Advice from a Pediatric Therapist Cindy Ketron
As a pediatric therapist for more than 30 years, I have come up with a list of what I believe kids need and don’t need. I wish I could have a do-over on a few of these.
What kids don’t need:
1. Cell phones when they’re in grade school. Over the years, I cannot tell you one good thing that can come from this.
2. Unlimited access to social media. There is very little that is healthy on social media for children and it is getting worse.
3. So many toys that they can’t even think of something to want at birthday or holiday times. Too much of anything leaves children unable to be full. They become like buckets with holes in them.
4. Televisions in their rooms. Rooms are for sleeping. Good sleep hygiene is a dying art for too many children.
5. To be able to control the emotional climate of the home. Moody kids should not be allowed to hold the whole house hostage. If a child wants to be moody, he can go to his room and be moody by himself. Everyone else need not suffer.
6. Too much indoor time. Our kids have become hermits with social media and high tech games. It is ruining their social skills. It’s also taking a toll on their physical well-being.
7. Too many activities outside of school. No wonder this generation is so anxiety-ridden. They are overloaded. If we want to teach them to take care of themselves as they age, we must teach them to do that by our example and by limiting their extracurricular activities. Scripture even recognizes the need to rest.
8. To be able to disrespect any authority. Even authority that you as a parent dislike or the child dislikes should still be respected. There will always be an authority in your child’s life even when your child is 50.
9. To always call the shots. Children who get to always choose where to eat, where to play, and what the family does end up being brats.
10. Constant approval and pats on the back. You will not always be around to do this. Children need to learn to be proud of themselves when they do something good whether anyone tells them or not.
What children do need:
I. Rest. They play hard. Their bodies need rest to grow and develop.
2. Uninterrupted family time. The most important people to a child are those under the same roof. Make family time purposeful and protected.
3. Outdoor play time where they can explore and create. All kids need free time to imagine.
4. Rules and expectations. Be clear. Be concise. And don’t be afraid to give them.
5. Consistent discipline. If a rule is broken, a child needs to know what to expect. All fear is not a bad thing. There is a fear that can represent respect.
6. Parents who love them and love each other. Security begins here.
7. For you as a parent to say “no” sometimes. Your child does not need a lollipop or a new shirt every time you go to Walmart.
8. Hugs. Physical touch affects the development of children.
9. The ability to share their feelings about anything as long as they are respectful.
10. The most precious gift that a parent can give any child is to demonstrate a personal relationship with God and consistently teach that child through your actions what having faith in God really means. In the toughest times of their lives, they will learn in large part to rely on God by the example you display for them.