Ten Steps to Create a Vision for Building Your Child's Future
In her book, Purposeful Parenting: Strategies for Raising Children Who Achieve, Dr. Rose T. Watson, or “Dr. Mom” provides her perspective and tips to help parents help their children reach their potential from a physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and spiritual perspective. One of the first steps in working towards a child’s potential is to create a vision for their future. What does it involve? Education, sports, the arts, humanitarian work? If you know your parenting vision – you will more easily be able to guide your children. Here is an excerpt from her book.
Early on, children need an environment that encourages exploration. This is important for the physical development of all ages. Children need a safe, clean environment and plenty of space for rolling, scooting and crawling. Play allows children to try out and practice new skills. Children need opportunities to develop both large and fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. Good nutritious food is a must for healthy living.
It is also important to learn good habits that promote health. Fresh air and sunshine also enhance physical development. A high level of safety should be maintained in the home, on the playground and in general. Playgrounds should have soft surfaces (sand or rubber) to buffer falls. In terms of illnesses and infections, it is necessary that all immunizations are up to date. Children with a contagious illness should be kept at home. Children and adults should get into the habit of hand washing as the single most effective way to avoid spreading disease. Hands-on activities allow children to develop all their senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste.
Social and emotional skills deal with the child’s ability to interact with others, including helping themselves and self-control. Socio-emotional development requires a nurturing environment where the child has a sense of security and trust. Important also is that the child have appropriate guidance and discipline, an understanding of the feelings of self and others. Other milestones include:
• The ability to communicate emotions appropriately
• Social skills (initiating and maintaining relationships)
• Self-confidence and motivation
• Good social behavior
• Working/sharing together with others
• Handling anger, fear and insecurities
• Good sportsmanship
• Learning how to lose gracefully
• Becoming aware of aptitudes and interests
• Healthy family interaction.
Research shows that developing children’s social and emotional skills improves academic performance and prevents problem behaviors. Developing the above skills helps kids to communicate better, to become effective team members and to manage emotions such as anger and discouragement. They learn how to motivate themselves and cope with everyday difficulties. Kids with good social and emotional skills feel a strong attachment to school. They demonstrate a sense of belonging, perceive teachers as supportive, make good friends and feel engaged in their academic progress.
Author Dorothy Rich in her book, MegaSkills, summarizes social-emotional skills needed very well:
1. Confidence: feeling able to do it,
2. Motivation: wanting to do it,
3. Effort: being willing to work hard,
4. Responsibility: doing what’s right,
5. Initiative: moving into action,
6. Perseverance: completing what you start,
7. Caring: showing concern for others,
8. Teamwork: working with others,
9. Common Sense: using good judgment,
10. Problem Solving: putting what you know and what you can do into action.
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