Considering Your Child’s Development in A Busy World
By: Dilini Dharmawardana, LMFT
These days we are all busy whether it be from work or trying to schedule in time for self-care. But, it is important to take into account your child’s developmental needs and how to foster them. It is important to remember that children do not always develop at the same pace as other children. Sometimes children require a little help and here are some ways you can help your child develop.
One area that children may need help developing before and during school is empathy and being empathetic towards others. Empathy is important because when children get to school they need to know how to be nice to other children and understand that other children hurt and feel things as much as they do. So, reflect feelings at home and talk about feelings at home as much as possible. Get a dialogue going about feelings everyday so that your child knows that you feel them too. We can make feelings less scary by talking about them more often!
Another area that may need help developing is socialization skills. Creating opportunities for your child, no matter how old, to socialize is important as well. Create space and time in your schedule and in your child’s schedule to play with other children in person. With the advent of video games, television, and other electronic devices, children are becoming less apt to socialize with others in person, which I believe is an important part of being a child. So, let your child play outside with other children his/her age. Allow your child to make friends with whoever they like and be themselves with their friends. Judging your child will only cause pain later on.
Along with socialization skills is the area of boundaries. A lot of children do not know about personal space and boundaries, but it is important to teach children that everyone has their own personal space bubble and to respect that space when people say they are too close. Teach your child to ask other children or adults if they would like a hug and to respect their wishes if they say no. I love getting and receiving hugs, however, some people do not always find comfort in physical tough, so it is important to be able to listen to what somebody says.
Children all develop at different paces and it is important not to rush them into developing faster. Sometimes if we pressure children they may feel guilty. Fostering development and doing so in a gentle way is difficult, but children also need to know that they are loved for who they even if they are developing faster, slower, or the same as others. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men(/women).” — Frederick Douglass. So, Remember to be gentle, kind, and loving to your child and to take the time to be with them.