Encouraging your children is one of the best ways to make them feel valued. While you may love your children more than you can put into words, they may not realize your affection unless you exhibit it. If you are not the typically tender type, you can still show your child love through simple words and actions. Below, we outlined ten ways for you to encourage your child.
1. Leave unexpected notes
Sometimes saying how you feel about someone to their face is difficult. Write a note! Notes can be even more meaningful than words at times as they require time and effort. They reflect genuine feeling rather than temporary emotion. Your child can treasure such notes and refer to them when they are going through difficult times. While birthday or holiday cards are nice, even more thoughtful are random, unexpected cards. Surprise your child with a note in their lunch box, on their desk, or in their car.
2. Have meaningful conversation
Notes have their benefits, but face-to-face conversation is also necessary in order to develop your relationship with your child. Light-hearted conversation and joking around ensures that your child sees you as not only an authority figure but also a friend. But meaningful conversation is a good way to determine where your child is mentally and emotionally and to teach them about the important things in life.
3. Respect and value their voice
Whether during these meaningful conversations or simply in general dialogue, be sure to listen as much or more than you speak. If your child is willing to offer their opinions or talk about their life, value their voice. There may come a time when you wish for nothing more than your child to talk to you, so cherish the time when they actually want to chat. Encouraging such conversation from a young age increases the likelihood that you will maintain open communication.
4. Recognize their strengths
Each of your children will wield unique strengths, different than those of their siblings and different than those of their peers. Cultivate these areas to further develop their areas of natural ability. Verbally recognize these strengths and give your child opportunities to shine.
5. Embrace their weaknesses
Every child, every human, has imperfections. While you may dream that your children will grow up to be star athletes, musicians, and people, it is inevitable that they will fail to meet your expectations in some way. Avoid comparing your child to others. Recognize their weaknesses but don’t dwell on them. If the area of weakness is unpreventable and normal, let it go. If the area of weakness is one which your child should work on, encourage them to grow in that area.
6. Challenge them
One way to stimulate growth and maturity in your children is to challenge them. Place them in situations which are healthily difficult. Whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally, cater exercises to each child. Be aware of their limitations as to not overwhelm them but don’t be afraid to stretch them out of their comfort zone.
7. Give them space to exercise their talents
Once you realize your children’s talents, give them chances to exercise them. Utilizing one’s talents is the only way for them to further develop and grow. Also, your child will benefit from watching you put forth effort for their sake. They will appreciate your efforts and will feel inspired and assured in their abilities.
8. Lead by example
While as a parent you are required to establish rules and enforce them, don’t leave it at that. Show your kids that you are a person of your word by leading by example. If you ask them to say “please” and “thank you” , you should use these phrases regularly, as well. If you are teaching lessons of kindness and love, you should be exhibiting such traits in your life.
9. Set goals and celebrate milestones
Talk with your child and agree upon some short-term and long-term goals. Set goals for each week, month, and year. Clear and tangible ambitions with an achievable end are better than nebulous ones that make you unsure if or when your child accomplished it. Check in with your child regularly for accountability and encourage them to keep a journal to document their progress. Allow your child to make final determinations about their aims, as they will then be more motivated to complete them.
10. Express gratitude
As you notice growth in your child, be sure to express your appreciation for their efforts. When they make progress, becoming more mature and doing hard things, affirm them by letting them know you noticed. Thank them and comment on the benefits of their increased maturity.
For the sake of your child, experiment with a few of these suggestions. Certain ones will complement your personality and relationship with your child better than others, so don’t allow yourself to become frustrated if your first attempts are less than successful. Being a good parent is often about putting the needs of your children above your own; so do what’s best for your child and become their biggest encourager!