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Show and Tell
Monitoring Your Child’s World

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Keeping track of the who, what, where, when, and how of your child’s world is an easier task when children are young. However, it’s important to start early to ask your child and yourself the right questions so that “monitoring” doesn’t become a battle as your child grows. Here are some tips from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

  • Open the lines of communication when your child is young and keep those lines open. Communication is a two-way street. Talk openly about what you do when you and your child are not together and it becomes easier to ask about what your child does during the day.
  • Tell your child what thoughts and ideals you value and why. Say what you value, but remember to explain why. Your explanation can begin to make these values important to your child as well.
  • Know what your child is watching, reading, listening to, or playing. Electronic media has a major influence on all of our lives. Be sure you know what is influencing your child.
  • Get to know the people your child spends time with. Get to know your child’s teachers and friends at school. Those hours away from you are a major portion of your child’s day and these people are major influences.
  • Give direction without being rigid. Saying ”no” without an explanation can make your child want to do something even more. Consider the circumstances and possible options when making a decision.

Monitoring children is much easier when you keep the lines of communication open. Young children love routines. They like to know what’s going to happen, and they look forward to special times set aside each day to do something with their families.

Resources:

  • Monitoring your child’s contact with his or her surrounding world,” from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development gives parents excellent questions and strategies for monitoring the activities and friendships of young children.
    Note: “Adventures in Parenting” booklet from NIH has great tips and best practices for parents of children of all ages.

  • Monitoring for Your Child,” from the Activity Idea Place provides parents with tips for monitoring their child at preschool and school—checking in daily, observing weekly, asking questions, and participating in his or her life. The key is to be aware of your child’s activities.
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Updated on 4/9/2013