700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

5 Things You Can Give Your Child That Don't Cost a Thing

Dec 10, 2019
Little girl looking over her parent's shoulder

On the day I found out I was going to be a parent, I remember feeling all sorts of overwhelming emotions - joy, happiness, confusion, curiosity, fear, anxiety and wonder - all at the same time. 

What wasn’t going through my head was the realization that the job of parenting would be important and hard.

Part of that hard work is being supportive. Children watch and absorb what we do and how we act. They count on us to be their safe person. They need to know we are there for them no matter what. 

Here are a few ways to help parents be the strong and steadfast foundation that children need.

  1. Talk “with” children instead of “at” them. Actively engaging in conversations helps kids get the message, “You are important and I want to hear what you have to say.”
  2. Accept and encourage children to be who they are without comparing them to others. When we do this, children learn it is okay to be unique. They can be curious and learn from differences and they can learn to celebrate and be proud of themselves.
  3. Play. Our children want to have fun and they want us to provide safe environments to do so. Parents should be available to set healthy and firm boundaries. When children can count on these consistent boundaries, they trust us and feel secure.
  4. Be kind and patient. Children’s brains learn through repeated efforts. We need to provide calm, clear instruction more than once or twice.
  5. Trust children and allow them the opportunity to learn from failure. This may be one of the hardest things as a parent to watch. We don’t want our kids to experience failure. Our tendency may be to protect, suggest or sometimes even control their decision making. When we do this, children may not have an opportunity to learn how to make a mistake and experience the consequences of that decision.

When we accept our children through unconditional love and practice the tips above, it ensures they are resilient and equipped to one day handle the world without us. This is the core of our important work. 

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Kelly Pack, LISW-S
Behavioral Health

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Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.