Children’s Wellbeing – Are our kids alright?

One little word, so much power.

Why does this small word have so much power? Let’s look at how we use it and why our children do as well. NO. The word many of us dread to hear from our children and the word that so easily slips off our tongue when we are tired, distracted and under stress. This little word can be the cause of much unhappiness. Our children learn to use it because we do.

When babies and toddlers are starting their language journey they have been listening for a long time. They start to understand and then repeat the words they hear often. Very importantly they learn to repeat these sounds and words with the same emphasis and tone. Have you ever stopped and realised that something you just said sounds like your mother or father?

The word no is simple, one syllable and effective. As babies and toddlers start to assert their independence they learn that language is one of the many tools to use for this purpose. When used by babies and toddlers this one syllable can convey a need or want. It’s an immediate response to a situation or request where they may not yet have sufficiently developed language skills to use for the purpose. It is easy as an adult to over react to their use of the word no. It may help if instead we think about the need of babies and toddlers to practice skills over a long time before they are competent and proficient- and so with the word no.

When used by adults the word no can be a warning of danger, a protection and a control. It can save and it can help, it can set boundaries, it can be playful and it can be demanding. It can be submissive and it can be controlling. As adults we care and nurture, influence and support, respect, teach and guide our children but we do not have control over them. It pays to be mindful of using controlling and demanding language when talking with your children. Is your language demanding? Controlling?

Let’s look at an example of the power of a respectful request versus the power of a demand.
“Sunny, please come and sit here and eat your meal.”
“Sunny, get down and eat this now.”

Which one would you rather hear?
Food for thought ………..

Mary Digges *
MDR Education
Early Childhood Consultant for Angsana Education.
* Mary Digges is an early childhood teacher, lecturer, trainer, assessor and consultant in education and has long promoted bilingual and multilingual education. Mary has worked in Australia, Singapore and China.

Now, the use of the word NO with older children? – That’s another article. Until then you may be interested in further reading from these references.
Laura Markham, Child Psychologist, UK.


Dr Randy Cale, Psychologist, US


Raising Children, Australia: Building positive relationships with children


Wellbeing is a state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. It relates to our physical, mental and emotional health.

Our children observe us closely – to be the role models of wellbeing, promoting and displaying the qualities above for our children, we first need to look after ourselves. The Australian Institute of Family Studies says that Children’s social-emotional wellbeing is promoted when parents receive support to achieve and maintain good mental health, and to implement warm and consistent parenting practices, especially during difficult circumstances.

Difficult and changed circumstances: that sounds like what we have all experienced over this year. Are we looking after ourselves or just managing to negotiate our way through each day? Think about what we are doing to support our own wellbeing…Remember – the children are watching………

Pathways to wellbeing
• Look after yourself – staying active, eating healthy food, getting as much rest as you can
• Connect with your children – be present and value your time together
• Be active, share real time and experiences
• Take notice – “read” their feelings and observe their thinking and actions
• Learn together, communicate with each other
• Share your genuine, unhurried time and support – children need you when they need you, but the good news is it’s a two-way street –what’s good for them is also good for you.

As parents we all wish for happy children who grow and learn to the best of their ability. Children’s level of wellbeing changes with development and growth and can be affected by changes in schools, family circumstances and notably by the continuing COVID19 conditions. For children of all ages, mental health and wellbeing is dependent on their social and emotional wellbeing.

Socially and emotionally competent children demonstrate confidence, persistence, and good communication, an ability to forge relationships with peers and adults and optimism in the real and digital space. Our role as parents is to support as best we can while juggling all the other demands of life. The schools are also doing their part to promote the wellbeing of all our children.

You may be interested in reading what the NSW Education website says about wellbeing….

If your child’s behaviour, eating or sleeping habits have changed, or is having difficulty at school or is unusually sad, consult your child’s teacher and the school as a first step.

Our children are resilient but need our presence, example, our health and wellbeing to thrive.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela


Mary Digges *
MDR Education
Early Childhood Consultant for Angsana Education.

* Mary Digges is an early childhood teacher, lecturer, trainer, assessor and consultant in education and has long promoted bilingual and multilingual education. Mary has worked in Australia, Singapore and China.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies:

https://aifs.gov.au/publications/childrens-social-emotional￾wellbeing#:~:text=Children’s%20social%2Demotional%20wellbeing%20is,practices%2C%20especiall y%20during%20difficult%20circumstances.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare:



The Wellbeing of Young Australians:

https://www.aracy.org.au/publications￾resources/command/download_file/id/125/filename/Report_Card_- _The_wellbeing_of_young_australians.pdf


Looking after your child’s wellbeing:



Parents Mental Health and Wellbeing



What are we worried about? October 2019


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