No one can be the perfect parent, or even come close, but we can all try by teaching our children to be independent while helping them to feel secure and loved.
Here are a few guidelines to achieve this goal
1. Learn to listen and not while you are concentrating on something else. Sometimes children really need your undivided attention and of course they will soon learn to know when you are not really listening.
2. Take care to boost their self esteem by giving praise for something positive instead of criticizing something negative.
3. Set parameters of what they can and cannot do – children really do feel more secure when they know what is and what is not allowed.
4. Don't be tempted to give in on questions of healthy eating. Apart from their health, your child's intelligent quotient and emotional quotient as well as the all important weight can be influenced by what they eat. Be a good role model and cut out the sugar, the sodas, the refined and processed foods for you and your children and change to healthier whole foods.
5. From the earliest age, encourage a love of drinking water by your child and do not offer anything else other than milk. Drinking plenty of water (minus the fluoride and other chemicals) flushes out toxins in the system, strengthens the immune system and keeps the organs (including the skin) hydrated and healthy.
6. Do your children get enough sleep? Young children need 10 - 12 hours of sleep every night and of course lack of sleep will affect their performance at school, their behavior and generally make them feel exhausted and grumpy. Insufficient sleep also weakens the immune system, making your child more likely to get sick.
7. Let your children be children with lots of outdoor activities, fresh air and plenty of sunlight. Whether summer or winter, children should be outside for at least some time every day. In summer, don't rush to slather on the sun screen. The majority of people including children are vitamin D deficient, leading to all sorts of health problems. Let your child have direct sunlight every day until the skin starts to turn pink and then move him or her into the shade or put on a NATURAL sunscreen. Pay a little bit more and go organic; otherwise you are smearing harmful chemicals into their skin, chemicals that can cause other types of cancer and hormone imbalances. Look for a sunscreen that spreads easily so you don't have to use so much. Although we are constantly told to stay out of the sun between 10h00 and 14h00 but that is actually the optimum time for vitamin D conversion. Just don't let your children get burned by the sun.
8. Without smothering your children, always be aware of where they are and who they are with, while avoiding any potentially dangerous situations and places such as the internet, public toilets, play areas in restaurants and more. It goes without saying that you have to educate and protect your child from stranger danger (and it is not always strangers either).
9. Instill a love of reading in your children from the earliest age. You can sit a baby of a just a few months old on your lap and look at a book every day to start good habits and enjoy a cuddle at the same time. The child that enjoys reading will have that skill for life and never be bored or lonely. Always include books among Christmas or birthday presents for children.
10. Although it is great to be able to buy your child special toys, they also enjoy simple playtime pleasures where they use their imagination and develop skills. Let them enjoy the real world rather than a virtual world. Build up a supply of craft materials where you can do something together. Pocket money can be a very good idea to instil a lesson in money management and to learn how to save up for something special.
Finally, give loads of love and a childhood that is free of the responsibilities and burdens of adulthood. That will come all too soon, With a bit of luck your children will grow up to be happy, stable and secure.