'Making time exclusively for the child every day will convey to the young one that she is important to you,' says Bela Raj.
When interacting with a child, there are a few pointers that can work towards reducing stress in the child.
1. Listen to your youngster.
Children may find it difficult to say what it is that is bothering them.
They may go round and round before they come to the point.
It is necessary to give them a patient hearing, encouraging them to explain what seems to be the trouble.
Also, the simple act of identifying the problem will contribute a lot to managing it.
For example, let us imagine a situation where your young one comes to you in a state of fluster.
She tells you that she was hungry and she hadn't eaten breakfast properly.
Then she might talk about her friend who keeps getting hungry and keeps eating from her snack box.
After that she wants to know why there is no tomato ketchup in the fridge.
She may point to the stain on her dress and discuss ways of getting the stain off.
You say that you thought you had brought home a big bottle of ketchup yesterday.
The child complains that there never is anything in the fridge.
Finally, you discover that the little girl had gone to get ketchup for her sandwich and she dropped the bottle and broke it.
That was what was causing all the fluster.
2. Help your child to develop a good sense of self-esteem.
Give your youngster a patient listening when she needs it.
Making time exclusively for the child every day will convey to the young one that she is important to you.
The quantity of time spent is not important.
What matters is the quality of time.
Even an hour every day well spent, where the adult refuses phone calls and has others attend to doorbells, convey a sense of security and peace to the child.
This works on many levels.
If the child has a problem, they know that they have the opportunity to share that with you.
Sometimes with children, half the problem in communicating with the parent is because they are afraid that they will not get a proper hearing.
This one-hour window provides that opportunity to the child.
Self-esteem is covered in detail in the next chapter.
3. Do not judge your child at every step.
No human being likes to constantly be criticized for his or her decisions and actions.
A youngster may have her own logic about determining her course of action, so it is necessary to understand that first, before making any judgement call.
Children often experience the inability to control an impulse.
They say something or do something inappropriate before they have had time to process its appropriateness.
This is a part of growing up.
Consider a situation where an 8-year-old little girl has thrown an expensive soft toy out of the window.
Before admonishing the child and telling her that she has no regard for her toys and possessions, try and understand why she threw the cuddly toy out of the window.
There could well be a valid reason.
In one case, the child explained to her mother that she threw the toy out of the window because she saw a very sad and lonely child on the ground and she wanted to cheer him up.
While the method may or may not be the best, there can be no doubt about the nobility of the intention.
She must be lauded for the way she had thought and the adult could probably discuss with her as to what can be done to cheer up sad and lonely children.
4. Make sure that boundaries are well explained and gently enforced.
Children, especially young ones, do not understand boundaries initially because they do not understand consequences to actions.
Boundaries act as guidelines for the children and help them learn social skills.
These boundaries help youngsters in building self-control and enable them to set limits for themselves.
However, before all this happens, children will test these limits and boundaries.
This upsets many adults but one needs to understand that this is how the young ones arrive at their own limits and boundaries.
While this might seem like a lengthy process, much of it happens automatically.
When the child is a teenager, however, they would have the tendency to ignore what the adult says and they would try and establish their own independence.
5. Talk to your child.
It could be about anything.
The simple act of engaging your young one in conversation, spending time, listening, discussing back and forth, indicates that the child is important to you and you value the time that you spend together, you value her views.
This will, for the future, allow your child to come and discuss things that may be very sensitive or traumatic and it gives the parent the opportunity to solve any kind of a problem with her.
It could be the simple act of watching a TV show together and then discussing the story, thinking about what would happen if some things changed in the storyline.
Such an engagement sends several messages to the youngster such as you value your child's opinion and you like spending time with your young one over doing other things.
A simple, small act like this would give a tremendous boost to the young person's well-being.
6. Reassure your child that it is okay to make mistakes.
Children are very often afraid of making mistakes.
It helps them to know that they can make a mistake and will not be judged for it.
This will then enable them to take risks and be adventurous in solving problems of any kind.
Making mistakes is a signal that the learner is trying.
A child who is very cautious in making a mistake will hesitate in trying something new.
7. Stay calm.
Children learn by imitation.
If there is a difficult situation, the behaviour of the adult will be a benchmark for the child in similar future situations.
Also, very importantly, how the adult behaves has an impact on the young one's perception of the seriousness of the situation.
If the adult panics, in all probability, the child will too.
If the grown-up is calm, the youngster will understand the situation as manageable.
*Images posted only for representational purposes.
Excerpted from Sparks Of Genius: How To Raise A Confident, Thinking Child by Bela Raj, with the kind permission of the publishers, Rupa Publications India.