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Make Nurturing Your Child Second Nature

When you nurture your children, you show them that you love and accept them. This helps them grow and develop. It also makes parents feel good, too.

You can nurture your child with smiles, hugs and kisses, words of encouragement, a back rub, making a favorite meal or just listening to them tell about their day. All of these behaviors are ways you show children love. But they aren't the only ways.

To help you remember others, think of the word SCALE. It stands for:

  • S - Support: This means giving your children physical and emotional support.
  • C - Caring: These are things you do every day to show affection, like making nutritious meals and helping them get the sleep they need.
  • A - Acceptance: This means showing them unconditional love.
  • L - Love: This includes all the ways you display physical and emotional attachment as the parent of your children.
  • E - Encouragement: Giving your children hope, courage and confidence.

If you can remember SCALE, you can find many ways to bring nurturing behaviors to teaching and discipline, as well as playtime and the daily routines. 
Let's Get Started
For some parents, nurturing come naturally. For others, it's not so easy. It may surprise you, but you probably do a lot of it already, especially if you practice your SCALEs every day. Here are some examples:

  • At mealtimes - With each nourishing breakfast, lunch or dinner you prepare, you show Caring. Smiling when your child sits down to eat demonstrates Support. Having your child set the table, clear the table when done or help with the dishes provides Encouragement.  And by complimenting children when they do well, you show Love, especially if you add a hug or kiss.
  • Anytime's a good time - When you talk and ask questions about what your child is playing or watching on TV, you show your child Support and Encouragement. And it lets you learn more about the things your children like to do and what they think about the things they hear and see.
  • Direct their success - Asking them to do things like turn off lights, feed pets and even help with other siblings are all ways for you to provide Encouragement, build confidence and give praise.
  • When you play - This is a great opportunity for parents to nurture in a way that feels more natural. Choose an activity you and your child can do together, like having a tea party, playing catch or enjoying a game of imagination like "house" or "superheroes." You also might suggest something you know your child likes.

This is only the beginning. With a little thought, you can find more ways to make nurturing a natural part of what you do every day as a parent. You'll quickly find that you are giving your children what they need to live happier, richer lives.