Ways to Help your Child Blossom

by Jodi Gilray-Szostak PT, DPT, C/NDT, NTMTC Jodi Gilray Pediatric Therapy

First, put down the phone.

Eye contact, social interactions and addressing your child face-to-face are completely irreplaceable when it comes to your little one picking up on communication skills that connects them with others.

It doesn’t matter if you’re little one is 1 month old or 10 years old. This small action moves mountains. Children raised by parents frequently distracted by their phones tend to become more negative and less resilient into adulthood.

You’re the role model

You are your child’s very first guide in life. Children are likely to repeat what their parents do and say. This includes everything from future career choices to how they manage their time with technology.

Sprinkle in the positivity

Words matter. Becoming conscious about the words we use and how we talk about others makes a difference in your child’s development.

Kind words spread kindness, and your little one will pick up on that habit from their very first role model. 

Eat as a family

Eating as a family reduces the risk of substance abuse, mental health problems and eating disorders. Kids who frequently eat with their family often have higher resilience and self-esteem. Plus, when you’re at the table with those you love, you get an extra opportunity to connect and have conversations, which benefits your child’s social development.

Drown yourself in words

Be sure to engage with your little one by talking to them (even if they don’t speak words back to you). Every opportunity or chance you get, tell them something new about life or their world.

You can even sing or incorporate some storytime to get in more practice with language and communication.

You should be the teacher of language, not the TV, the tablet or other techy device that offers language learning. Kids benefit far more from face-to-face interactions.

Stick to a routine

Nobody is a master of routines because let’s face it, life happens, and sometimes it happens hard. During those hard times, you’ll be glad you have a routine in place because routines help create feelings of safety and control.

If the current home routine can improve, start small. Maybe you organize a clearer routine just for the evening such as homework comes before play and play comes before dinner and dinner comes before wind-down time.