Healthy Children, Healthy Families

By Arlene Silva, PhD, Chair, School Psychology Department October 05, 2015

Arlene Silva, PhD, Chair, School Psychology Department

In today’s fast-paced and information-saturated culture, parents often juggle multiple responsibilities and demands on their time. One of the best gifts we can give our children is to spend quality time with them; this is more meaningful than the actual quantity of time we are able to spend together. Whether in our homes or in our schools, using positive language and praise can also help create a healthy environment for all.

Tips for Nurturing Healthy Children and Families

  • Let your children know what is expected of them using positive, age-appropriate language. Model desired behaviors. 
  • Praise your children frequently. Effective praise is specific, sincere, and can reinforce positive behavior when it is provided while (or soon after) the desired behavior is occurring.
  • Try not to over-schedule your children with lessons and activities. Encourage their athletic and creative interests, but not at the expense of rest or “down time.” 
  • Read to your younger children, and with your older children. Encourage your children to engage in creative, unstructured play. 
  • Set aside time to connect and communicate as a family on a regular basis. Consider putting aside electronic devices in order to be more present for each other. 
  • Help your children navigate disappointment and failure. Resist the urge to automatically make your child’s problem disappear; sometimes a struggle (accompanied by love and a safety net) can yield the greatest personal reward. 
  • Remember that children develop at their own pace, and differ in their strengths and weaknesses. However, if you are concerned about your child, the school psychologist or school counselor at your child’s school is available as a resource on social-emotional development. 
  • As challenging as it can sometimes feel, try not to neglect your own needs as parents. Set an example of healthy living for your children by exercising, going to bed at a reasonable hour, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining friendships and personal and/or professional interests. 

Parenting is hard work, and no parent gets it right all the time. By keeping some of these tips in mind on your parenting journey, you can help build a healthy foundation for your family.