Children are not empty canvases that you paint with your own colors. They are independent beings. However, as parents, you can guide them through the process of making that painting themselves.
Your role is to help them find their own path and encourage them to follow their dreams, love themselves, appreciate life, respect others, and grow into kind, loving adults. You can encourage them to become the best versions of themselves.
Parents also play an important part in their children’s cognitive, socio-cultural, physical, mental, and spiritual development. Here are some tips that will help you help them reach their full potential.
Children are born curious. Parents and educators can encourage and nurture that curiosity or discourage and weaken it. Curious children are more eager to learn and more likely to perform better at school. But to encourage curiosity, you need to lead by example. Share your passions with them and inspire them to discover their own. Show them different viewpoints for various topics.
Take them to museums, galleries, book stores, botanical gardens, and the like. Travel together and introduce them to different cultures and lifestyles. Never dismiss their questions as stupid or illogical. Try to answer them or find someone who can give a better explanation.
Be Involved in Their Education
Academic success is important both for parents and children. Kids are more likely to perform well at school when their parents are involved in their education and consistently supportive.
Parent involvement starts at home. Establish a routine for reading, homework, discussion about school topics, but also for sleeping, which is an essential part of academic success. Foster a positive attitude about learning and school.
Try to make learning fun and engaging. There are different types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading & writing, and kinesthetic. Children are better learners once they find their preferred styles. Try out different styles with them and see which one is the most natural (and thus most effective) for them.
You should also keep track of their school work. Communicate with their teachers regularly. Be on top of their subjects and learning materials. Get to know the key details of the ISEB Common Pre-Test, Cognitive Abilities Test, and other exams they have, and help them practice.
Help Them Find Their Interests
Parents often unintentionally push their agenda on children. The pressure results in children pushing down their own sense of self to please their parents’ wishes and be someone who they think their parents will accept.
Instead of putting that kind of pressure on them, support your kids in choosing what interests them. Give them time and space to explore their interests. Allow them to try out an activity, even though you think they’ll give up on it soon. Sooner or later, they will find something they’ll want to stick to.
Help Them Identify Their Strengths
No human being is perfect, no student excels in every subject, and no kid performs well in every game. Instead of focusing on “weaknesses,” help your kids identify and focus on their strengths in different areas.
Ask them what they think are their best qualities. Make sure they don’t identify only the ones that reflect their outward appearance but also their personality. Focus also on their strengths in the educational process. If they are particularly good at math, praise their abilities and work on them specifically. If they have a speech or communication disorder, have them take speech therapy for toddlers to help them out.
At the same time, you’ll also need to identify the areas where they can improve. This can include academic success, social relationships, skills in sports, etc. Work together on concrete steps they can take to work on these matters.
Encourage Independent Problem-solving
Parents often feel they need to fix children’s problems for them. Of course, this is necessary for some bigger issues. However, micromanaging their steps and running to their rescue at the first sign of struggle can be harmful to their future. In their lives, kids will face numerous challenges, and you won’t always be there to help them. If they don’t master independence in problem-solving, they’ll be prone to giving up.
You can practice problem-solving together. Here’s how:
- Start by identifying a problem. It can be a challenge in a puzzle or homework, for example.
- Develop several possible solutions together.
- Assess the pros and cons of each solution.
- Choose one of the solutions and test it out.
Allow your kids to make their own mistakes and see the consequences.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
Kindness is a quality every person should aim for. Sadly, many people lack this quality, and very often, this is the result of their own parents not being kind to them. While it’s important to teach your kids to stand up for themselves, it is also crucial to teach them that they don’t know someone’s struggles and that kindness should be the first “tool” to reach for in difficult situations.
Talk to them about compassion, but stand behind your words. Talk to people who are alone and who look like they could use a helping hand. Charity work is a good way to practice what you preach. Make a seasonal practice of choosing toys or clothes to give to the less fortunate. Prepare food for the homeless or read to the elderly in nursing homes.
Along with kindness, this world needs more tolerance, too. Accepting people for who they are and respecting their views even if they are different from yours means accepting yourself as well. It’s all part of being the best version of yourself.
Children should be prepared to face things they don’t agree with or understand. That doesn’t mean those things are wrong. Practicing tolerance means accepting people and their viewpoints regardless of their gender, race, sexuality, etc.
Health as the Imperative of Wholesome Living
Health is the foundation of a wholesome life, and it is the basis for all the previous steps. Parents always prioritize their children’s health, but it’s important to teach kids to do the same. Teach your kids to value quality sleep, a balanced diet, and physical activity. Don’t forget about another essential element of health – mental wellbeing. This is particularly challenging in the time of the pandemic and cyberbullying.
The Bottom Line
It’s natural for parents to want all the best for their children. And with your support and guidance, your kids can do wonders. With patience and care, you can help them live up to their potential and become the best versions of themselves.