So for today’s post, I wanted to discuss something essential when teaching young children. You must respect your child. Remember that just because your child is too young to fully process the meaning of everything going on around him, he is taking everything in and is learning how to behave from you.
In my house, we try not to forget that our children are part of the family and even if they can’t fully participate in a discussion or activity we still include them as much as we can. For example, when we’re cooking a meal together, my 3-year old may help by reading the recipe or washing vegetables while my 1-year old may just be sitting in his high chair while I explain to him what we are doing. By including them, we are showing them that we think they are important. It also teaches them about their environment and encourages them to actively participate in it.
Here are 5 ways to show your child that you respect him:
- Set a good example at home. This is really the most important thing. Children imitate behavior. If you are loving and talk with respect to each other at home, your child will learn to do the same.
- Make eye contact and talk to your child at eye level. Learn to look your child in his eye when you are speaking to him. This shows him that you view him as important. It’s amazing how much more receptive a child is when you are talking to him at his eve level. This also teaches your child to express himself through nonverbal ques, and gives him a sense of security and comfort.
- Only teach a happy child. When you are teaching your young child, understand that she is a person with emotions too. There will be days when she is not happy and she may not be able to tell you why using words but she will be able to tell you in other ways. She might have tummy ache or be teething or dealing with something else she can’t communicate to you. On these days, if your child is not happy or interested in what you are teaching them, just stop what you’re doing and do something else.
- Include your child in family conversations. When you are having a discussion with your spouse or other family members about a family friendly topic, be sure to include your young child in the discussion. A baby may only be able to babble or point, but he’ll learn that you view his opinion as important. We often ask our 3-year old for his opinion on a topic, which can often spark some very creative dialogue.
- Talk often to your child. Even if it’s just you and the baby, you should tell your baby what you are doing as you are doing it. Talking often to your young child is very important in her early development. There is a lot of recent research to support this proposition. Even though you might feel silly having these one-way discussions, you are not only teaching her about the world, but also showing her that you love and respect her as an individual.