3 Conversations You Need To Have With Your Children | Woombie
As a parent, you always want your children to be happy, healthy, and safe. But, in reality, the world is a stressful place, and you’re not always going to be there to help them navigate a difficult idea or challenging experience.
This means that you simply must have proactive conversations about difficult topics before they become issues.
The good news is that, as a parent, you’re in a great position to protect your children's curiosity while building self-efficacy, and even young children can benefit from age-appropriate conversations.
So, here are three conversations you need to have with your children.
Most young children are happy, curious, and generally unaware of life’s challenges. But, your “bundles of joy” can quickly become anxious and worried if you don’t have regular, open conversations about mental wellbeing.
This is particularly important if you personally struggle with mental health issues. Parental mental health can impact the whole family’s well-being, and trying to sweep issues under the rug simply doesn’t work.
Instead, you need to take assertive measures to seek help and treatment. This will give your kids a great example to follow and will prevent knock-on effects on your children like raised anxiety and social isolation.
When you feel ready, try to talk about mental health in a way that builds a sense of ownership and self-efficacy in your children. For example, if you notice that they seem wound up or frustrated, try practicing self-care together like simple meditation sessions.
You can use conversation to help children understand the source of their issues. So, if your child complains of tiredness or seems anxious, try giving them more water and whole foods like fruits or nuts. Learning to regulate emotions with healthy behaviors will build a sense of self-efficacy in young children and give them the tools they need to look after themselves.
Eighty-four percent of parents are worried about their children’s digital safety. These worries stem from the threat of scams, internet trolls, or the risk of seeing age-inappropriate content. Parents are also worried that their kids spend too much time online, and miss out on key moments in their development.
As a parent, you should foster greater digital safety at home by taking the reins and regulating your children’s access to digital content. This might mean you parent-lock certain inappropriate sites and maintain strict screen-time hours to encourage play away from screens.
However, you shouldn’t see screen time as a wholly bad thing. Our entire world operates on virtual platforms, and your children need to be digitally literate to find success when they’re older.
You also shouldn’t dismiss the social value of digital friendships. Making friends online can help strengthen your child’s bond with schoolmates and help them meet other children from around the world.
Fortunately, regular conversations about digital safety can promote internet safety for kids making friends online. Start by asking your child about what they’re doing. For example, if they’re playing a game like Fortnite or Animal Crossing, ask them about the interactions they’re having and the friends they’ve made online. This can even occur at the dinner table, as your child will love to discuss events and tactics from their most recent session.
Young people are extremely worried about climate change. Seventy-three percent of young people feel anxious about the future of our climate, and 2 in 3 children report that adults don’t listen to the opinions of young people enough.
As a parent, you can’t stop climate change. But you can help your child feel heard and respected by having open conversations about global warming and environmental responsibility.
When talking about global warming with your child, try to focus more on how climate science works and the potential for change. This can help develop a passion for science in your children and can keep them from becoming too anxious about the state of climate change.
When possible, try to promote environmental responsibility in your local community. For example, consider eco-friendly activities like spending time in nature and volunteering with fundraisers and climate groups. Follow up these experiences with a conversation that promotes self-efficacy and helps children see the positive impact they can have on their local environment.
As your child develops, they will spend less time by your side and more of their free time in the wide world. It’s only natural to feel worried about the stressors and challenges they’ll face when exploring on their own, but you can help them find success and happiness by having timely conversations on important topics like their mental health, digital safety, and climate change.