Children need cheer leaders! And who better to serve that purpose than a parent? Our children need to be told that they are special to us.
As a parent I want to affirm and encourage my children. What are some practical ways I can do this on a daily basis?
- “Catch” them doing something good and applaud that moment. Develop eyes that look for the positive.
- Promote public acclaim: without boasting, tell others, within earshot of your child, about his strengths and success.
- Never scold or shout at them in the presence of strangers.
- Encourage by writing. Use cards and letters to congratulate, exhort, challenge, and assure. Let your child know that you are tuned in to her struggles and stresses.
- Give them hugs! Physical touch is a key to building healthy relationships. An affectionate, appropriate embrace is an act of encouragement.
- Give them proof. Find tangible, visible ways to express love and appreciation. Be alert to inexpensive, yet personalized gifts that say to each child, “I know who you are,” “I know your talents and interests,” and “I applaud your uniqueness.”
- Tasty treats: Favourite foods can be used to delight. Occasionally surprise them with their favourite meal or a special dessert.
- Treasure of time. Nothing speaks love louder than time and focused attention. Occasional one-to-one outings, and family holidays are a way to assure your children that they are VIPs in your life. Your presence at their special events is another way to offer encouragement.
Cheering your children will require making a conscious effort to find ways to build them up. But when we consider the dividends of confidence, security, love and trust being developed, it’s worth the time and effort.