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When children are loved they feel safe, and this allows them to continue building skills. Your child also learns about relationships by seeing how you interact with other people, other parents, family and friends. This learning shapes how your child will communicate and behave with others. A secure and loving family relationship gives children the best opportunity to grow in confidence and health.

Spending time with children is the greatest gift you could possibly give them.

Finding time for loved ones

Most people have very busy lives and that's why we need to be smart about how we spend our time:

  • Use family meal times to talk and share ideas and experiences
  • Have one-on-one time with each family member to strengthen each individual relationship
  • Do regular fun things together as a family, such as go bike riding, play soccer in the park or a family board game at home
  • Make decisions together about activities, in particular special occasions
  • Encourage time with friends and extended family 

You can develop respect and understanding between family members by using positive communication such as encouragement and appreciation, and making time to stop and listen to everyone.  This might include:

  • Give young children warning about plans, i.e. bed time, turning the TV off or leaving the parkchildren playing
  • Offer your child choices
  • Give praise regularly for good behaviour, as they will tend to remember criticism more
  • Read stories that demonstrate positive values
  • Work together, such as problem solving, decision making and family chores

Socialising with others

It is important for children to interact with others of their own age. Through socialising children learn such skills as:

  • Self-control
  • Welcoming and engaging others
  • Assertiveness
  • Consideration
  • Thinking and imagination – take part in games and making suggestions
  • Coping with disappointment, rejection or disapproval
  • Flexibility – if others want to play a different game.

Encouraging children to share and take turns teaches them how to make friends and and cope with disappointment.

You might find the following videos useful:

[Source: Raising Children Network]