Creating a solid foundation for your child’s success begins with recognizing their needs. If you can’t identify your child’s needs, you can’t fully support them. For young kids who need more support than their peers, like kids with autism, being oblivious to their needs can actually hurt them, although unintentionally.
Not all kids share the same struggles, so if you don’t know where to start, here are some tips and ideas.
- Get your child specialized support
Bringing in an expert, professional, or specialist to help your child is an excellent idea. If you don’t know what your child needs, start with a general assessment from a general therapist. Otherwise, identify the areas they struggle with and find a specialized solution. For instance, if your child has autism, in-home ABA therapy will help them develop communication and learn to regulate their emotions. If your child has a learning disability, an educational therapist will work to strengthen their academic efforts.
Whatever areas your child struggles with, search for a type of therapy or program that will help them get better in those areas. You might want to send them to a professional or you can find programs to administer yourself at home.
Listening is underrated, and it’s the key to figuring out what your child needs. Listen to everything your child says, especially their complaints. They might not know exactly how to express the full extent of what they’re experiencing, so it will be up to you to decipher the root issue. For example, if they complain about hating math and not being good at it, find out why. Some kids just don’t like calculating numbers, but it’s possible your child could be dyslexic, which would make it harder for them to solve even simple math problems.
Another part of listening is reading between the lines regarding what your child isn’t saying. This is a skill that you’ll have to develop over time and apply specifically to your child since everyone is different, however, learning to listen without judgment will tell you more than simply observing or trying to solve their problems on the surface. When you truly listen to your child, they’ll start trusting you more and that might encourage them to open up to you more about the specifics of their issue. It also teaches them how to communicate with you, and in turn, they’ll be more likely to listen to you and accept your offer to help.
- Allow them to explore their options
Kids get excited about a lot of things, but they don’t always stick with what they express an interest in for long. Sometimes, they ditch a hobby or sport after a few tries and other times they’re done in a few months. This is completely normal and exploration should be encouraged.
Your child will only be able to figure out their interests when given the chance to test things out and try new things. Sure, it will cost money to send them to dance camp, buy those art supplies, or sign them up to play on a sports team, but that’s part of being a parent. It’s not a waste of money to let your child pursue their interests until they find something they truly love.
Apologizing to your kids is one of the healthiest and most supportive things you can do for them. This is something many parents refuse to do, but it’s essential for their wellbeing. When kids grow up in a household with parents who apologize for their mistakes, they learn to do the same without hesitation.
Nobody likes to be wrong, but when kids don’t have a healthy example of what it looks like to apologize and make amends with their parents, they’re going to butt heads with people throughout their life. For many people, apologizing is not an option, and this causes relationships to suffer. Teach your kids by example and train them to apologize when it’s warranted without a second thought. Show them what it’s like to be committed to resolution and maintaining a connection over being right. Their lives will be better in the long run.
Kids need tons of support
Despite their insistence that they are individuals, kids need a lot of support from their parents. It’s crucial to provide them with as much as possible, whenever you can, especially when they’re young. Doing so sets them up for success by giving them the foundation they need.