There are 40 developmental assets that every child needs to succeed. These include both internal and external influences; Support, Empowerment, Boundaries & Expectations and Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies and Positive Identity. Here are some examples of the many things you can do with your child to help develop these internal and external assets. Some are really simple and can be achieved on a daily basis, others will be ongoing and still others might be difficult on the part of the parent who may not have much experience in that particular area. The idea is to work on these assets daily with your child to help build a foundation of the attributes needed to thrive in the future.
- Support: Read to your child at bedtime every night. If you cannot be with your child at bedtime carve out a specific time every day to encourage this routine. Share your positive emotions toward your child daily. Talk honestly and positively about subjects that may be difficult to talk about. Be demonstrative by giving big hugs and showing you are not afraid to show affection.
- Empowerment: Help your child work though her fears or self-doubts. Do things with your child not for her. Encourage your child to do things that make him or her laugh or shine on their own.
- Boundaries & Expectations: Be consistent in your actions as a parent. Explain the whys as well as the why-nots when setting limits and determining consequences. Model your behavior to exemplify what you expect from your child.
- Constructive Use of Time: Balance your child’s unsupervised time at home with age and comfort level. Play outdoor games and board games weekly if not daily with your child. Encourage physical activity as much as possible every day. Set aside at least a ½ hour a day to devote to reading either out loud with your child or independently. Volunteer at your child’s school to encourage child participation.
- Commitment to Learning: Share stories of your childhood school days (even the bad ones!) Visit your local library often. Have books in your home to show they are of value. Share the books you are reading with your child to encourage lifelong learning.
- Positive Values: Assess the values that you live by. Are they the values that you would like to see your child emulate? Surround yourself with people who share your values and truly act on those values.
- Social Competencies: Spend time with extended family. Seek opportunities to interact with people from different cultural, economic and social backgrounds. Encourage your child to interact with others regardless of differences.
- Positive Identity: Talk about your family history. Encourage curiosity so your child feels comfortable asking questions. Communicate the positive things happening in your life and avoid comparisons with other children. Girls in particular need help seeing and believing in their self-worth.
Your Family: Using Simple Wisdom in Raising Your Children, The Search Institute