Nurturing Your Child’s Development: What Can You Do?
Some people say that a parent’s job is to make the world safe for their child. This includes sheltering the child from physical and emotional dangers. Standing up for the child in difficult situations. Holding onto them when they feel insecure or threatened.
It sounds like a lot of work!
The other way to nurture your child is by holding them close, keeping an eye on what’s happening around them, and helping them develop self-confidence. This might also involve taking prudent risks, letting go of control, and letting children make mistakes to succeed on their terms.
The First Years
Nurturing your child starts before they are even born and goes on throughout their life. Knowing how to nurture your child means knowing what they need.
You can start by getting the right prenatal care, attending your scans at the London pregnancy clinic, and attending your health appointments and classes. True nurturing means caring for your child before they are even born.
When they are born, nurture for a newborn and infant may look like this:
- Making sure to breastfeed (or bottle feed if you are unable to breastfeed) your baby on a regular schedule
- Keeping them clean and healthy
- Giving them individual care tailored to their changing needs
- Catering to their natural sleep rhythms instead of going with the flow
For a newborn, walking with them and babywearing in their first few months of life helps babies build strength and keeps them safe and feeling at ease.
The Toddler Years
Nurturing your toddler means giving them the tools they need for self-regulation and confidence.
For toddlers, nurturing could mean:
- Establishing rules around safety and nutrition, but allowing them to explore the world at their own pace.
- Using phrases like “What do you want to do?” so toddlers feel included in decisions, which develops their self-confidence and interpersonal skills.
- Disciplining with empathy so they feel understood when you take away something they enjoy, rather than just taking it away without explanation.
The School-age Years
During this time, you can develop rules and discipline and let your child explore the world at their own pace while still young.
For school-age children:
- They should feel included in decisions through phrases like “What do you want to do?” as they build self-confidence and interpersonal skills.
- Consider taking away something they were enjoying as a way of discipline, which teaches them empathy.
- You can set rules, but let your child explore the world at their own pace because school-aged children still learn from modeling.
As your child gets older, chances are you’ll give them more freedom to decide how to spend their time and how much responsibility to take on.
The Teen Years
When a teenager becomes a young adult and has their own circle of friends, they become more independent and less dependent on you. You must continue to nurture, but by sharing your concerns with them instead of controlling them.
Young adults need to think for themselves and still have a lot of learning to do before they can make wise decisions or take risks.