Here are ten habits that will help you raise a well-adjusted child.
We all want our kids to grow up to be kind, fun, and strong individuals, but the path to being an upstanding adult starts young. Very young. And there are a few habits that if you instill in your child early on, it’ll pay big dividends later in life.
Some of these habits are for the parent, and some of these habits are for the child. We’ll start with the parent’s habits, as they’re a lot easier to get down. It’s hard enough getting kids to sit still long enough for a family picture, so trying to teach your child habits without first addressing your own is just doomed to failure.
To start, set clear boundaries for your child. That’s easier said than done for many kids, but it’s important for kids to know and accept boundaries, even at a young age. Constantly giving in to your child’s demands will do them no favors now, or years later when they head to school for the first time.
Routines are another habit that a parent can set to really help a child stay grounded. Even kids that seem fine with whatever life throws at them can benefit from simple routines, like always eating dinner at a certain time or always getting to read their favorite bedtime story.
Which brings us to our third habit: read to your kids! According to Amy Joyce, parenting writer, “Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world.”
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Fourth and fifth should be no-brainers, but they bare repeating: play with your kids and hug them lots. Hugs cause an immediate rush of oxytocin, the love chemical, and playing with your kids reinforces that familial bond and helps them interact with something other than a computer screen.
Now the hard part: the kids. There’s five habits that if you can instill in your child early will be a godsend later in life.
First is early bedtimes. Sleep is one of the most important things for a brain’s development, and plenty of rest is the only way to keep things on schedule. Outdoor time will also give your child plenty of sun which will acclimate them to the day-night cycle and also help them sleep early.
Next is empathy. Trying to teach your kids to see things from other perspectives is crucial to interact in today’s crazy world. According to Dr. Michele Borba, psychologist and parenting expert, “Empathy promotes kindness, prosocial behaviors, and moral courage, and it is an effective antidote to bullying, aggression, prejudice, and racism."
Chores are another thing that will get your kids ready for the world, as most of life is just one chore after another. They also teach kids how to delay gratification while also taking part in the day-to-day upkeep of the house.
And finally, music. There are countless studies that show the benefits of having your child learn something to do with music, whether that be singing or learning to play an instrument. Even just listening can be incredibly beneficial for a developing child’s brain.