This post is also available in: French
Understanding your child is something that all parents must do to create and nurture the best possible environment for the little ones to grow up happy and healthy. However, kids can be complex – although many people think the opposite is true! It is not enough to merely sit them in front of the TV to entertain them, nor should you simply assume that they are like all other children. So, how do you figure out your child’s needs so that you can attend to those things?
All children are different
Whether this is your first child or the latest in a growing brood, it’s vital to recognize that all children are different. But this statement isn’t something that ought to intimidate you.
Instead, understanding your child’s needs will help them grow into the person they’re destined to be and improve your relationship. This parenting resource is designed to help you do exactly that.
1. To learn your child’s needs, listen to them
Communication is a vast thing, regardless of how old your child is, and it’s something that ideally works both ways. Not only do you talk to them, but you also allow them the space to speak to you.
By creating a home environment that welcomes and encourages open communication, you can better understand what exactly your child needs, with them understanding your needs in turn.
This will enable you to recognize and understand their actions with more clarity. Children can be emotional and temperamental; they might lash out from time to time; they may be moody or irritable.
If you give them a platform to discuss any issues with you, there is a better chance for you to understand what they need from you and from life in general. Then, you can begin to make adjustments to help them achieve this.
2. Speak to educators about your child’s needs
You cannot always be around your son or daughter, whether you like that or not. There will be times where they are at school, clubs, camps, and other extracurricular activities.
For your child, this is often a whole different environment to the one they have at home, and they could act entirely differently than what you see in your household. These actions may be more positive than at home, or they could be more negative.
Speaking to their teachers and leaders will help you get a better idea of what your child needs from education and life. You can check for patterns in behavior, such as whether they are better behaved without individual influences, or struggle with particular subjects.
Doing so will give you an excellent idea of their abilities. It will then allow you to focus more closely on specific aspects of their education.
3. Pay attention to their diet
A healthy diet is an essential part of fulfilling your child’s needs. But once they get to a certain age, it can be difficult to dictate what is right for them and what they should eat. Well, you could say your views but teenagers might not listen to the words.
Because of this, it’s essential to promote healthy eating habits as early as possible. Brands such as Holle are the perfect way to get them the right nutrients as a baby, and it’s something you can continue through into their toddler and adolescent years.
Even if your child is a fussy or at least apprehensive eater, you can still find ways around this to help them enjoy a well-balanced diet. Experimenting with unique flavors and ingredients could help introduce them to an alternative culinary experience.
You can’t allow them to live on fast food and chicken nuggets for the rest of their life, so encouraging a little daring here and there can help them get the right kind of eating plan for them. They might find that they actually like mushrooms, for example, once they try the vegetable.
4. Make them more comfortable with change
Life can change in an instant, and the ups and downs can be difficult for you to adapt to as a woman and parent. It is important to remember that it can also be challenging for your kids.
If you are moving home or school, seeing a new partner after a divorce, or even taking your kids on an adventure to another country, it’s vital to make sure they are comfortable with the change. This notion, however, is easier said than done.
The reality is that few people are comfortable with change, especially significant life change. But it is not impossible to help them adjust more successfully.
If they can adapt quickly, then that’s excellent news. However, they may need some time to adjust to what is happening in life. It’s vital to give them a buffering period if this is the case.
You may feel it’s best to dive into new environments and lifestyle changes, but this isn’t for everyone. For kids who are still figuring out their place in the world, it’s absolutely reasonable to need some time to think things over.
5. Watch how they interact with others
Talking with others or chatting with the youngster isn’t always enough to get an idea of your child’s needs. You can also get a more authentic sense of what they require by watching how they interact with others.
This could be their friends, pets, other adults, and even strangers. Depending on what you see, you get an opportunity to witness who they are.
While they might begin the interactions feeling like you’re watching them, they will soon lose their inhibitions and act like the real them. Likewise, you might come to pick your boy or girl up from a friend’s house, and they’ll not even know you’re there. Seeing how they act around others will help you understand what they might need from life, and you may be able to make them happier.
6. Don’t judge too quickly
Everyone has bad days, so it’s always better not to judge your children too quickly nor too harshly when they start to act up. Many things could be bothering the youth, so it’s better to sit down and speak with them rather than allow their lousy mood to influence yours.
Kids can go through a wide range of problems at school or with friends. They may be struggling with the workload or be the target of bullying. Or, they might have a little teenage crush that isn’t reciprocated. They may not even want to talk, but instead just be given the benefit of the doubt, at least at first.
Once they calm down, they may want to talk with you, but until then, don’t feel like a bad parent because you’ve kept your distance and let them cool down. While parenting is supposed to be supportive, you can also be too overbearing, which is not going to meet your child’s needs every time.
7. Reward them for being good
Kids are too often spoken to merely because of bad behavior, but this is not beneficial for them in the long run. By all means, discipline your daughter or son when they act up, but disciplining time and again without any positive speech, even when they have done well, will only create a cycle of frustration.
When a child engages in positive behavior, they want to see that such action is reinforced. There might be times where you don’t notice it, and they will tell you. Rather than acting disinterested, remark about how good or beneficial that is for them.
Most of the time, though, rewards should come without any prompting. If you witness your little one cleaning up after themselves (which is the bare minimum), then point out how much you appreciate it.
If you see them playing with their younger siblings, mention how patient you saw them being in that situation. This feedback will motivate them to repeat the behavior in the future and encourage the positive reaction they need to mature.
8. Make time for them
All children will need time with their parents. When they are young, this time is crucial.
Take the time to play with them, feed them, take them to and from appointments, and carpool to and from school or friends’ houses.
When they get older, such time decreases, especially when they become more independent teens. However, this isn’t necessarily bad, and while they might have the opinion that they don’t need you anymore, the truth is quite the opposite.
There will always come a time where your children need you no matter how old they are. When this happens, it’s crucial to make sure you can be there for them.
They may want to chat; they may want to go and engage in retail therapy or play a quick round of golf. But whatever it might be, the least you can do is be there to help them.
9. When it comes to your child’s needs, know what you can and can’t do
Knowing your limitations as a parent will help you get a more secure grip on understanding your children.
You cannot do everything perfectly, and even if you consider yourself an experienced parent, there will still be some mistakes here and there. However, you can use this to your advantage.
It’s easy to recognize things you could do better, yes. But also start to think about what you can do well.
By knowing where to improve, you can begin to work on it. Likewise, knowing where you excel as a parent can help you cater to your kids’ needs more effectively, and you’ll be able to ensure that what they require is met during these highly impressionable years.
What are your child’s needs?
Because all children are different, understanding what they need can often feel like something you will never get right. But as long as you focus your energy on listening to them and watching how they interact with others, as well as getting advice and information from people when you aren’t around, you can help them grow.
Through this growth, your children will become well-adjusted and happy in their lives. While a lot of it will be because of their actions, they can thank you, too.
This post is also available in: French