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Every child has a unique personality with which he or she is born, but, the surroundings in which the child grows, plays a major role in shaping this personality. Parents, teachers, and caregivers have a perpetual responsibility to influence the child in developing positive personality traits. Here are ten things you can follow with your child right from a young age, to groom them into strong and confident youngsters.
What Exactly is Personality Development in Kids?
There are many facets to a child’s personality beginning with their own confidence, courage, and self-esteem to how they treat and respect others. Between the age of three and six, you can see the personality of your child developing. This is the right time to inculcate in them some values and practices that grooms them into positive individuals. As children learn and model the behaviour of their parents, you become the single biggest influencing factor in your child personality development.
Ways to Develop Your Child’s Personality
Many parents think that lecturing their children about the do’s and don’ts at regular time points, is the best way to influence their personality. Children do not pick up values from endless lectures, but from mirroring your behaviour. Therefore, the best way to give them a confident upbringing is to subtly push the agenda of positive personality traits, in small day to day actions. Here are some ways by which you can do it.
1. Stay Away from Labelling
Words make the world. When, as parents, you decide to brand your child for certain behaviour, you unconsciously make the child believe that he or she is indeed like that. Labelling the child closes their options of correcting themselves also. This may lead to low self-esteem and even imitating this behaviour with others around them. Remember to always be cautious with your words especially while correcting your child’s mistakes.
2. Be a Good Listener
Children crave for attention all the time. As kids grow they become more and more independent. Pre-schoolers and toddlers tend to express themselves more by talking, especially during the time when their language skills are developing. As parents, you can give a patient hearing to their stories, to make them feel confident and secure in your company. This sets precedence for them to be good listeners themselves and also develops their confidence.
3. Be Gentle on Their Shortfalls
Many parents expect their children to excel in everything they do. When children do not match up to their expectation, they express their disappointment on their child through many ways by accusing them of not being competent enough. Each child has a unique capability and as parents, you must identify and encourage it. You can give gentle assistance to improve the child’s shortcomings without reducing their confidence in themselves.
4. Refrain from Comparison
Comparing your child with other friends, relatives and neighbours, can do a great deal of damage to your child’s personality. Constantly comparing the child to someone sends a message to the child that he or she is not good enough. Children get confused about their own identity and start mimicking others. Respecting the child’s individuality is undoubtedly the first and foremost step in building their confidence and bringing the best out of them.
5. Model the Right Behaviour
Children learn what they see, more than what they hear. Therefore, practically implementing things that you advocate will leave a lasting impression on them. Starting from little things like arranging the books back on the shelf to being polite to guests, children follow what you do. If there is any hypocrisy or disagreement in your behaviour children pick it up very quickly. Therefore, is very important to practice what you preach.
6. Let them Play
Free play has drastically reduced among the children of this generation due to so many reasons. Nothing can teach values like sharing, caring, team spirit and resilience like playing a sport. Sports and games are the best personality development activities for kids. Sadly many parents today shield their children from field play and even restrict them from taking up any sport. For an overall physical and mental of your child, you must involve them actively in a sport. It is also great for children to unwind every day from the stress of academics and remain cheerful.
7. Limit the Screen Time
Gadgets are a new age problem that many parents struggle with. Studies have shown that too much screen time impacts their intellectual and social development. Playing games on the gadget lead to addiction and in turn less time for social interaction. Spend more time with your child playing games and travelling, to divert them from gadgets and give them a real-life experience of things around them. Teach them to value their surroundings and people more than the virtual things they see.
8. Chalk Out the Rules
Giving clarity to children about their responsibilities is essential for a healthy understanding in the house. Sometimes parents fail to communicate what they expect from the child and end up accusing them of their misbehaviour. When the rules are straight, the child learns to align its behaviour with the expectations, slowly and steadily. It may take times for children to tune themselves to the set of rules, but continuous adherence to a code of conduct makes it a habit, eventually.
9. Encourage Independence
Parents of toddlers usually assist the child with all their work to an extent that they stop encouraging the development of any individuality or independence. While it is important to be caring and nurturing, it also important to teach kids to slowly manage their simple responsibilities. For things like packing their bag to school or brushing their teeth or doing their homework, you can encourage your child to do it independently with minimum supervision. This not only trains them in essential life skills but also improves their sense of responsibility.
10. Practise Gentle Parenting
Physically reprimanding your child or yelling at them for their mistakes are going to make things worse for you and the child. Many times, children take the yelling to heart and do not register the corrective action that they are expected to take for a mistake. Gently and patiently explaining to them the consequences of their wrongdoings, will be an effective way of bringing the desired change in their mind. When you yell at your child, he or she obliges out of fear and do not understand the consequences of their action. Explaining to them or even sometimes letting them experience the results of their actions, helps them understand the cause-effect relationship.
Myths about Personality Development in Kids
The word ‘Personality’ is often misinterpreted. It is a myth that a child’s personality is limited to the appearance. Parents emphasise on clothes, grooming and health, oblivious to the fact that these are just one aspect. The child’s outlook towards life, knowledge, social skills, interpersonal skills, and much more contribute towards the building of a balanced personality.
Do remember that personality development is a long drawn process in which may experience some temporary setbacks. A consistent effort towards inculcating positive values, behaviour, and attitudes is sure to pay off in the long run as you bask in the satisfaction of nurturing a well-rounded individual.