There is no way around it-well-rounded children are a product of their environment. Children learn about the world through the behaviors of their friends, caregivers, and parents. These crucial role models help to shape their values and beliefs. As a result, it takes conscious effort and forethought to provide opportunities that expand their perspective.
Thankfully, you can benefit from the experience of others who have been through the process of child-rearing. Here are six secrets to raising well-rounded children:
1. Create a Caring Environment
You are your child’s best and most essential support system. If your career keeps you apart from your little one, invest your time in selecting the best quality childcare center possible. The ideal venue will share your values regarding how children should be raised and reinforce their efforts as they try new things.
2. Help Children Fall in Love with Reading
TV and movies can be great storytellers. However, nothing will spur the imagination and create a foundation for academic success like reading. In addition to helping with language development skills and vocabulary, reading can help children emotionally. One study in the United Kingdom found that 5-year-old children with parents who read to them daily had fewer behavioral problems than those whose parents did not.
3. Invest in your Marriage
It is now socially acceptable for parents to invest all their time and energy in their children, even at the expense of their marriage. Therapists warn that this destructive pattern can instill in children an unhealthy perspective on future relationships, and put families in a precarious position. Children find greater stability in an environment where the parents love and spend quality time with each other. Investing time in a happy, successful marriage is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your children.
4. Model the Importance of Friendships
A study of 250 6-year old boys found that fostering meaningful friendships was good for their mental, emotional and physical health. Children with even one good friend were better able to withstand stress, and less likely to participate in bullying. As adults, the commitment to friendships paid off in lower blood pressure and body weight. Providing opportunities for and encouraging your kids to make a wide range of friends is a vital ingredient in raising them to be healthy, functional adults.
5. Teach Healthy Body Image
Babies and toddlers are fascinated by what their bodies can do. Unfortunately, peers begin to sound off about weight, height, and athletic capabilities as early as elementary school, which can affect self-esteem and confidence. To help your child create a positive body image, teach them how to care for themselves through physical activity and diet. Ensure you provide positive reinforcement regarding their talents and good qualities, as well as their appearance, and strictly avoid negative comments about their bodies. Most importantly, be accepting of your own body.
6. Instill a Spirit of Volunteerism
As your family creates its own rituals, consider adding a practice of volunteering together, perhaps on the holidays. Not only will it create the opportunity to spend quality time together, but it will also offer children learning experiences and real-world opportunities to acquire new skills. Children can also gain self-esteem and self-satisfaction as well as a sense of civic responsibility.
Give your children the chance to become well-rounded adults by creating opportunities that will generate confidence and self-esteem. Children that have positive, healthy, loving behaviors modelled for them in the home, will inevitably come to reflect those values in their own behavior.