Children flourish when they feel loved, nurtured and supported by a strong family. Every parent wants the best for their children and every family can thrive. Here are five key* ways that you can keep your family happy and strong.
- Practice resilience. Managing life’s stressful moments, overcoming challenges, and taking care of yourself are all ways that you can build resilience.
- Take time to care for your health and well being. Exercise, try to eat healthy foods, and take some time to relax. Everyone needs time to recharge. Schedule time for you at least once a week and ideally every day.
- Manage your stress level. Stress can seem like the constant companion for parents who are juggling busy lives at work and at home. Even if you can't get away from a stressful activity, try and take a few moments to take a "mental vacation" from the worries of the day.
- Build your social network. It’s important to have people who you can talk to and connect with. Friends, family members, and neighbors can help you solve problems, provide encouragement, offer good parenting advice, and provide help when you need it most.
- Join a parent support group or playgroup. Check the bulletin board at your pediatrician’s office, local community center, or search online for groups in your area.
- Meet new people while doing something you enjoy. Sign up for something you like to do. Find a sport you like, join the book club at your local public library, or sign up for a class on something you have always wanted to do.
- Smile and say hi. Making a connection with another parent, person, or a new friend can be as simple as being open and engaging him/her with a smile.
- Ask for help. One of the most important ways to keeping your family strong, healthy, and happy is making sure that you can cover your basic needs, from diapers to daycare. Knowing where to find help and knowing people who can help you access support can make this process easier.
- Map out your support system. Make a list of the people and places that you can go to for support. Use this list to help you when you face life’s inevitable challenges.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes we need help and sometimes we can help others. Sometimes all you need is for someone to share their experience and help you through a challenge.
- Be a life-long learner. Parenting may be the hardest subject you’ll ever “study” but your natural strengths and all the wisdom you pick up along the way will help you raise and nurture a healthy and happy child.
- Learn new information. Subscribe to an online parenting newsletter, read parenting magazines, or attend a parenting class. Learn more about your child’s development at onetoughjob.org/articles.
- Reach out to the people in your social networks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, share your experience and your struggles as a parent.
- Share your knowledge of parenting with the world. Talk with family and friends about your parenting successes. Don’t be afraid to brag about something you did well or something new that you have learned.
- Nurture your child’s social and emotional growth. Make sure that your children know that they are loved and respected, that they can talk about their feelings, and that you can help them work through any challenges that they may face.
- Listen to your child and encourage her to express how she feels. Help your child problem solve by allowing her to make suggestions and think through problems she may encounter.
- Show your love. Small, simple gestures everyday are the best ways to show your child you love him. For ten easy ways to show your child you love them click here.
*These five keys are based on years of research, study, and practice of the Strengthening Families model of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and form the basis for our work at The Children’s Trust.