Assets: The Building Blocks of Life (page 3)
In our ever changing and growing world, adults need to be strong and understand our role in supporting the development of children.
It’s often said, "In giving, we receive." Taking the time and patience to help children develop the fundamental building blocks of life not only will bring joy and happiness to a child’s life, but also to yours. Help a child to succeed by learning about assets, 40 developmental factors that provide positive growth and development in a child’s life.
The Search Institute of Minneapolis, MN developed the assets framework. Assets are divided up into eight categories:
- Boundaries and expectations;
- Constructive use of time;
- Commitment to learning;
- Positive values;
- Social competencies; and
- Positive identity.
Adults are encouraged to provide children with opportunities to develop the 40 assets. The Search Institute’s researchers have found that the more assets a child has in their life, the more likely they will be to succeed in life and engage in positive behaviors.
You may ask yourself, "How do I know if I am an asset builder?" One of the key elements of asset building is "relationships." Research shows that it is important for children of all ages to have at least three adults, other than their parents or family members, who are positive and supportive role models within their lives. You may already be an asset builder, but not realize it!
as· set (| s' et' ) n. 1. A useful or valuable quality, person, or thing; an advantage or a resource.
The American Heritage Dictionary
of English Language
Here are ideas of assets and activities you can share with your children that will assist you in building assets within the lives of your kids.INFANTS:
- Your family can show love and support for infants by holding them and interacting with them during feedings.
- Unconditionally love, respect, and accept infants for who they are! Try to remember that when they squeal, squish their food between their fingers, and tug on your glasses, that they are new to this world and curious about it. They also are just beginning to learn the concept of control. Be patient and enjoy their curiosity!
Children are Given Useful Roles — The family involves infants in family life.
- Let the family enjoy singing and reading to the baby together or on an individual basis.
- Prop infants up so that they can see what the family members are doing as they get ready for their day or cook dinner together. Take turns reading a book to each other and acting out the characters in the story. This is a great way to involve all family members, including infants, in sharing time together enjoying each other’s company.
Creative Activities — Parents expose toddlers to music, art, or other creative aspects of the environment each day.
- Enroll your child in a music class, listen to music with them at home and in the car, encourage them to sing along if they know the song or just like to sing.
- Take your toddler to a children’s concert. Many areas have concerts, which aim to provide entertainment for younger audiences, such as concerts with a light show or waterworks show set to the music. You also can call your local theatre and ask if you could set up a time to come and take a tour of the theater.
- Provide opportunities for your children to try finger painting or sculpting with clay.
Community Values Children — The family places toddlers at the center of family life and recognizes the need to set limits for toddlers. Other adults in the community value and appreciate toddlers.
- Assist your toddler in finding simple ways to show others that he cares. Encourage him to wave "Hi!" and smile at your neighbors.
- Set an example of how your child can play gently and respectfully with other toddlers. If your child is not used to interacting with other toddlers, she may be unsure of how to act around them. Assist her in learning how to have fun playing with her friends.
Interpersonal Skills — Children interact with adults and children and can make friends. Children express and articulate feelings in appropriate ways and empathize with others.
- Many local libraries offer a weekly story hour. Take your child to story hour and encourage her to look at books with the other children and adults. Visit with her about the story she heard that day. How did it make her feel? What was the moral of the story? Did it make her happy or sad?
- Provide your children with structured opportunities to interact with other adults and children. Enroll your child in preschool. This is a great opportunity for him to learn to interact with other children and adults in a structured environment. He will learn how to speak to and with others about what he is learning, and he will learn how to ask questions if he does not understand something.
Self-Esteem — Children report having high self-esteem.
- Encourage your child to participate in activities they enjoy or are good at, such as telling stories, coloring pictures, or singing along to a their favorite song. Have a family talent show where family members encourage each other to share their gifts. Encourage preschoolers to tell a story to the family or have a dedication ceremony and hang their new picture on the refrigerator where all can see.
- Participate in simple acts of community service with your child. Sign up to collect food for a food bank, go through your closets and pick out toys and clothes to donate to a local charity.
The sooner you start building assets for your children, the sooner you’ll realize you are not only building assets for them, but also for yourself and those around you. It’s catchy — don’t hesitate to become an asset builder!
The information provided in this article is based on research and information provided by The Search Institute of Minneapolis, MN. To find-out more about the Search Institute at http://www.search-institute.org/. If you would like more information about the assets philosophy and how you can make a difference in your community, call Angela Terhaar at 208-433-5612 or Angie Newell at 208-384-3829. Written by: Angela Terhaar, Healthy Community*Healthy Youth Communications Director.
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Balancing Work and Family — Child Care: Linger and Learn — Suggestions for parents on how to learn about their child through observing them in their child care setting, plus links to additional resources relating to balancing work and family issues.
Grandparents Supporting Parents — Resources and links especially for grandparents or grandparents raising their grandchild.
Importance of Setting Limits — Children need and want guidance and limits until they can depend on themselves to make appropriate choices. This article offers support and tips on how to teach children what is expected, to set rules and standards for approved conduct, and to define and enforce consequences for behavior.
You and Your Child — Tips on how to help children do well and form secure attachments.
Copyright 2007 by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
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