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Parenting and family support - general advice

"Some of my friends moan that their parents are too busy for them, but my mum's great - she always finds time to talk to us about stuff and makes us feel special - I know I can talk to her about anything."

Action
Be involved and develop a good relationship with your child before they reach their teens. Keep a healthy lifestyle. Do things together.

What to say
With younger children, set rules. With teenagers, remember that you are in charge. Even if you only get a grunt, don’t give up on talking.

Warning signs
There may be none. Is your child eating well? Getting enough exercise? Any changes in how they act? Is your child trying to tell you something? Are they constantly unhappy, with mood changes and temper tantrums.

Prevention
Be a little crazy! Have fun with your child. Try to get them to make friends and have outside interests. Listen carefully to your child’s point of view. Help them think through choices.

The facts

  • Children need to feel secure, loved and valued - this is the basis of self-esteem and confidence
  • Noticing and praising good behaviour is the best way of having a good effect on how your child acts
  • Be realistic about what you expect from your child
  • Parents and carers need to work together and keep the same rules
  • Listen to and talk to your child - it's good to talk!
  • Do things together with your child that you both enjoy - have fun!

Keeping your child fit and healthy is something that most parents do without even thinking about it.  Whether it involves getting your child to brush their teeth or encouraging them to show respect to themselves and others, you are an important source of information and advice and a role model for your child. 

In order to develop and thrive children have clear basic needs to be met:

A healthy diet - What children eat and drink can have a significant impact on their physical and emotional development - both positive and negative! 

Plenty of exercise - Part of a child’s ‘job’ is to develop their brains, bodies and minds - exercise for all of these will help your child to grow and be healthy. Most children will naturally need to be physically active for part of the day, and will enjoy regular activity if they are feeling fit and well. You can help by looking for ways to provide opportunities for activity within the daily routine. 

Sufficient rest and sleep - Growing children will develop healthily if they have the best balance of stimulation and rest. You can help by making sure you have a consistent routine and by ensuring that bedtimes are appropriate to the age of your child. 

To feel safe and cared for - Children, just like adults, need to feel safe and cared for. If a child feels unsafe they will be unable to learn. As a parent you can help by explaining potential dangers to them and giving them the skills to keep safe through making good choices and by basic accident awareness. Children thrive when they feel that their parents will put their needs above all else and will balance the household’s rights and responsibilities. 

To be confident and develop strong self-esteem  - A sense of self-esteem is your child’s best protection from other difficulties. Children with strong self-esteem and confidence will be willing to try new experiences and will take risks; they will develop resilience - a characteristic that will improve their learning and life chances to help them grow into confident adults. You can make them feel good about themselves in many ways: by being a good role model, giving positive feedback, listening to their point of view, understanding and helping your child and being natural and affectionate.

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