Children's physical and mental health matters most, UK parents confirm
Today's parental priorities are revealed among new research, commissioned by leading life insurance specialists.
Collaborating with Parenting Coach Anisa Lewis, Beagle Street offers guidance to young families looking to positively impact their children’s wellbeingThat is because over two thirds (68 per cent) of parents of rising fives are worried about their kids' future.
Good physical health (62 per cent), positive mental health (52 per cent) and family stability (42 per cent) are the most important factors among families.
Making happy memories (42 per cent) and enjoying a settled home (41 per cent) are also among the top five most important life factors.
Almost two fifths (39 per cent) of Brits confirm the current cost of living crisis makes them unable to take their children on days out and holidays due to lack of funds.
Such stats suggest more needs to be done to help guide families to best achieve life goals and create happy memories with little ones.
Parenting has grown and matured over the years and our understanding of good health goes beyond getting our kids through coughs and colds or trying to avoid them altogether.
Keeping your kids and families active, and embracing being outside is a wonderful way to promote good health.
Movement such as park visits, along with bike or skate parks, walks in nature (that have added benefits that go beyond physical fitness) and perhaps learning a new skill together with your kids all help to promote good health.
The mind will believe what you tell it, so to foster a positive mindset not only as parents but in our young people we need to be giving the mind the right messages.
Negative self-talk can be combated in part by reframing thoughts more positively, such as affirmations. Or simply telling your child what you do want them to do rather than what you don’t.
All families are different and, no matter how your family looks, you can support family stability by nurturing your child’s emotions, acknowledging how they are feeling, and letting them know how you feel. We are often too quick to tell our kids not to feel or to diminish something that’s true for them.
By using "I feel" statements, for example "I feel hurt when you speak to me like that" you can foster stability for your family knowing that you are all trying to understand each other better.
Creating a settled home environment
Children love boundaries and routines. They like to know where they stand and where their place is in the home.
What do your morning and evening routines with your kids look like? Is there room for improvement or is everything running smoothly?
In addition to setting up a rhythm and flow to your home, praise is a powerful tool to help our children to feel settled and noticed, praise often, praise meaningfully, and praise the process rather than just the result.
This is such a lovely one for families, it needn’t be expensive or time-consuming. On a fundamental level, our children simply want our time, for us to be present. Put the phone away and teach them to cook a meal.
Snuggle on the sofa whilst they are watching something, sit down with the kids and brainstorm things they would like to do, and put all the ideas (that work for your family) into a jar and pull them out or plan them in across the year to make sure they happen.
Tara Watson-Morgan, Deputy Manager of children’s charity The Old Quarry Adventure Playground, funded by likes of BBC Children In Need and The National Lottery, said: "Combining outdoor play, wholesome food, time, positive reinforcement, an adult that provides stability and, makes you feel safe, less time on screens and hands-on activities create a perfect recipe for a healthier, happier, and confident child.
“It is not things or extravagant experiences that provide children with happiness, it is being tucked up in a warm cosy bed, being read a bedtime story, having someone at home when you arrive back from school, or having someone to tell you they love you and are proud of you. An outlet for expression, taking risks, climbing, jumping, feeling free.
“And what’s great about most of this…its simple – it doesn’t cost anything to give children your time. There are of course instances where this isn’t possible for a parent to provide for many different reasons, it may be a grandparent, an aunt, neighbour, friend, teacher, family support worker, or in our case, a Playworker, that is able to offer this to a child. It takes a village to raise them…”
Beth Tait, Director of Marketing & Distribution at Beagle Street https://www.beaglestreet.com/, adds: “There are many organisations out there doing great work supporting families with young children and you should not hesitate or feel any shame in seeking help through difficult times.
“At Beagle Street, we are passionate about protecting the futures of young people and giving families one less thing to worry about.”