Understanding your child is the most important topic that you should learn as a parent. It is very helpful in becoming active in guiding and nurturing your children, as they grow and mature. Why? Your child has unique personality traits that remain consistent throughout life.

One way you can understand your child is by observing them as they sleep, eat, or play. Look for the consistent traits such as

  • shyness versus being outgoing
  • focused versus distracted
  • cheerful versus stressed
  • playful versus observant
  • fussy versus more accepting

OR

  1. Which activities do they like best?
  2. How do they negotiate change?
  3. Do they adapt easily to new situations?
  4. Do they need time to explore new environments or activities?

These average characteristics of a child demonstrate particular interests, choices, and behaviors according to his or her inborn temperament. This is the key to understanding your child.

Create space and time in your busy day to talk, but also listen, to your kids as this is crucial to gaining information about how they think and what they understand. In the case of young children, they require less verbal language and more facial expression and body language to understand their thoughts and feelings. Asking them questions will allow them to share their feelings and identify emotional patterns.

For example, ask them what they built with their blocks today rather than asking them what they did in school. What game did they play with a friend? Learn how they used their imagination to create and enjoy.What was their favorite part of the day?

Another way of understanding your child is by looking at their environment to learn about certain behaviors that you have observed. Special people play crucial roles in your child’s life–family members, grandparents, child care providers, friends, and teachers. Of course, the home environment is the primary influence and can play a crucial role in your child’s behavior. For example, does your child show aggressiveness towards other kids at school? Find out all the triggers for their aggressive behavior.

Possibilities include their association with another child who is aggressive as well. The environment at home is another possible source for such conduct. Have there been conflicts and arguments at home lately? What about in the community? These are some angles to consider when trying to find the reason behind your child’s aggressive behavior.

Also, you can learn about your child by observing other children belonging to the similar age group. You can check out books, browse the Internet and take an online class or two. Watching your child grow up may bring back your memories of going through the same growth stages. However, through each stage, the speed of development is a personal thing.

By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with learning opportunities to support their development and prepare them for the next growth stage. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.

Being a conscious Heartwise® parent is hard especially in this day and age when demands of work, financial commitments, and family tug on every parent. Quality time is hard to get when you are trying to juggle your time between corporate life and parenthood. Understanding your child’s temperament and traits are effective ways of becoming successful in the art of parenting.

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A Quick Guide to Understanding Your Child

by Caron Goode
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