A healthy child is a child whose developing both physically and mentally. We have mentioned this on other articles too.
While most mums spend a lot of time and energy to ensure their children grow physically, through right nutrition and vitamins, there seems to be a lack of awareness about the equal importance of focusing on mental development.
The period between ages 3-5 is considered a phase which sees significant growth and development in your child. This is an age where they interact and learn a lot from their surroundings. Children this age are very fast learners!
A childhood that is spent joyously is key to ensuring your child grows and becomes a productive adult.
4 essentials for a child’s mental development
1. Love, care and attention
- Love that is tangible for them.
- Time spent talking, listening to stories, receiving lots of love and care.
- Playtime with parents.
- Meaningful conversations about things they are curious.
2. Good health
- Healthy food and clean water.
- The right treatment for sicknesses.
- Hygienic household practices.
- Protection from dangers/hazards.
3. Learning through experience.
- Doing things on their own.
- Exploring and understanding their environment.
- Observing how certain things work.
- Developing bonds with other family members.
- Learning to express thoughts and emotions through songs, art and conversation.
- Thinking about simple concepts e.g. numbers, shapes.
- Helping children navigate life’s little challenges under a watchful eye.
- Learning to problem solve on their own.
4. Building Self-confidence, self-belief & dignity
- Let them receive praise from whom they respect.
- Take steps to recognise and celebrate their abilities.
- Avoid ignoring good work simply because of a past mistake.
The foundation needed for a successful academic career can be laid by a child’s parents during these formative stages. Children that receive love, care and healthy affirmation from their parents develop a larger appetite and confidence to learn.
Steps you can follow to build a strong confident personality in your child:
- For you to develop a strong personality in your child you must learn to give your child opportunities to lead. Why not give little responsibilities you think they can handle? Recognise them for a job well done once they carry it out. Also give them the chance to feel brave and learn the art of risk taking. Avoid over protectiveness.
- There are many shortcomings in our society. But try to talk about the positives whenever possible.
- Let them learn through experience that there are somethings you cannot obtain just because they want it.
- Do not always give in to their every whim and fancy. Teach them the importance of waiting patiently as well.
- Let them understand that there are certain matters in life that are difficult.
- Let your child be involved with you as you carry out daily tasks. Let them understand that life goes on no matter what challenge or hardship that comes around.
- Teach them the value of self-control and how to control themselves amidst emotions such as anger, sadness, joy, anxiety.
- Let them learn a positive mind-set. Teach them that negative thoughts such as “I cant”, “there’s no point” are one of the biggest hindrances to succeed in life.
- Teach them that life is in their control. A simple change of behaviour can make long lasting impact.
- Finally let them understand the value of self-evaluation. There are always ways of improving oneself. You just need to identify it.
An article with Dr. Nirmali Ekanayake of the Pediatric Unit of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital.