The ultimate goal of every parent is to see their kids excel in life and become successful at whatever they decide to become. We all strive for that goal to become better than yesterday and to handle the challenges of life with grace and ingenuity, so it is natural that we want the same for our children.
Of course, the approach which we use would definitely vary depending on what kind of personality our child has. But there are several habits that every parent can adopt, regardless of their children’s personalities.
Scientists have long focused on what makes a child become successful in the future and they have come to the conclusion that the habits of the parents play an enormous role in the way their children learn to approach life.
So, here are seven habits that parents of successful children possess:
1. Reading to them
Besides the fact that there is nothing sweeter than reading to your little bundle of joy (and thus bonding), research has shown that reading to your child from an early age gives them a “lasting literacy boost.”
On top of that, your children will start associating reading with the warm emotions they experienced when you read to them, and for that, they will love reading when they grow up. And reading for pleasure has benefits that last a lifetime, such as an increased intellectual progress, richer vocabulary, better spelling, and even better ability to solve mathematical problems.
2. Working outside the home
If you thought that your children need you every minute of the day, you might be surprised to know that they are, in fact, better off if you go to work. This especially goes to stay-at-home mothers, who with that approach leave their children the impression that women are made to do house chores and set their ambitions aside.
Researchers at Harvard Business School have found that children who were raised by working mothers had a different approach to life than those who were raised by stay-at-home moms.
Girls grow into women who are more likely to look for jobs and earn higher wages, while boys grow into men who contribute to the chores around the house and dedicate more attention to family members.
3. Limiting screen time
Longer exposure to screen time has devastating results on the undeveloped brain of the child. It has been found that spending too much time in front of screens impedes the child’s ability to focus, it disrupts their attention, and it hinders vocabulary and social skills.
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) has set some recommendations on how much screen time is healthy for your child depending on their age:
–Younger than 18 months: no screen use, except for video chatting.
–18 to 24 months: parents can introduce high-quality digital media and watch it together with their kids “to help them understand what they are seeing.”
–2 to 5 years: limit use to 1 hour per day; only high-quality digital media; watch it together “to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.”
–6 years and older: “Place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media” and do not allow it to take the place of behaviors essential to health, such as adequate sleep and physical activity.
You can create media-free zones in the house, such as the bedrooms, and set media-free hours, where you can socialize and discuss things that are of family and individual importance.
4. Making them do chores
In her 2015 TED talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims discusses how the successful adult participants in the Harvard Grant Study were the ones who did chores when they were children. Teaching your child to take responsibility for the everyday tasks from an early age is an important thing.
We have dedicated a whole article to this topic. You can read more about it here.
5. Delaying gratification
The thought that your child should be instantly rewarded for every little thing they do is something they will take for granted in life and something which will destroy them. Teaching your children to be patient and persistent in what they do will help them a lot in life.
A good example of what delaying gratification does to the individual’s potential for success is the famous marshmallow experiment. In it, children were given a marshmallow with the instruction that if they did not eat it while the researcher was gone, they would receive another one.
The children who managed to resist the temptation grew to be people who achieved higher results in education, had better social skills, and come out with a lower incidence of substance abuse.
The idea behind delayed gratification is that not everything you do must always show instant results. So, teach your children to adhere to constructive habits that they must accomplish every day to achieve a greater goal.
6. Letting them fail
The only failure is the one where we decide not to do anything because we are afraid of failure. In other words, only effort brings success, regardless of the primary outcome. And many parents fail to see that protecting their children from failure has fatal effects on their future success.
Letting your child fail has benefits for your children on several levels. Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, explains that “your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one.”
Letting your children fail will help them to learn to cope with such situations and truly experience what a challenge means. And the feeling of challenge will teach them to work hard and make efforts to make things better so as to avoid future failure. Teach your children that effort is more important than the outcome.
7. Encouraging them to travel
The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) has made a survey which analyzed the effects that travel had on students from around the U.S.
What they found was that travel impacted students in many vital personality aspects, such as:
-an increased willingness to know, learn, and explore more;
-increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence;
-increased intellectual curiosity;
-increased tolerance and respectfulness;
-better adaptability and sensitivity
-increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities
The benefits come regardless of whether the travel was domestic or international, with a difference in increased cultural tolerance and a greater boost in all aspects when the travel is international.
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