If there is one thing that unites every parent, it’s wanting to bring up their children to be happy, healthy, content, fulfilled and productive. That’s the mark of a parenting job well-done. Sure, it would be great if they went on to be financially awesome or to leave them a healthy trust fund so they never have to experience how much debt sucks, but these are just bonus points. The real stuff – the great stuff – that’s what really counts. That’s what it means to prepare your child for a life well-lived full of happiness and success. It’s what lets us go to sleep at the end of the day thinking, “hmm, another day done of trying to be the best parent in the whole wide world.”
But that’s when the harsh realities of life start to settle in a bit because, every so often, we realize we’ve become a little lax on some of the super-important stuff we maybe need to give our kids, such as rules and guidance. We’re all guilty of it. We don’t do it on purpose, it’s just that it’s impossible to work hard to give your family the life they deserve and read up on how to be the best parent in the whole wide world at the same time, right?
Luckily for you, we’ve gone and done the legwork by reading all those child-rearing books you’ve thought about buying but never actually have, and we’ve pulled together the most celebrated tips and tricks we could find; scientifically proven ways to set your kids up for happiness and success in every aspect of their lives. Enjoy.
Up Sticks & Move To The Best Area You Can Afford
Location, location, location. You’ve heard it a million times (or maybe not a million, but at least twenty-times before). It’s just that you have always associated this with investing in real estate. Well, it’s also the best investment you can make for your kids, which is why you should move to that area with the best schools, the best career opportunities, the best place for them to grow up with other ambitious minds and a place where the right values are celebrated – education, self-belief, happiness, and achievement. There’s no other way of saying it, moving into a great area will give your entire family the biggest benefits you can imagine (better than getting them piano lessons after school or something like that).
Be The Happy Person You Want Them To Be
It’s no secret that being happy and less stressed is the secret to thriving in life. It’s also the secret to thriving as a parent. It’s simple when you think about it – as well as being backed up by science – but happy parents are way more likely to raise happy kids. Little ones mimic what we do. They take all their cues from us, so if you take care of yourself and your relationships, then so will they. The flip side of that is, if you’re stressed or unhappy then your kid’s may start to suffer a bit too. Basically, emotions are more contagious than a viral infection. Whatever you are feeling and putting out into the universe you’re kids are going to catch. Our advice: put out happy, stress-free vibes.
Chores Are The Unsung Heroes
As an adult, success stems from hard work and collaboration (which begs the question, why are kids made to do exams in silence and without talking!), which is where chores come in handy. Mowing the grass, folding the laundry, watering the houseplants, scrubbing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, taking out the rubbish and all that jazz is great becomes it assigns them chores and encourages them to work collaboratively to get things done efficiently. One kid washes while the other dries, that sort of thing. The other thing it teaches them is responsibility. Yes, you are raising kids, but you’re also raising adults. If they’re not doing the dishes, that means someone else is, which is not a helpful attitude for them to adopt because t not only absolves them of the work, it also stops them from learning that work has to be done and how we can all get involved to help one another.
Of all the virtues a kid can have, respect is at the top of the cherry tree for us. Tolerance, good manners, empathy, sympathy, listening, open-mindedness – they all stem from respect, which is why teaching your kid how to respect others is so good at ensuring they develop positive relationships with everyone around them. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, strangers, everyone. But it’s not just about respecting others, it’s respect for everything. A respect for authority will help them respect the law, according to nationally-recognized criminal defense attorney, Michelle Suskauer, while respect for themselves will help them become ambitious, determined and confident people according to best-selling author William Hunter Howell. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, being blessed with the virtue of respect is what creates successful humans. It always has and always will.
Underestimate The Family Ritual
The secret to thriving as an adult is being able to converse. It’s being able to thrive in social situations. It’s being able to work a room and speak to anybody no matter how powerful they may be or insecure they may seem. It’s about being able to chitter-chatter with others, and the best way to develop these social skills is with family rituals. That could be cooking meals together, barbecuing as a gang, having a game night once a week, going on evening walks together, running off on family vacations (or staycations) as often as possible and just doing things as a squad. If you really want to take this one step further and teach your offspring how to problem solve, you could even have really casual weekly meetings where you discuss what you loved, what you didn’t and what you could do better. Either way, you’ll find this is a great way to boost their social skills and that will carry them into the adult world with a massive head start.
High Expectations Work Wonders
This may be surprising, but the long-term goals we parents have for our children play a massively important part in predicting the success of your children, which is why the expectations you hold for each of your little ones will help them achieve the success you hoped for. It’s almost like you are able to build their self-esteem for them. By you believing they can achieve great things they start to believe in themselves more too and that’s what every parent wants to hear. We all want our children to develop and unwavering confidence that lets them go out and grab life with both hands. Chase their dreams. Believe nothing is unattainable for them. If you see college in their future, then they will start to see it too and that’s just the beginning.
I Wanna Praise You Like I Should
The worst thing you can do as a parent is thinking talent and skill is innate. That’s not going to help your kids in anyway whatsoever. Instead, you should adopt a sort of growth mindset where talent and growth can be developed over time and improved with time, effort and practice. This is just because it sounds all nice and lovely and whatnot. It’s because it’s true, and it can be applied to the way you praise your children. It’s so small it can often be overlooked, but the next time your kid does really well at something – gets a great score in a science pop quiz or wins a trophy for Lacrosse or something – don’t praise their talent or skill, praise their hard work, perseverance and effort. Let them know that their achievements stemmed from trying to do well and that working hard pays off. It’s such a minute difference, but the difference between complimenting your kid's innate qualities can have a big impact on their confidence in the long-run. It can stop them from trying when they don’t get something right the very first time. Praise their effort on the other hand and you’ll find their confidence takes off with more gusto than a SpaceX rocket launch.
A Nice Big Dollop of Healthiness
Ahhh, healthy habits, you beautiful thing you. Not just for kids, but for adults too. That said, having healthy habits as an adult starts with having boundaries as a kid. It’s encouraging kids to have a bedtime and get plenty of sleep, to understand how delicious and nutritious healthy foods are and why it is so epic to stay active. Sitting inside all day every day playing video games while snacking on some sort of branded cheese puff is not going to do this. Send them outside to play instead. Have a fridge full of healthy foods and snacks instead of letting them gauge on fast food, make healthy dinners together, go on bike rides as a family and set aside some time write down everything you are grateful for as a unit. They’re all healthy habits to take into the world of adulthood.
Talk to me in the comments, please:
What words of wisdom would you add to this list?