Building Trust with Little Ones

Building Trust with Little Ones

Be a Good Role Model:
Our actions are just as important as our words. It’s cliché, but so true. Emulate the trusting relationship you desire to have with your children. Keep your promises (as much as possible). For example, if I tell my child that we’re going to the park or getting ice cream, that’s what we do. If I’m unable to keep my word, I explain why, and I apologize.

And the same applies when disciplining your child(ren). Whatever you establish as the punishment, you should follow through with it.

Be Consistent:
Children need consistency. Establish a schedule with your little ones. There is trust in them knowing what to expect. They’re able to trust when dinner time, story time, or playtime will take place.

According to Parenting Educator, Andrea Loewen Nair, “When a child can trust things happen in a certain order, the brain can relax, staying out of fight-or-flight mode.”

Be Honest:
We have open conversations, appropriate for her level of understanding, about situations. Children understand more than we give them credit for. I am also honest about my feelings/emotions.

If I’m not having the best day, I let that be known as well. I will say, “Mommy is not having the best day because…”. The goal of this is to teach her to communicate and express herself freely. I want her to know that isn’t okay to not be perfect and that we all have shortcomings.

Be a Good Listener:
It can be hard to actively listen to imaginary stories or repeatedly answer the same questions. But these little conversations are so important. How we respond to their interest now will be the foundation for communication later in life. One day these conversations will be more meaningful. If we want them to come to us later, about the important things, we must be fully immersed now.

I try to give my child my full attention, make eye contact, and paraphrase what I’m hearing.

Be Reassuring:
Reassure your child(ren) that your love for them is unconditional. We praise our children when they are good and discipline them appropriately when they aren’t. But it’s important for them to know that we’ll always love them no matter what. They can come to us even when they haven’t been their best. And when they do, we (myself included) should try not to overreact or respond in a way that would damage a trusting relationship.

I can remember when my little one had an accident on herself. She came and told me on her own. I could tell she was afraid that she might get in trouble, so I used this as a teaching moment. I comforted her first and then went into the details of what happened. Children need to know that they can come to us in any situation.

Leave your tips below on ways you work to build/maintain trust with your little ones.

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