Raising healthy, happy and successful children is one of the biggest responsibilities you’ll ever have. And, no matter how many blogs and books you read and how many friends and family members you talk to, you will never find the magical, secret ingredient for raising a perfect child.
Every child is unique, so finding a one-size-fits-all solution for raising them is not the right way to approach parenting. However, there are tried and tested ways to raise a happy and healthy child, according to science. These following parenting tips are backed by research:
Live in the now, like kids do
Director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development in New York City, Tovah Klein, advises parents to get on a child’s level; this means that parents need to learn how to live in the moment like kids do. You shouldn’t solely think about the future.
This rings true when it comes to communication. Telling a child a clean, simple, unambiguous instruction, like “We need to leave for school. It’s time to get into the car.”, as opposed to a future action, like “It’s almost time for us to go.”, is more effective.
Match your child’s pace
Adults are so used to rushing all day. From rushing to avoid the traffic and running errands before you go home at night to putting food on the table in time, life is one mad rush for most of us. However, it is important to slow down and match your child’s pace. Make time for bedtime routines or an adventurous trip to the store, and turn tedious chores into something fun and meaningful for your child.
Raise polite children by being polite
If you want to raise a polite child, you need to lead by example. Your child will model your polite behaviours, according to Klein.
Help your child determine how they feel
Very young children, between the ages of 2 and 5, are learning how to understand emotions, such as sadness, disappointment, fear, happiness, confusion, etc. However, they lack the vocabulary they need to label their emotions, so you can help them by naming the emotions they are feeling when you see them.
Engage with your kids properly
It’s tempting to check Facebook notifications or open your emails while spending time with your child, but you should avoid such distractions. Your child may feel as though you’re not really there. Klein explains that children don’t need their parents’ attention every second of the day, but there are times you should give them your undivided attention.
Get shy children out of their comfort zones
Parents who shelter shy children too much may be setting them up for worsened anxiety disorders. According to a psychologist at New York University, Sandee McClowry, you should not encourage behavioral inhibition, but rather get your child out of their comfort zones, tactfully of course, without changing their character. In other words “it’s better to work with shyness than against it”.
Dads should be hands-on
Research proves that dads are just as good at parenting as moms are and they have a strong influence on their kid’s lives, according to sociologist at the University of Virginia, W. Brad Wilcox.
The way dads tend to play with their kids a little rougher than moms do helps kids learn to control their bodies and emotions; their hands-on style of playing with their kids encourages healthy risk-taking, which is beneficial to a kids’ long-term ambitions. The paternal relationship also gives a child the sense of protection, leading to fewer chances of abuse and assault.
Moms should have a close relationship with their sons
According to a study done back in 2010 published in the journal Child Development, boys who have a close relationship with their moms are less likely to act out. The study showed that boys need a secure attachment; they should feel as though they have a comforting secure base with their parents before venturing into the bigger world.
Another study in 2010 showed that a positive bond between a mom and son ensured better romantic relationships for the boy later on in life.
Let your child play
Time on the playground may be just as important for kids as time in the classroom. A researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, Sergio Pellis believes that “the experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain.” It is an organic way of learning and helps children learn how to regulate emotions, solve problems and make plans, preparing them for life.