Model the behaviors that you want your children to exhibit and ask your babysitter to do the same. Your children watch what you do and repeat your behaviors. Candi Wingate, president of Care4Hire (an online caregiver service) presents some practical tips to nurture kids not just by advice, but through example.
- Practice Kindness, Empathy & Big-Picture Thinking: When you are driving and another motorist cuts you off, do you curse or calmly handle the situation? If a friend takes a position that you cannot support, do you condemn the position or do you find a reasonable middle ground? How you react to difficult situations around your children will teach them how to behave when they face testing times.
- Exhibit Calmness, Gentleness, & A Sense Of Humor: Calm and gentle responses, especially when confronted with difficulties, is a learned behavior that is essential for healthy human interactions. Humor helps people, adults and children alike.
- Give Hugs & Kisses Often: There’s nothing more comforting than the touch of love. Additionally, tell your children often that you love them.
- Praise Your Children: Applaud and reward your children when they exhibit loving behaviors and hard work. This will keep them motivated to strive for betterment.
- Emphasize The Value Of Family: Practice shared family activities. If a family member experiences a success, hold a family celebration. If a family member experiences a challenge, hold a family support session. Foster a sense that each family member shares in the successes and challenges of each other.
- Involve Your Children In Planning & Preparation: Include your children in information about the happenings in your home and lives. Let them assist you when you host a party or buy gifts for the holidays; no matter how small the task is, it will help cultivate a feeling of responsibility in them. This is especially true if you and your spouse are expecting. Let your children know about their anticipated new sibling.
- Don’t Play Favorites: When sibling rivalry occurs, be objective. Treat your children firmly but respectfully. Don’t speak badly of one child in front of your other children. Encourage your children to get to the root of their conflicts and discuss them openly, negotiate fairly, and find resolutions where possible. When all else fails, encourage your children to agree to disagree and accept that outcome peacefully.