Trips & Falls…Your Reaction Matters!
Have you wondered how your response affects your child’s emotional development? In general, children are naturally curious especially when it comes to taking the first few steps. As a new parent, it is normal to cringe or tear up when you watch your little one fall. As your child explores their surrounding environment with the help of your hand, falls are bound to happen, on soft and hard grounds (i.e. grass, sand, concrete, rocks). The best part is you can support their walking through encouraging words. Positive encouragement goes a long way to strengthening your child’s perseverance to stand up and continue walking.
Learning to walk is a skill your young child will master over time, when your give your child hugs and lots of positive encouragement; you will soon find your child walking on their own! There are many ways of displaying positive encouragement; parents can express emotions in different ways, both verbal responses and with facial expressions. Some parents are familiar with comforting their child’s fall with their tone of voice (ex: “you’re okay sweetie”), using facial expression is another tactic you could also use. Facial expressions offer nonverbal responses including eye contact, smiles, and winks that are used to motivate your child to get back on their feet. Your facial expression and verbal response build their persistence and motivation to become independent walkers.
Persistence is a temperament trait that affects how we act and respond to life. Your child can have traits different from yours that may or may not complement in how we react to the challenge of learning to walk. Your child looks up for love and support as they learn to walk – verbal responses and facial expressions (positive encouragement) help them get back up when they fall. You are the best motivator for a child to persist in learning to walk!
Your positive encouragement helps your new walker to:
- Feel happy and excited about learning to walk
- Hear and recognize emotions as you say a positive verbal response (ex: I see you fell down, are you okay?)
- Build self-esteem and confidence qualities
DID YOU KNOW:
- Emotions help us recognize words quicker and more accurately
- A baby’s brain is one quarter the size of an adult
- On average, a baby will begin walking between 12 to 14 months (but every child is unique, so it could be earlier or later)
- When you provide encouragement with positive facial expression (ex: “You fell on the ground, you’re okay, now up you go and try again”)
- Your child will develop qualities such as self-esteem.
- When you play with your child and offer different facial expressions
- Your child will become aware of different emotions (i.e. happy, sad).