Jonah Engler – Creating a Loving Environment for Your Child
Parenting is an intricate task. There are right and wrong steps, but there are no right or wrong ways of parenting. Every parent has his/her unique style. All parents question their parenting skills. Educator Jonah Engler tells parents to remember one simple fact – perfect kids don’t exist.
- You can’t raise your little human to possess all the best skills or behaviors. You can only gift them acceptance, stability, and love. All parents love their children. Not all know how to love their children.
- We’re not talking about the small ways you express love to your child every day. We’re discussing creating an environment where empathy, caring, and compassion are day-to-day parts of their lives.
- Raising children in such environments helps them become caring, ethical, happier, and ultimately more successful adults in the future.
Here are a set of guideposts on how to create caring, respectful, and loving environments for your children –
Children need to feel they belong in your care. Their sense of self in relation to you as a parent is key to honing their ability to learn. If you’re loving, available, and understanding with them from a young age, it reflects in their sense of self.
They grow up feeling loved, heard, and secure. These feelings convert into self-motivation when times are tough. So, the first and essential ingredient for creating a loving environment is showing them, unconditional love.
Make them Undergo Sensory Experiences
Children use seven senses to pick up information.
- Vestibular balance
- Body awareness
If your home environment constantly stimulates these senses, your children will develop their tactile responses quicker. Their sensory stimuli will be rich from an early age. As the parent, you should play an active role in giving your children these new experiences.
Jonah Engler recommends some parent-child activities that stimulate the most important senses in children’s minds –
- Reading books aloud
- Reciting rhymes together
- Playing listening games, matching games, and solving puzzles
- Gardening together (even touching plants together is very helpful)
- Running, jumping, and climbing through objects
Listen and Respond
Do you feel valued when someone genuinely listens to your thoughts and opinions? It’s the same with kids. They need to know that their thoughts and emotions are important to their parents. You must give your child this feeling by acting interested in their thoughts.
- Don’t avoid your child if they have something to say, even if it’s in-between work. Yes, you can gently discipline them and ask them to respect your boundaries. But don’t send them away every time. Make time to talk to them.
- Don’t just listen – ask them questions about their opinions. Assess how their thoughts and ideas are evolving with age. More importantly, let them know their thoughts and ideas matter to you, no matter the topic.
Small Gestures Leave Lifelong Impacts
A simple gesture like saying “I love you” to your child three to four times a day is very important. Of course, parents can’t afford to be lovey-dovey all the time, especially with high-energy children.
But, they must always find small ways to demonstrate their love for their children. Actions speak volumes. So, tell nice things about your child now and then. Tell them they make you proud in simple but meaningful ways.
Physical touch plays a great role in reinforcing the love children have for their parents. So, make an effort to hug, kiss, or caress them at least twice or thrice a day.
Special Fun Routines
Parenting is hard. But it’s also super-fun. Just by having fun with your child, you’ll be giving him or her amazing education. Play games. Act silly. Give your child your time. Make it fun. Even better – create a unique and special routine with your child.
If you have multiple children, create different routines and experiences for each child. Their first experiences of “fun” should come from their parents. Parents can only create such experiences by allocating unstructured, unrestricted time to their children.
Abolish Materialism from an Early Age
Children always prefer their parent’s presence, not presents. Unfortunately, many parents teach their children to value presents over presence. How? By missing key moments of their lives and substituting them with gifts.
Of course, parents don’t do this intentionally. They compensate for lost time with gifts with the best intentions. However, such behavior may teach the child in question that materialism is very important in life. Abolish such thoughts from an early age.
Constantly tell them that their presence and their memories mean more to you than any material object. When they display similar behavior, acknowledge it.
If your child cannot sleep without you tucking him/her in, respect this tradition. In case you fail to meet these simple obligations, make sure to apologize. Let them know that their time and the moments you create with them mean the world to you.
Maintain Consistency and Structure in Your Home
Children thrive in environments that are consistent and secure. When uncertainty beckons over their lives, their mental growth is stunted. That’s why maintaining consistency and structure in the household is very important.
There are two ways parents can add consistency to their children’s lives –
- Daily Conditioning: Your child’s wake-up time, mealtimes, and bedtime should be consistent. The lack of fixed schedules and stable routines makes children feel insecure and anxious. Don’t let such emotions foster in your child’s brain.
- Family Dynamics: It sounds cliché, but it’s true – children learn about relationships by observing how their parents interrelate. Your family dynamics will impact your child’s growth and education. So, creating a family environment where good qualities are appreciated is very important. Your family’s “good qualities” will reflect in your child’s behavior.
Children fail only to learn how to pick themselves back up. Unfortunately, children don’t know this. They get overwhelmed when they make mistakes or fail. Jonah Engler suggests that building their confidence in such situations is extremely important.
Unless parents teach their children that mistakes are learning opportunities, they will fear making mistakes. That’s not a healthy or loving environment for a child. So, create the opposite. Create an environment where your children receive unconditional support no matter how bad they slip up.