Brought to you by Disney Junior
Our children need our help to grow and develop into happy and healthy human beings. As they grow, it’s important to keep looking for ways to motivate and inspire our children to be the best they can be, and respond to their changing needs.
Teaching little people to look outside of themselves (and their little worlds) is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, you’re probably already doing it just by talking with them and sharing stories. You can build on that foundation with a few simple ideas that will help your child discover their goals, take control of their emotions and inspire their imagination.
These three simple activities won’t take long (or make much mess), and will set your child up for life.
Show them how to visualise with a Dream Board
Many adults set goals to stay on track and keep motivated in both their personal and professional lives. Your little ones are very good at knowing what they want (just ask them), and creating a Dream Board based on their goals and ideas can go a long way in teaching them about motivation and commitment.
Dream Boards are fun to create and fun to look at. Just grab a piece of cardboard or a cork board, give them some old magazines, scissors and glue or thumb tacks and let them include whatever pictures they want. Sure, you’ll inevitably get the odd picture of cupcakes or carsand you’d be surprised at what they come up with. Have a thick marker pen on hand to include powerful words or inspirational words as well.
You can help by suggesting the kids pick pictures of things that will encourage them to set short and long term goals, such as:
Things they want to do – do they want to learn guitar, try horse riding, or win the soccer competition?
Things they want to be – would they like to be a vet, have a family, be good at sports, and do they value traits like being happy or brave?
Where they want to go – find a favourite place, work out how they’ll get there, and what they want to try there.
And once they’re done, place their board somewhere they can see it every day, and let them add to or redo it when their dreams change.
Teach them how to be calm with meditation
Our children live in a world where their heads are often spinning from the amount of new information they are exposed to, but with some simple mediation you can help them develop their focus. They’ll find it easier to accept all the new information that comes their way, work out what they need to hang on to, and let go of the thoughts that they don’t like.
They’ll learn how to build their own inner place of safety that they can retreat to whenever they need. And if your child has problems with anger or being overwhelmed, then meditation can be even more useful in helping them take back control of their own emotions.
You don’t need to prepare much before you can start meditating with your child, in fact keeping it simple is a great idea.
Choose a special mat or spot in your home for meditation and let him make it his own with a special pillow or trinket
He doesn’t have to sit a certain way, but finding some way to focus can help to start calming his thoughts
Ask him to close his eyes and focus on what he can hear around him, or take his outside and get his to watch the clouds drift by
And don’t forget to remind him that just like noises or clouds, our thoughts and feelings pass us by as well.
Your children will be empowered to find their own focus and achieve the goals they set for themselves now, and as they grow into calm and considered adults.
Build their imagination as you read with them
Small children need to learn about the world around them so they can see what’s possible for their own dreams. By teaching your children to love books, you’re introducing them to a world of imagination where they can be or do anything they want, all in the safety and comfort of their own home.
Your child will love the one-on-one time with you, and you can start from as soon as he’s born (or even before). By helping your child become familiar with books, words and sounds you’re building the foundations for later on when he will be learning to read for himself.
There is virtually no preparation required for this activity – all you need to get started is a book and a comfy place to sit.
When he’s very young but able to use his fingers show him how to turn the page herself to give him ownership of her reading
There’s no ‘right’ way for her to read a book, and you can help her to recognise sounds and words by naming the things on the page
As he grows older you can explore more complex worlds and stories, ones that push his imagination, and inspire and excite her.
Don’t forget to talk about what you’ve read – ask her questions, how she feels about what has happened, and who was in the story.
Fostering a love of reading and books will give your little ones a pass to a world where they can realise their own potential and build their dreams anyway they like.
Record your children’s dreams
If your child can build a habit of doing the three things above, you’ll have set them up to achieve their dreams for life. We all want our children to succeed, but so much of what they achieve relies upon how they visualise and foster their own dreams.
Right now Disney Junior areencouraging parents to record your child’s dreams on video. It’s so important to make a record of what your little one wants to be and do because all too quickly we forget (and so do they!). If you take part in the Disney Junior competition, your child could also be in with a chance to appear on Disney Junior The Channel – now that’s a dream come true. Click here to find out what it’s all about.
Just remember, if you empower your kids with the ability to set goals, develop their focus and build their imagination, they’ll be able to achieve anything they set their mind to.