|From Life as Mom|
It would seem that by the time a child reaches about the age of four, he starts to become aware of his mistakes and weaknesses. To be honest, I don’t remember enough from my child development classes in grad school to be able to site the study or the researcher – though I’m sure that if my mom knew how to leave a comment, she could tell us that it was Erik Erikkson or Piaget or somebody.
Anyway, it’s something that I’ve simply observed with my four boys so far. There comes a time when they are no longer blissfully unaware of their shortcomings.
This can be hard for Mom, for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of overreacting and have often given them that newfound awareness of their foibles. It’s not that I want my kids to think that they’re perfect. They aren’t, and I don’t. But, I do want them to feel secure in our love for them and to be hopeful that they will grow and change. A healthy sense of strength and weaknesses is what I desire for me and for them. I never want them to feel like “failures” or unsatisfied with who God has crafted them to be.
Recently, several of them traipsed in from playing with the neighbor kids and questioned me as to whether or not they were short for their age. Since the neighbor kids are giants and we Fishers are average, they were worried that they were “short.” Thankfully, I was able to point to their 6 foot uncle and tell them not to worry about it!
But, encouragement doesn’t always come so easily. Some things work better with different children. Some things work better in one season and then don’t make even a dent in their Eeyore disposition the next season. So, this list is not exhaustive. Instead, I hope it will serve as inspiration to you in thinking of ways to encourage your own kids.
1. Smile often. Try to be a joyful mom.
2. Hug and kiss them often. This is particularly good for the physically affectionate child.
3. Have a pow-wow or a regular time for conversation and sharing what’s going on in each other’s lives.
4. Take 1/2 a day (or more) off from correcting every little thing your child may or may not be doing “properly.” Instead, look for things to praise or thank him for doing. Look for the good and acknowledge it.
5. Make his favorite meal — just because.
6. Take the day off school and go on an adventure.
7. Make a list of all the things that you love about your child. Write it down in a fun, decorative way and share the list with him. If he’s a verbal/audio kid, tell it to him.
These are just a few ways to let your kids know how much you value them. But, there is no end to encouragement.
How have you been successful in encouraging your children? What things have you done to make them feel loved and appreciated and important.