With each stage of childhood arrives a new personality and new emotional needs that you weren’t familiar with at the previous stage in childhood. From birth up to around two years of age your child was easily nurtured with a hug and a kiss. As your child turns into a toddler, they want you to listen to them more, engage with them more often and demand more of your undivided attention. As toddlers become elementary aged children, they start to become individuals with their own opinions. The introduction to peers in school starts to create some developmental changes and emotional needs as well. Then you will enter the teen years where your child will still need to be nurtured yet won’t come out and ask for those needs to be met.
Being aware of developmental changes at each stage in childhood will allow you to have reasonable expectations and learn how to nurture them based upon their current stage of growth.
Set Limits and Guidelines
From the onset of parenthood your child’s emotional needs can always be met when you have a steady set of limits and guidelines implemented within the household. As soon as your child starts to walk and talk you will need to be firm and consistent in the behaviors you expect. Not only will you need to be consistent in this area, but as your child gets older you should start to have weekly meetings with the children as a means to hear out their concerns in the household and work to ensure you are nurturing a healthy environment where they feel respected and trusted.
One household rule that should always apply is that the children should have an open say in what’s on their mind, how they feel about a situation or rule and what they want to discuss. Allowing for open communication from day one in your household allows for your child’s emotional needs to be nurtured in a way that promotes self-confidence and self-advocacy. Those are important traits to nurture in your child and continue to nurture as they get older.
Develop Healthy Habits
Nothing nurtures a child’s emotional well-being more than developing healthy habits in life. This can be eating habits and daily living habits. Guide your child from a young age to make healthy decisions so that their emotional needs will be easily nourished. Even as an adult we know healthy habits can boost our esteem and ability to be more open minded because our mind has been fueled on positive choices aka healthy habits.
Never Expect Perfection
The absolute best way to nurture your child is to never expect perfection. Placing a high importance on perfection versus teaching them to learn from mistakes will push major anxiety upon your child, which will eventually turn into lower self-esteem. You must nurture your child’s failures in a way that shows you care about them and that not reaching perfection isn’t the end of the world. Give compassion as often as possible when your child makes mistakes and help guide them forward when they are having a difficult time in life.
Let's discuss: Can you think of other ways you can nurture your child?