It is probably safe to say that all parents would want their children to grow up happy, smart and confident. Education and well-being of their children are always of priority to most parents as we believe that these are the core foundations of a bright future.
As parents, we always tend to look forward 10, 20, 30 years from now and think of how our children’s lives would become especially when the time comes that we have to leave them behind. We all want our children to succeed in life and be a contributing, responsible, independent individual. Some would probably set higher goals, but most parents would just want their kids to have stable, less worrying future.
So if you’re a new parent, and you’re wondering how you could raise happy, positive and confident children, here are 10 ways you can raise happy, smart and confident children.
1. Walk the talk
Be the best example for your children. Kids may not be the perfect listeners but they are sure great imitators so make sure you are aware of the words you say or your behavior. Practice what you preach or don’t preach at all.
2. Don’t let yourself give in to stress
As much as we try not to show it, children know if their parents are stressed, tired and overworked. Whether it is caused by work or financial problem, etc., it is surprising how children can easily see if their parents are tired and stressed out.
Make sure you leave your problems at work in the office and never bring it home. Always make your children feel that they make you happy and they are your source of happiness.
3. Believe in your children
The greatest compliment you can give to a child is to believe in them and you care about their opinion. Don’t hesitate to express your admiration whenever you see something true, good and beautiful in the. And vice-versa, don’t hesitate to guide them and call them out whenever they do mistakes.
The simple act of believing that your child is capable and worthy makes a big difference. It gives them confidence and makes them feel qualified to do great things.
4. Praise your children for their effort
This is important because it teaches them to persevere and personal growth through hard work is possible. It also gives them a sense of “control” in their life.
However, don’t over-praise your children for no reason. Make sure your gestures of praise are warranted. When your child’s action is based only on rewards, the effort stops when the rewards stop. This would mean that they won’t be able to perform well when you’re not around.
5. Read with your children. Don’t read to them.
Research shows that reading with your children can help build a child’s reading comprehension. Shared book reading is an effective vehicle for promoting early literacy. More importantly, it makes learning more fun.
6. Eat dinner together
Eating dinner together with the family can really make a difference. According to The Secrets of Happy Families, children who have regular family dinners do better every conceivable metric. “A recent wave of research shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, become depressed, and develop eating disorders.”
If your work schedule is a bit tight, make it a point to eat together as a family at least once a week.
7. Create reasonable rules and boundaries for your children.
It’s clear that children who tend to get in trouble mostly have parents who don’t set reasonable rules and boundaries.
Parents who are consistent in enforcing rules and boundaries are often the same parents who become the closest with their children. Make sure you set logical rules pertaining to key principles of influence, and explain why the rules are there. This should help strengthen and make your relationship with your children stronger.
Of course, don’t over-do the rules or make rules just for the sake of making rules. Parents that are too controlling raise children that are stifled and bored. These are the children that are most likely to rebel.
8. Let your children make healthy peer relationships.
The peer group your children associate with has an enormous effect on their long-term happiness and educational aspirations. As parents, we sometimes only talk to our children about peer pressure when it’s negative, but more often than not, it’s positive.
Living in a nice child-friendly neighborhood, going to highly rated schools, and making sure your children associate with the right peers can make a world of difference.
9. Make sure your children get enough sleep
According to the insightful book, NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children, missing an hour of sleep turns a sixth grader’s brain into that of a fourth grader. Even a loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to the loss of two years of cognitive development to the typical child.
10. Encourage your child to have a gratitude journal.
As documented in the book NurtureShock, “In one celebrated example, Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California at Davis, asked teenage students to keep a gratitude journal — over ten weeks, the young undergrads listed five things that had happened in the last week which they were thankful for. The results were surprisingly powerful — the students who kept the gratitude journal were 25% happier, were more optimistic about the future, and got sick less often during the controlled trial. They even got more exercise.”
Children who keep a gratitude journal are happier, more positive, and healthier. As soon as your child is old enough, help them start one.
In a Nutshell..
There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children. The best way to help your kids grow up to be responsible, happy and smart is to ensure that you have set up the perfect environment to do so. Encourage rather than command. Play with them and do activities with them, not make them do things for you.