Effectively parenting children under age six requires profound emotional sensitivity. The ability to recognize children's emotional states is an essential element of skillful parenting.
Children in this early period need to feel secure enough to tackle the challenges of child development. Otherwise, their development may stall, resulting in eventual behavior problems.
Parenting children during their most sensitive years demands that we avoid making them feel inadequate, because this feeling impairs their will to strive for mastery. We need to help the child feel safe to make mistakes.
Language development experts concur that playing rhyming games develops awareness of how words sound, crucial for developing communication skills in young children. "Poem me daddy," my 3 year old used to say to me when he wanted to play such a game. I might then chant, "My, eye, rye, fly, high, pie, sky."
Some might argue that for responsible parenting, children should be corrected for committing grammatical errors, but when it comes to parenting children under six, pointing out a mistake may discourage the child from further exercising his abilities.
Lead with an inspirational message, not a critical one. Pointing out a mistake does not necessarily constitute constructive parenting. Children need to believe in themselves to keep trying. When confronting mistakes made by children, quotes like the following apply:
Parenting tips worth heeding honor the child's feelings, because the sad, scared or angry child displays more behavior problems than the child who feels content and secure.
Keep in mind, when parenting children in their early years, that they pick up on your attitude. It's not just your critical words, but your feelings of annoyance, disapproval or impatience that may undermine your child's potential.
Maintaining emotional composure is one of the most important strengths of effective parenting. Children respond more to how you feel than to what you say. Exercise your composure when you feel tempted to react harshly to any behavior displayed your children.
Using rhyme in another way can make you a more effective parent. Children under six will more enthusiastically cooperate when, for instance at clean-up time, you chant something like, "Let's put away that toy to bring us joy". To encourage sharing, sweetly sing, "Sharing makes friends glad, not sharing makes them sad."
Being in good cheer while parenting children in their early years is an essential element of being an effective father or mother. Poems that have a silly side can help you here. For instance, Instead of sternly ordering, "Go to bed", you might chant, "It's time for sleep. Not another peep." Instead of demanding, "Wash your hands," sing, "Go and wash your hands right now, or you might turn into a cow." Pressing children's "humor button" is a great way to inspire their desire to cooperate. Relying too heavily on firmness or intimidation, on the other hand, incites a child's drive to rebel and retaliate.
Children Show You How To Win
Honoring children's feelings does not mean over-indulging them. In fact, paying close attention to the child's feelings can help you determine if the child is expressing a true or a false need for your assistance.
While parenting children of any age, pay close attention to their responses. You will soon begin seeing and sensing how to win with them.
In sum, don't automatically resort to firmness. While fun and games don't always go with responsible parenting, children in the first six years do best in an atmosphere of love and joy.