Raising kids is part instinct, part trial and error, part learning, and very hard work. When you look at your three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, can you see what they’ll be like at age eighteen, or twenty-seven, or forty-three? Will they have everything they need to live happy and healthy lives?
The following practical skills will help your children receive the best start in life and go on to succeed.
In an increasingly uncertain world, where huge corporations and high profile celebrities get away with behaving badly, how can we teach our kids kindness and compassion? The first place to start is with you. There’s no point in teaching your kids a valuable lesson if you don’t model that behavior. So, if your child witnesses you being rude to a waitress or a friend, this sends a message that these actions are okay. Look at yourself first and think carefully about what you say and how you behave.
If your kids get embroiled in an argument encourage them to see the other point of view. Ask them how they think their friend felt when you said that. Teach them empathy and understanding.
Encourage your kids to share their toys with siblings and friends. Talk to them about other children who may be less lucky than them. Suggest that they donate some of their unwanted toys to a good cause. Sites like todaysparent.com provide lots of advice in this area.
In school your kids may learn about Pythagoras and geometry, but how well do they know about managing finances? When they go to college, how will they know to spread out their incomings rather than blowing them on boozy nights out? And how will they navigate buying a home, paying the bills, and making their paychecks last?
Knowing how to manages finances is an essential skill and can be the difference between living simply and practically and feeling miserable and stressed due to debt.
As with all lessons, this begins in the home. If your child demands toys or sweets at the supermarket, kindly but firmly decline. Explain that it’s not possible to have everything you want all of the time, and that money must be managed carefully.
Keep your own finances in check and find ways to cut costs, save money, and use coupons, etc. to get the best deals. Sites like forum.DontPayFull.com have lots of useful tips. Be open about how you manage your funds with your kids and teach them about shopping around and making a budget go further.
Possessing a good work ethic is something that kids can work on from a very young age. As soon as possible, insist that your children tidy their own toys away. If they make a mess, show them how to clean it up but get them involved.
When your children are old enough provide them with an allowance. However, explain that this is dependant on them helping out around the house. If they don’t do their chores, they don’t get their allowance. If there’s a toy or something they want, encourage them to save for it.
When they’re old enough, talk to them about getting a part-time or Saturday job. Even a newspaper delivery route will teach them valuable lessons about timekeeping, politeness, pride in their work, etc.
This is not a definitive list by any means. But these three skills will support your children through their lives. And will help them to thrive.