Steps Towards Raising a Mindful, Confident Child
We all want the best for our children. Creating an environment that’s mentally stimulating, engages them in meaningful communication, and enhances social confidence is easy when we build these habits into our everyday lives.
Ways to Create a Mentally Stimulating Environment for Your Child
• Hold your baby frequently
A recent study suggested that the more a baby was held by his or her parents, the less likely the infant would develop attention deﬁcit problems later in childhood.
• Use expressive facial gestures
Infants respond to parents whose facial expressions are more animated. In one experiment, babies turned away from mothers with dull facial expressions and turned toward those faces that were more expressive.
• Perform wordplay games in the form of rhymes or songs that you make up with your child
This activity encourages the development of language skills.
• Cut the captions oﬀ cartoons
Create new captions with your child in order to boost thinking skills and creativity.
Perform Mental Gymnastics
Playing games that stimulate the mind, particularly those that contain the element of strategy and that are not mainly based on chance (e.g., a roll of the dice), will build verbal skills, plus improve powers of concentration, perception, and reasoning. Here are some recommendations for brain-building games you can do as a family:
• Crossword puzzles
• Word jumbles
• Solving mathematical puzzles
Ways to Build Your Child’s Social Confidence
The following suggestions are ways to help you enhance your little one’s social confidence:
1. Teach socially acceptable values and actions: Having your child be patient while other kids receive attention, taking turns, and sharing toys. Children who snatch toys or do not know how to share often have trouble making friends.
2. Be sure your child has a plan to follow during social situations: Discuss and role-play what to do in a new situation (how to get involved in a game or conversation, how to participate in a project or how to start a conversation). Encourage your child to have a preset plan to strike up a conversation, which can be an effective tool for social success!
3. Have your child use mental rehearsals as a way to prep for social challenges: Mental rehearsals build self-confidence and self-assurance. Mental rehearsals can be used when dealing with a bully, coping with an unfair event against your child, handling an embarrassing situation with the opposite sex, communicating with older children who misunderstand him/her, interacting with an authority figure or dealing with a negotiation.
• Get your child involved in age-appropriate team sports or other group activities so that not only can they share their interest, but also effectively function in a team environment.
• Allow your kids to invite other children to your home so that they can learn positive and healthy social interactions under your supervision.
• Encourage play opportunities with other children as these experiences will not only develop your child’s social confidence but will also enhance their leadership and cooperation skills.
• Teach and model healthy friendships and relationships for your child. You are their primary resource for positive social interactions. Your kids not only look up to you but watch you, closely. Your healthy example will help your little one grow into a positive, happy, socially-conscience adult!
Written by Tiffani Bacon, Pediatric Physical Therapist
Fratangelo, N. (2018). This Might Be The Key To Helping Your Kid Deal With Social Anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/this-might-be-key-to-helping-your-kid-deal-with-social-anxiety
McGraw, P. (2004). Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family: Family First. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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