football
- Promoting the things that you want them to do such a putting their toys away and offering lots of praise when they complete what you have asked
- When your child is talking to you, give them eye contact and make an effort to always greet them, perhaps even offer a hug
Encouraging children of school age
Naturally, as children go to school, they will start making their own friends. Other people, such as teachers will begin to have more of an influence on their development. However, the encouragement that they receive from parents is just as important. You can offer support by:
- Taking the time to ask and listen about their day. They might be tired as soon as they get home, so you could wait until they have settled down before asking any questions. Make sure you respond positively as this will encourage them to tell you more in future
- Ask questions or make comments about what your child says. It shows that you are interested and encourages greater interaction
- If your child tells you about something that they enjoyed or a positive interaction with another pupil or teacher, this should be met by positivity from you. Show enthusiasm and offer praise where relevant
- If your child tells you something incorrect about their day, it may be best just to leave it. Correcting them may be seen as being negative and might dissuade them from talking openly with you in future
When you feel down
Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that even as adults, we don’t always offer the encouragement to others when we should. However, it is important not to dwell on the momentary lapse and to look more at the overall picture. So long as you are generally positive and offer encouragement, sometimes it doesn’t hurt for older children, especially to learn to cope with occasional cases of parents being unavailable or a little insensitive.
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We hope that this article illustrated the importance of encouraging our children. Here at Kidz Village, we believe in teaching students to be independent and disciplined while building their self-esteem and confidence. Our acclaimed International School in Bangkok strives to provide the ideal environment to promote learning. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.