Google+ Authentic Parenting: How to Nurture Your Childs Potential (rerun)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to Nurture Your Childs Potential (rerun)

In our competition based society, a lot of parents wonder what they can do for their child to grow up to be the best possible them they can be. From the day our children are born, we fret about how to guide them, what to teach them, what to buy, so they can florish. Every mothering and parenting magazine we read reminds us we have to grasp every valuable second to promote their awakening.
Now I do believe there are things to be done to open up your child to the world and to their talents, but I also think this is being highy exagerated in our culture. So this is my guide for you...

1. Don't stress out...
Placing too much of a focus on the development of your child, will only detain them. Even from very young, children sense when their parents are anxious and this works counterproductve.

2. Let your children lead the way.
Follow their interests, let them show you what they want to learn and help them only if they so desire.

3. Strew!
Strewing is a term often used in unschooling, it means casually leaving things linger around your child for him to pick up or discard. Now we're not only talking books here. Any variety of things can spark an interest in your child: fruits, beads, toys, games... While your child still chooses what sparks his interest, you may still point out things that you find worthwhile.

4. Don't place too much focus on linguistic and mathematical intelligence...
Even though these are the most valued skills in our society, there are at least 7 forms of intelligence, so that leaves 5 others your child can be accomplished in.

5. Games and toys
are a great way for your child to learn and devellop himself. Pick the right toys and games and join in every once in a while.

6. Fun
Fun is by far the most important factor in achieving anything for your child. If they are not enjoying themselves, they will not benefit from the experience.

7. Explore the world, go outside, travel.
There are so many things to  learn, see, feel, touch, it would be a pity to pass on all those marvels. Travel leaves few people untouched. The exitement of new surroundings, meeting new people, the clash of cultures...

8. Craft and art supplies
These are great things to have lying around. Invest in a wide variety of paints, coloring material, beads, rope, etc... and leave them at your childs disposal.

9. Books.

Image: Ian Britton
Even though books should not be your primary focus in sparking interests in your child, they are a great secondary tool. Access to a good library (or establishing a varied collection in your home) is a nice idea if your child needs to do additional research, or if they are just looking for a good read.

10. Computers and the internet
Both can be used in a variety of skill building. As social networks, as recreational or research tool. You can choose to be present if they go online, or not.

11. Be a role model.
A parent who is open and interested in the world will most likely raise an interested child.

To conclude, I'll say it again: relax. You don't have to be on them all the time for them to reach their full potential, on the contrary. Ingenuity sprouts from nescessity. Let them find things out for themselves as much as possible. They'll thank you for not being in their hair all the time, and this way, you can make some time for yourself... maybe you have some potential to devellop too.


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