Last week, we spoke about the ways in which parents can create strong familial bonds with their children. Some important aspects in strengthening relationships were communication, active listening, and quality time. These traits can come through everyday interaction with children. By making sure to follow these principles, according to researchers, parents can encourage children to build healthy habits that will carry on for the rest of their lives.
So, what do communication, active listening, and quality time have in common? They all relate with giving attention. Though it may seem simple, making sure to talk and listen to your children can have large impacts on the way they grow up. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into ways caregivers can offer attention, as well as tips on how you can do it at home.
What does positive attention look like?
Attention is an encompassing word that has several meanings. Parents can give attention to their children through direct and indirect methods. Each way has its own benefits and impacts.
For example, some direct ways in which parents can display attention are through physical affection and verbal affirmations. Physical affection can come in the form of touch, such as hugging your children or kissing their forehead before they go to school. Verbal affirmations usually come through praises and encouragement. Telling your kids directly how much you care about them is one of the easiest ways of offering attention. Through these direct methods of giving attention, parents can tell their kids how much they are valued and loved at home.
On the other hand, parents can show attention in more indirect ways. A great example of this is through spending quality time with children. From reading them a book during bedtime or making sure to eat dinner with them, caregivers can give a warm environment where children feel safe and supported.
What are the benefits of attention?
According to this parenting website, making sure to give your children attention - even if it’s in small amounts every day - adds up over time. Through direct and indirect ways of support and encouragement, children will grow up in a household where they know they are valued and safe.
Several studies suggest that children with affectionate parents grow to be happier and more resilient, due to the fact that they know they have somebody to depend on. Support and attention from parents also led to children feeling less stressed and anxious when they grow, since they’re more likely to reach out if they need help. In other words, making sure to prioritize giving your children when they’re young will help them become independent later on in life.
Tips on Attention
So, how can you apply these principles? Let’s discuss some methods and examples in which caregivers can give children attention at home:
Stop and Listen - With everything going with school, work, and other family matters, life can get pretty busy. However, taking some time to stop and listen to your child when they talk has a big impact on their mental well-being and your overall relationship.
Noticing Behaviors - Each child is different. By noticing what makes them unique and what things they enjoy, parents can cater activities to their child’s preferences. This brings a stronger familiar bond as well as more contentment on both sides.
Positive Feedback - Childhood is an important part of an individual’s life, as that’s where they learn the most behaviors and habits. By reinforcing behaviors through smiling and hugging, parents can reward their children for positive habits.
Attention During Conflict
What happens when children throw tantrums or behave poorly? In that case, giving attention may not be the way to go. Based on the article by the Child Mind Institute, paying attention to your kids when they’re responding in a negative manner may lead them to do it again in the future. Instead, research has suggested that parents do the exact opposite.
“Active ignoring” is the act of purposefully turning away from your child when they are showing unwanted behaviors. This lets them know that they will not be rewarded for their negative actions. So, if your child acts unsafe or rude, try actively ignoring them. Then, once they stop performing that behavior, make sure to say something positive so that they’ll be more likely to not do it again in the future.
In conclusion, parents can influence a child’s behavior in several ways. In the past few weeks, we discussed ways in which you can help your children become healthier through diet and lifestyle choices. Make sure to cater each tip to individual children, as they all have their own strengths and weaknesses they might respond to. What are some habits that you find helpful? What are things you would like to try in the future? Comment them down below!