In the words of Aristotle, excellence isn’t an act, it’s a habit. This is true for us, and it’s certainly true for our kids. We all want our children to go on to bigger and better things than us, but helping them on towards these can feel like one big mystery. It’s true that certain things are outside our control, like how affluent a neighbourhood we raise our children in. However, there are certain good habits all parents can get into, that have been shown to have a tangible, positive effect on our kids’ future. Here’s a list of ones you should try to adopt.
Make them Do Chores
We thought we’d start this off with the most welcome advice! Getting your kids to take out the rubbish, wash the dishes, and mow the lawn aren’t just ways you can make your life easier; they’ll have a major benefit on your kids’ lives as well. When chores around the house become a regular habit for your kids, they’ll quickly realize that by putting in work, they get things done, and the harder they work, the sooner they see results. It’s a very simple concept, but it’s also the foundation of self-discipline. It may be hard to get them helping out around the house if you’ve been fairly soft on them so far, but once they’re used to it, it will develop an attitude that will help them through their whole life.
Teach Them Social Skills
If you’ve ever worked with anyone who was especially socially awkward, it will come as no surprise to you that kids with good social skills generally turn out to be more successful in later life. At every stage in our life, it’s important to be able to cooperate with our peers, be helpful to other people, pick up on their feelings, and resolve issues in a team environment. Even though social skills aren’t strictly necessary to academic achievement, they certainly are when you get into full-time work and start carving out a career.
Establish, and Demonstrate, High Educational Expectations
This is really two separate points, but they’re closely related. Many studies have shown that parents who have completed their education and have a history of high achievement are much more likely to have kids that are high achievers. Even if you coasted through your education, you can still set high expectations. It will just be harder, statistically anyway, to guide your kids towards big things. Start taking an active interest in your child’s education. Aside from helping them with homework and asking them about goings on at school, look into local museum exhibits that will help them out, computing school tours, extracurricular classes, and anything else that will support their academic achievement. Try to start this as early as possible. The older they get, the less they’ll like you looking over their shoulder all the time!
Teach Them How to Develop Good Relationships
This can wait for a while when you first become a parent, but it needs to be considered sooner or later. Every parent is going to do what needs to be done to provide their child with basic comforts, but it’s also very important to ensure they have good relationships with both of their parents, their peers at school, and their siblings. Studies have shown that it’s much more important for a child to grow up with minimal conflict with their siblings and peers than it is to grow up with parents who stay together. It can be hard to neutralize family fallouts from time to time, but this needs to be a priority for you, especially when your children are still young. When children are cared for with emotional sensitivity and conflict avoidance, they tend to do better at school, and have healthier relationships in adult life.
Get Them Into Maths as Early as Possible
Credit: Max Pixel
You’ve probably heard that it’s very important to read to your kids when they’re young, and this still holds true. However, business arenas are constantly changing, and these days, logical reasoning skills are much more important to a career than the breadth of your vocabulary. Getting your children into math will make it easier for them to tackle academic subjects that will help them develop more desirable skills; think sciences over arts. Aside from that, it will give them a head start to managing their personal finances, which is an extremely important skill to develop in early life. Even if your child grows up and finds their passion is in arts and humanities, giving them a good start in maths will be a gift that keeps on giving.
Teach Them to Try, and Wean Them Off a Fear of Failure
If you’ve ever been at a talk headed by a management consultant, you may have heard about the difference between “growth mindsets” and “fixed mindsets”. While a lot of content in these talks is just common sense spoken eloquently, this is one principle you should certainly bear in mind! If you want to give your kids the brightest future possible, you should be nurturing a growth mindset. One of the key elements of this is seeing failure, which happens to everyone, as an opportunity to learn and develop yourself rather than a pure and simple defeat. It can be tough to convince a six-year old that losing a game with their siblings, or not getting the top prize in a competition at school, isn’t the end of the world. It’s also hard to calm some children’s nerves when they’re about to do something new and scary. However, with a little persistence, you can teach them to approach new challenges with courage and excitement, and to learn from their failures, rather than letting one little setback hang over their head and weigh them down.
Here you have some of the best parenting habits to set your children up for a bright future. Although some kids react better to certain stimulus more than others, forming some constructive habits can have an exceedingly positive impact on any child’s future success.
Note to oneself to try the above tips tonight!