Every child is an individual, with special social, emotional, intellectual, and physical qualities.
Children are unique. They are individuals and no two children are alike: physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually, each child is a unique individual. Because children are unique, even if there are common needs and characteristics that children of a particular age or stage of development share, they must be understood by their parents and teachers in their uniqueness, and their individuality must be respected.
For example, even in a single-grade classroom composed of 45 to 50 seven-year-olds, not all of the seven-year-olds will be reading at precisely the same ability level. They will also differ in the ways they are able to understand and solve word problems in mathematics. They will have different personalities—some will be shy, some will be confident, some outgoing, some quiet but competent. They will each have their own life experiences and feelings about themselves. They will have different likes and dislikes, interests and needs.
Here are some recommendations for how parents can continue to get to know their children, and how to celebrate their lives and provide encouragement to enable them to grow and develop into happy, successful adults.
Take time each day to observe your child up close and from afar. Look for changes. Look for new skills. Experience your child as a person by interacting with them.
2) LISTEN AND ASK QUESTIONS
Discovery includes truly listening to your child. It means inquiring about how they think and feel about events in their life. The more you can listen with openness and acceptance, the more you will discover and at the same time affirm your child as an unique individual. Questions should be asked for the purpose of learning more. Find out what lead them to those feelings and thoughts, and how long they’ve held those thoughts or feelings. This is the time to show interest and understanding, provide support, and volunteer guidance but only if requested or when it raises serious concerns.
3) OBSERVE AND COMMENT
This is the fun part of parenting – watching your child be a kid. Where they’re playing a game, drawing, playing music, performing, learning a new skill, showing off a physical feat or attempting comedy, all you have to do is watch, enjoy, and celebrate with a smile, applause, and a pat on the back. Provide praise and encouragement. Avoid being a critic – that’s the job of teachers and coaches, and your children will surely get criticism from peers as well.
4) ENGAGE IN CHILD DIRECTED PLAY
Playing is good for people of all ages. It reduces stress, promotes health, and is just plain fun. When playing with younger kids as well as older children and teens, let them direct the play. Join in and have fun. Let toddlers and preschoolers make up the rules for games if they want. Get in touch with your inner child and enjoy along with them.
5) EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES
Children should be exposed to all types of opportunities to try new things such as sports, music, art, drama, science, reading, visiting parks, the forest, the beach, museums, hobbies, and anything else you can think of. Encourage them to give it a try. Praise them for trying new things. If they become interested, encourage them and support them in their pursuit. If they feel like giving up after a while, find out why and encourage them to keep going when things get harder or they become bored or lose interest. At some point we as parents may have to let them quit even when we think they could be successful at the endeavor. Letting them quit without a huge struggle and letting them know the door is always open is the best way to go.
6) SHOW PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
No matter the situation, patience and understanding are always good to maintain. While dealing with children can be frustrating, being patient and showing that you understand how they are feeling helps a lot. Try to model and coach patience along with encouragement in the affirming of their abilities. Talk them through the process step by step and cheer them along the way.
Words of encouragement can be as simple as saying “I love you” and providing a smile or a pat on the back.