25 Tips for Raising a Well-Balanced Child

We asked local experts for tips on how Katy parents can keep up with their children's emotional, social, and personal growth. Here's our checklist of the top 25!

KATY MAGAZINE | September 2018

By Ashley Lancaster

Sometimes crazy schedules and demanding jobs can make us feel like we're doing the bare minimum in the parenting department. Here's a fun, easy checklist based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to keep you on track raising healthy, happy Katy kiddos.

1. Encourage positive self talk

Have your children write down a list of positive and encouraging thoughts that target aspects of their life that are important to them, or that relate to goals they want to meet. Reinforcing positive thoughts not only combats negative self-talk and self-doubt, but over time it boosts confidence, self-esteem, and helps them achieve great things! 2. Be happy

Have you ever felt like there are days when you just wake up stressed out and frustrated? It seems that on those days when you're already in a "bad mood", the rest of the home is, too. Well it's not a coincidence. Extensive research has shown that children literally take cues from their parents on what their day will be like. If you're happy, they will be too! This means taking time for yourself, creating a margin of error and grace for mistakes and slip ups, and positive thinking.

3. Eat meals together

Regularly eating meals together not only gives you time to chat with the kids in the , it gives them the energy and nutrition they need to get through their day.

"Any time you have an opportunity, encourage your family to unplug and sit together at the table during mealtime. While it is not always feasible with after school activities, strive for eating at least one meal together at the dinner table every day, or as often as possible. Eating together with no interruptions creates an opportunity to teach and learn important life and social skills as well as to encourage family discussion and bonding. Taking the time to listen and learn about your child’s day and share your own shows them that you value their thoughts and enjoy their company," says Rachel Copeland, a Certified Child Life Specialist.

4. Be consistent "Children feel safe and protected when they understand what is going to happen, when it is going to happen and why it is happening. Predictable schedules, consistent rules and discipline, clearly understood expectations, as well as encouraging honest and open discussion, providing words of affirmation, dependability, active listening, providing frequent positive attention, spending time together, the expectation of unconditional love and lots of hugs all show a child that they are loved, important and special," says Copeland.

If you say it, you've got to mean it. Whether it's going to bed at a certain time or knowing consequences of their actions, consistency gives children security and comfort.

5. Emphasize Good Manners

In order to raise respectful adults, they have to start out as children who respect their elders and people in authority. Emulate that example by teaching them to reply respectfully to the elderly, law enforcement, family members, teachers, coaches and being polite and well-mannered to anyone they come in contact with.

6. Avoid discussing adult matters in front of them Let kids be kids and not have to overhear all of life's adult matters. If it's possible, keep discussions of finances, marital strife, problems with in-laws, etc. behind closed doors. Kids feel safer when they aren't privy to information intended only for adults in the family.

7. Keep their appointments Dental cleanings, doctor's visits, and even therapy where needed help children feel safe and cared for, and help them develop good hygiene habits.

8. Don't Overschedule Them

Kids can handle a lot, but sometimes we get so focused on seeing them succeed that we may not noticed that they are stretched way too thin to do so. School, friends, athletics and too many added activities can be overdone. Copeland tells Katy parents what signs kids will show when they are overwhelmed.

"Stress reactions can include physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches and frequent colds, as well as behavior changes such as frequent meltdowns, anger, becoming more clingy, over and under eating, sleep problems or changes, nightmares or night terrors, panic attacks, anxiety, isolating themselves, depression, crying, loss of focus, and an inability to concentrate. New behaviors of previously mastered skills, such as wetting the bed or other forms of regression, also signal that further investigation is needed" she says.

9. Set the tone for a positive home

Don't over react to issues at school, with your boss, or neighbors. Model for them how to handle life's issue in stride and navigate through difficult situations. If you think something is a huge deal, they will too.

10. Say "I love you."