Being a parent is no easy task. It takes a lot of work just to make sure that your kids are well looked after. Keeping them fed, warm, sheltered and safe. But that’s not everything that being a parent is about. It’s about being responsible for a little person and the big person you’re helping shape them to be. We all have our own priorities in life and we want to pass the things that are important to us on to our kid. If you’re wondering what else you should be considering teaching your kids, or how you might do it, then read on.
The big ‘R’. Try telling a teen that you’re teaching them about responsibility and they’ll roll their eyes. Or even think it’s a punishment. That tends to be the difficulty in giving kids chores as well. You need to show them the direct benefit. They need to understand that they’re showing their skills and how they cope with a situation. Playing the ‘big boy/girl’ card to convince them to do chores is one way. Another is by giving them more responsibility with the family pet. Teaching them to feed them and walk them themselves is easier to do, since most kids love owning pets in the first place.
There’s no ‘I’ in team, but personal responsibility plays a big part in it. Teamwork is hugely important in life. It will help them in school, college, work and interpersonal relationships. It’s about how they deal with other people and collaborate. If your kid is into team sports, use that as a way of teaching them. How they can find their roles in the team and contribute to an overall victory. You can even sweeten the deal with prizes like football trophies from Premier Trophies.
One step up from learning teamwork is learning leadership. It relies on a lot of the same knowledge of collaboration and responsibility. It adds a dash of confidence and vision. If you have more than one child, giving them responsibility to guide their younger sibling is a great way of teaching leadership. You also need to encourage their decision making skills. It’s important to teach that as early as possible since too many choices can overwhelm a child. Teach them how to weigh the pros and cons of a situation. They then use that deduction to make a focus for the team.
The drive that a kid learns in leading others is an important part of developing ambition. Note that by ambition we’re not talking about naked grabs for power and money. They’re a bit young to be making that mistake. It’s about teaching them to value their efforts as well as their achievements. This is another reason that it’s so important to support them if they’re into their sports. There’s also the capitalist venture side of things. The days of lemonade stands may be behind us as a culture. Rewarding children for giving that extra push is a good way to instil ambition to do better, however.
As a culture, we’re also heading into a crisis in our personal health. Weight is a growing problem, as is malnutrition and inactivity. Sports is a good way to kick start your kid’s health. However, even if they’re not into sports, you can find ways to make them healthier. Go on hikes with them and explore nature. Make sure your whole family has a healthy eating plan. Good health down the line is so often predetermined by the habits we learn when we’re younger. Start your kids journey with all the best habits instead of the worst ones.
Our time in this world isn’t all about what we can do for ourselves, however. At least, it shouldn’t be. We should all strive to be more compassionate and give a little bit more to our fellow man. In teaching children about compassion, it’s really about leading by example. You should treat them compassionately, yes, but show them how you do it for others, too. No matter how old they are, there are all kinds of volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in alongside your child. Teach them to view things from other perspectives and they’ll be a more decent person for it.
Linked to the ambition we talked about earlier, your kids need the diligence to work through the tasks life hands them. We talked about giving your kid chores, as well. A steady schedule where time is given to chores and homework is important. So is being there to help them. Note, we’re not talking about giving them solutions. We’re talking about helping them through understanding and getting over the process. Work ethic, much like a healthy lifestyle, is influenced by the habits we learn when we’re younger.
Honesty is valuable. Not only because you want to know what your kids are getting up to. You know full and well that deceit can lead to major trouble. A common approach to teaching honesty is through strict discipline. However, in some cases, that only creates sneakier kids. You need think of the situation not as a competition, but an opportunity to learn. If they do something wrong, they need to understand responsibility. However, they need to also learn from it, so you should be open to talk to. If your child fears telling you when they’ve done something wrong, that won’t create an honest child.
Raising a child is all about the different kind of values you teach them. It’s important that they realise the values of their own goals and how working hard can help them reach them. At the same time, it’s also important they learn that they are not the centre of the world. That teamwork and being compassionate to others can benefit them as well as others. You can’t guarantee an outcome with any of the lessons you teach your children. However, you do have more influence than any other teacher they will have in life, so take the role seriously.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.