Creating secure areas or zones of support to engage your kids is vital to their growth and development into high performing, creative and productive beings. Their ability to move through the complexities of life and be delivered into adulthood capable of accomplishing complex tasks, is possible for all kids, no matter their economic standing. Below are 5 Zones of Support, out of many, that every home must have to help build their child’s capacity to thrive.
SUPPORT ZONES: ENCOURAGE. INSPIRE. BELIEVE IN THEM.
What cannot be overstated is the power of believing in kids and providing them the encouragement needed to inspire them to greatness. You, their family, are their number one fan. Setting age appropriate goals in school and at home and celebrating their commitment to the task is as important as the tasks being done correctly. There must be room for grace as your child learns new things. The role of the family is to provide the grace and the space for them to “fail”. When it happens, the family must be present. The family must be there to support them without them feeling like a failure. Failure in its true definition, is the rites of passage to greatness.
Supporting kids builds resilient kids and it cures most of what ails low performing kids. Performance is an indicator of commitment to an ideal that is nurtured at home and in the family. Tackling the “value matter”… what the family believes in and show their kids daily, serves as an imperative guide. Values that the family embraces, becomes an innate part of who kids become.
HONESTY ZONES: CREATE A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR KIDS TO BE HONEST.
How do you teach your kids to be honest at home? Have you created a safe space for them to be honest and vulnerable? Parents and other caring adults possess inherent powers that kids cannot compete with. The use of that power can mold caring, competitive and happy young adults, or they can lead them places of insecurity, self -doubt and low esteem. Either way, the power of family looms large. So, how do you create safe zones or places for your kids to be honest?
Modeling honesty. Modeling a behavior of truth that you want to see from your kids is essential. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and so do adults in families. If you inappropriately use your authority to discipline, share your discovery and they, in return, will learn to do the same. The more trust that’s built the more honest they will be and the more willing they will be to throw themselves in a zone that is predictable. No consequences for being vulnerable and trusting leaves open space for them to roam through their thoughts and share them with you.
Building trust. Being a consummate and supportive listener is an incredible gateway into how kids are processing their journey of discovery as they grow. Such access gives you tremendous leverage to build lasting trust and confidence in you to protect their most sacred thoughts.
Keeping promises. Making promises to kids is a really big deal. Their confidence in you rides on your commitment to a promise. Yes, there are times promises made are delayed, but they should never be broken. If you have to “scale” the promise back, making it more doable, do so but only in conversation with the child. Remember, kids model behavior. Lectures, scoldings and arguments do little to convince a child that they are wrong and you are right. It is the promises you make and keep that they watch closely to learn how to be dependable and predictable.
Your words color the world in which they live. Your actions give meaning to those words and your commitment brings honor to what you say and then do. Never make a promise without first taking into account what it will take to make it happen, and then go for it.
LEARNING ZONES: STIMULATE A KID’S CURIOSITY FOR LEARNING NEW THINGS
Learning new things should be an everyday goal. There is so much for kids to explore in and out side of the classroom that adds tremendous value. And, there is no better place than home to explore and learn. Taking walks, or bird watching, science projects, planet watching through the lens of a telescope at night, song writing, poetry, cooking like mom-creating new dishes, uncovering family history and ways to improve academic performance by reading all sorts of books. The time to learn new things is always the right time to nourish a kids curiosity.
SHARING ZONES: UNLEASH A GIFT OF GIVING
Learning to give is fundamental to living the human experience, and a home that values giving is the best place to start . It is the best place to nurture a spirit of generosity while at the same time, give kids a glimpse into the joy of helping others. There is nothing more fulfilling than to take something that belongs to you – time, money, resources, ideas and perspectives and invest them into others without expecting anything in return.
Volunteering and giving to a local church, school or other civic or nonprofit organization is an opportunity for kids and their family to be each others “witness”. Testifying to what has been seen, leverages what it means to be fully family bonded.
HAPPY FUN ZONES: SUPPORT CREATIVITY AND ADVENTURES AT LOW TO NO COST
Kids love having fun and so should the family. Following their lead in planning and executing fun-filled activities, furthers family bonding and creates opportunities that will render enormous success. Families on fixed salaries or families with unlimited access to resources, should take the plunge planning family outings that are low to no cost.
Taking walks in parks as an explorer, going on a hike, enjoying the playground and all of its courts, bird watching, collecting bugs, registering for a 5K run, going fishing, visiting a farmers market, playing horseshoes, gardening, creating a family scavenger hunt, treks to a museum, zoo and mall, a train ride, baking, cooking , family game night and creating hand puppets are just a few, in a list of unlimited adventures that host fun for kids and the family, that is low cost to free.
Zones of support are critical elements to be added to the life of a child. Success is never by applying an accidental formula to a series of life experiences. It is about thoughtful, intentional works of a family that are employed to come alongside kids, as they are shepherded into an unimaginable quality of life.