A guest post on How to Raise Great Kids
How to Raise Great Kids is a compilation of advice received from experts in various fields.
When I firstI read the 18 Powerful Parenting Lessons Infographic from Samara of Tiny Fry I headed over to Tiny Fry and found all this amazing expert advice. Samara has dedicated a section on Tiny Fry to the advice she’s gleaned from experts in various fields. I asked Samara if she would put together a post on the top things she’s learnt.
And, she said yes!
Thank you Samara for this incredible post. I’m working on these 10 things everyday or at least every time I remember that I am trying to do this.
How to Raise Great Kids
Most parents I know want to raise great kids. Unfortunately, kids don’t come with a manual. That would make things much easier, wouldn’t it? Until that day, we’re all just going to have to wing it and hope for the best.
But there are things parents can do to raise the best kids they can.
Here are a few of the best tips; they’re even backed up by science! And while not all of them are easy, they’re definitely worth it!
1. Teach Kids to Be Grateful
Researchers at Hofstra University say that children who are grateful tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives.
Grateful people tend to:
– have better relationships with others,
– do better in school,
– suffer less often from depression,
– be less materialistic,
– be filled with a desire to give back to the community.
How can you foster this gratefulness in your own child? Have them start a journal to help them “count their blessings.” When they keep track of things in their lives that they’re grateful for, they tend to be more optimistic and appreciative.
The biggest thing you can do as a parent, though, is just to model the kind of behavior you want your children to copy. Children will recognize it’s a nice way to move through the world.
2. Praise Their Efforts
Praise just feels good – no matter how old you are. When it comes to your kids, though, you have to learn the right type of praise to give.
According to experts, there are two main types of praise. They are:
- Personal – Personal praise is the way you praise your child for their natural abilities. It’s when you tell them how smart they are or how good they are at something. It’s often the way parents show affection.
- Effort-based – This kind of praise focuses on things your child can control, such as how much effort they put into a special project.
Can you guess which of the two you should be using?
If you guessed effort-based, you’re right!
When you praise a child for the things they are essentially born with, the personal praise, it can work to undercut their self-esteem. If they think they were just born naturally good at something, then they may think there’s no room for improvement and could make them hesitant to try new things. So, try to stick with the effort-based praise and you’ll empower them to reach for the stars!
3. Hug Your Child
Hugs are good for you. A great hug can make you feel better when you’re blue, can help you to celebrate a happy moment, or even reassure you when you’re not feeling confident.
Research has shown that a 20-second hug can help your child to be healthier, happier, smarter, irrepressible, and closer to you as their parent. The best thing about hugs? They’re unlimited. So hug your child more to reap the benefits for the both of you!
4. Teach Them to Be Empathetic
You know who doesn’t have empathy? Serial killers. And nobody wants to raise a serial killer – right? Well, teaching your children empathy is possibly one of the most important things you will do.
What is empathy?
It’s teaching your children to basically put themselves in the position of another person to under that person’s feelings and/or motivations. Empathy is what drives society and interpersonal relationships, so setting up your child with a strong understanding of it will pay off later in life through success in their careers, academics, and general life goals.
The best ways to teach empathy is to display it for you child. Let them watch you being compassionate and understanding toward other people. Create an environment of trust and acceptance in your home and make sure to find teachable moments when out and about with your kids to discuss the concept.
5. Be a Great Role Model
You’re not a perfect person, but you don’t have to be in order to teach great lessons to your child.
Being a positive role model for your child means that they look to you in order to decide how they want to live their lives. Studies have shown that kids who have positive roles models in their lives have higher self-esteem and do better academically than those who don’t.
The best ways to be a positive role model for you kids is to keep the lines of communication open in your home. Do that, along with leading by example, and you will help to build your child’s to make better choices and have a better life.
6. Teach Emotional Intelligence
Many people want to shield their kids from the dangers of the outside world.
On some level, that seems to be instinctual – of course, you don’t want to expose them to the less savory parts of the world.
But, not helping them to grasp the realities of the world may impact their emotional intelligence. Kids can process the world around them more than we give them credit for. Helping your child to have a high emotional intelligence doesn’t mean you should purposefully expose your kids to bad things, but it does mean that you shouldn’t shy away from tough subjects when they ask.
7. Teach Them the Value of Money
Responsibility is an important thing to instill in a child and part of creating responsible adults is teaching your child about money.
You have to start early with your children to help them understand the concept of money and what it’s used for. Then you move on to larger lessons such as spending money on things they want versus things they need, and of course showing them how to deal with money through example.
Give your child an allowance or allow them to earn money through chores so they can begin to understand how it feels to have pocket money and begin making choices for how to spend it.
Reading to children is really important.
When you make books a part of their lives it helps them to have a stronger relationship with you, it encourages them to excel in school, and it helps them learn speech, encourages better communication and thinking skills, and makes reading fun – among many things. Start reading to your child early and read to them often.
Volunteering with your children has a ton of benefits.
Chief among them is that you are doing what has been previously talked about here – you’re leading by example. You’re showing your child compassion and empathy – and you’re also helping them to be healthier mentally and physically. It may even help their academic performance!
So find a volunteer activity you can do together as a family and let the emotional growth and good feelings begin!
10. Show Them How to See the Big Picture
Teaching your children to see the big picture helps them to be more successful in the world, encourages them to explore outside of their comfort zones as they yearn to know more, and makes them more interested in learning, which translates to more academic success.
So make sure you push your child to think and ask questions – it’ll help them in life.
These are just suggestions
Parenting isn’t easy and every child has unique needs. These tips are merely suggestions that you can use as a groundwork and tailor to fit the needs and interests of your own child.
Don’t worry – recognizing what you can do as a parent to raise great kids is half the battle! So, you’re on your way!
More about Samara
Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her computer, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their kids and their dog.