The following YouTube video went viral, with over 43 million views and counting. Its popularity is unsurprising thanks to the message it sends about children’s innately positive nature. The video also explores an increasingly important issue within families; abuse. The prevalence of domestic violence is far too common, and the adverse effects are devastating, with children especially vulnerable to developing violent behaviors as a result. As the Slap Her video suggests, violence is not an inherent characteristic within children but rather a learned behavior. That’s why teaching children positive life skills are fundamental to ensuring they have the best start to life.
As the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reveals, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men” (2014). Thus, the prevalence of abuse and sexual violence within the United States, and the world is unacceptably high.
Negative behavior patterns are quickly learned during childhood and then replicated and continued throughout adulthood. Without the right building blocks, children are unable to develop positive life skills. This not only disadvantages children in their early years but also becomes a severe hindrance in later life.
That’s why this article explores 3 ways you as a parent can help to lay down great foundations for your child.
- Positive Affirmations
As Dr. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell explain in the globally successful book, 5 Languages of Love: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively, how you communicate with your child has a direct impact on their sense of self as well as their learning and development.Childhood is a period when we, as humans, are profoundly influential and impressionable. During this time, the environments we get exposed to, the parenting behaviors we experience, and the words we hear are all ways that shape our worldview.That’s why encouraging and supporting your child through positive affirmation is essential to improving their life skills. By effectively communicating with children, they will be better equipped in the future when it comes to establishing lasting relationships and strong ties.As humanity is founded on social connection, providing your child with positive affirmations and consequently building their self-esteem is one of the best life skills you can give a child.
- Connection with Nature
As the Child Mind Institute explains, “The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.”With technological advancements on the rise and the digital world a social norm, the time children spend outdoors may only reduce in years to come. This alarming reality is an important one to address due to the fundamental role nature plays within enabling a healthy and balanced childhood.Nature offers children a release from everyday stresses, the ability to reconnect with their roots, a sense of play and wonder, a source of stimulation, and encouragement for physical exercise as well as mental health benefits. Helping your child to make outdoor play part of their every day is intrinsically linked to their wellbeing. Considering the largely digital world children are now raised in, this positive life skill is of particular importance.
- Physical Exercise
We’ve all heard about the benefits of physical exercise and know that they are endlessly rewarding. The rise of the fitness and health industry combined with social media’s explosion of health-related content are just some of the ways we’re reminded about the importance of exercise daily.However, while we may attend to our health, it can be easy to forget about the importance of ensuring exercise is a fundamental part of our child’s life. This positive skillset is one that will benefit children throughout their entire lifetime.Physical exercise provides children with an opportunity to make new friends, develop their sporting abilities, build self-confidence, and improve both their physical and mental health.Plus, team sports develop children’s learning and development by offering life lessons. For example, a child playing soccer may be on a team with a particularly dominant and selfish player. While initially confronting, a child can learn to deal with this personality type. The coping mechanism used by the child in this sporting situation can later serve to aid in other cases. This scenario is just one of the many ways sport allows children to learn from physical exercise and apply these lessons in their everyday.
It’s clear teaching positive life skills to children is fundamental to ensuring they can live their best life possible. Implementing positive affirmations within the everyday communication you have with your child, encouraging regular physical exercise, and ensuring the outside world is a part of your child’s life are just some of the many skills you can share. The rewards are endless and utterly invaluable!