A: Memories are born from our relationships and interactions with others. As parents and grandparents, we have the opportunity and obligation to create and maintain nurturing relationships and to provide positive guidance and support for children to be their best. These interactions result in wonderful memories for us and for the children. So let’s set the stage for positive interactions and special memories:
• Embrace your responsibility as a positive role model. What values do you demonstrate? Your child is watching you as he or she develops his or her own sense of identity and personal values. Teach your child to be helpful and kind; give compliments to others, demonstrate acts of kindness and purposefully recognize your child for exhibiting those values towards others.
• Do things with your child, not to your child. Encourage your child’s skill development and give him or her the opportunity and support to do things himself or herself, like letting your toddler wipe his or her own face with the washcloth. Engage your child in household tasks and praise him for helping.
• Ask your child open-ended questions like “What was your favorite activity today?” This will encourage language development as well as contribute to a positive, meaningful interaction.
• Provide positive guidance vs. discipline. Explain what you want your child to do, not what he or she shouldn’t do. Provide choices to encourage self-awareness, confidence, and self-control. “Do you want to brush your teeth first, or put on your pajamas?”
• Take advantage of teachable moments.
Information provided by LuAnn Murgatroyd, ChildServe service manager for Childcare and Day Health Services.