How to help kids feel good and have fun

How to help kids feel good and have fun
How to help kids feel
good and have fun
Our tamariki need the basics of
life – like food, warmth, shelter
and clothing – but we ultimately
want them to feel loved, secure
and happy. So how can we foster
their self-esteem and help them
feel good?
Have fun together
Any time you play with your children and
trigger their imaginations is positive – even
if it’s just for 10 minutes a day. Every little
bit counts!
Encourage creativity
Develop their imaginations by setting up
a range of objects and seeing what they
come up with. E.g. cardboard boxes, dress
up clothes, sellotape, paint, pipe-cleaners,
autumn leaves, a blanket over the table,
a dance party. Actively encourage your
tamariki to ‘play’ and let them know you
enjoy this time too!
Role model happiness
Show them joy. Be playful or even silly
in your interactions and talk about what
makes you happy. Children tend to follow
our lead and copy what we do, so this will
help them tune into their positive emotions
and have fun with you and others.
Use music
When needed use upbeat music to boost
your mood and theirs! Dancing may be
required… the combination can be a real
feel good fix!
Say yes
Try to say ‘yes’ a lot more than you say ‘no’.
If your child asks to do something, try to
frame your answer to sound like a ‘yes’. E.g.
If they ask to go outside when there are still
jobs to do, instead of: “Not now! We need
to finish tidying up.” Try: “Yeah, that sounds
like fun! First we’ll tidy up and then we can
go outside.”
Use a kind voice
Another way to show your love is through
your language and tone. The way we talk to
and about our tamariki is really important.
Talk to your child they way you like to be
talked to. Connect before you correct and
limit the amount of commands you give.
Allow them times to just ‘be’.
Think: role models
Keep an eye on what your tamariki
are watching, so you can manage their
comparisons with fictional TV and YouTube
kids.
“JOY IS THE RESULT OF HUMAN
CONNECTION” (THE SCIENCE OF
PARENTING)
Offer praise and compliments
Few things will be more important in
deciding your child’s future than their sense
of self-worth. So acknowledge and praise
specific things that make your child and
whānau special. You might compliment:
•
special skills (e.g. drawing, good ideas,
skating, singing)
•
character strengths (like kindness or a
good sense of humour)
•
their attempts to try something new,
give things a go and persevere.
Show your love
Give hugs, high fives and back rubs, hold
their hand, pat their shoulder – show your
affection and do things they enjoy! Leave
notes in their lunchbox or on their pillow.
Describe special shared memories. Make
heart-shaped sandwiches. Display photos.
Ignore the phone for them. Call when
you’re away. The little things all add up.
Go old-school
Keep screen time to a minimum and
provide toys that encourage imaginative
open-ended play. E.g. building blocks,
Duplo/Lego, toy kitchens, dollhouse,
musical instruments, colouring-in books,
dress ups.
For our favourite kids’ books, resources and tips,
head to allright.org.nz/sparklers/kids
Be their greatest ally
Listen attentively – even to the boring,
repeated stories! Laugh at the not-so-funny
jokes and acknowledge their big stuff, even
if it’s not big for you. E.g. “Oh no, your stick
broke, it was special. What can we do?” (We
promise that if you practice this, it’ll feel
normal soon!)
Find their super-power
Encourage all the things your tamariki love
doing, even if it’s not what you’re into.
While we may love rugby, they may love
ballet. It really doesn’t matter, as long as
they feel good doing it. These small things
(like joining the netball team or drawing)
may seem trivial, but they could become
their favourite passions, the way they find
calm or even their careers!
TAKE TIME FOR YOU, TOO!
AS A PARENT, WE OFTEN FEEL GUILTY
TAKING TIME FOR OURSELVES. BUT
IT’S VITAL YOU FEEL GOOD AND HAVE
FUN TOO. CHECK OUT OUR TIPS AT
ALLRIGHT.ORG.NZ/PARENTS
We’d like to thank the following people for helping us create this
resource.
•
Dr Harith Swadi: Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the
Christchurch Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health
Services.
•
Clare Tatterson: Developmental Psychologist at the
Champion Centre, Christchurch
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