All parents want their children to achieve success in the ‘big wide world’. Most parents will remember the ache they felt as they walked away from their child on that first day of day-care or school. That feeling as you looked back to see them sitting with a group of their peers, their eyes wide as they watched you walk away.
Will they cope without you? Will someone be mean to them? Will they find a friend?
We all want to give our children the best opportunity to succeed and to do this we need to equip them with the skills they need to grow into responsible, caring and productive members of society.
Unfortunately there is no magic wand we can wave over children to help them to attain this goal, but there are things you can do to ensure your child ventures out into the world feeling secure, loved and confident. That is the best start you can give them!
- Firstly you must believe in your kids. Have high expectations of them – let them try things for themselves. Show them that you are confident in their ability to do things (even if you’re not!).
- Model good social skills. Be fair, courteous and kind to them. You can’t expect them to show these qualities if you don’t show them how through your actions.
- Be a friend to your child and invite their friends over to play. Befriend your child’s friends and have an open-house policy – this allows you to see your child in a smaller social setting and gives you the opportunity to discuss sharing and caring.
- Spend quality time with your child doing things that you both enjoy. Listen to them and show an interest in their opinions.
- Stop stressing about things that don’t matter and play with your kids. They won’t remember if the carpet wasn’t vacuumed every day, but they will remember trips to the park or making cakes in the kitchen.
- Give praise where praise is due. It’s okay to tell them when they haven’t done something as well as they could because you don’t want them to have unreal expectations of their own ability. At the same time, however, always remember that it’s not what they’ve achieved but how hard they tried to achieve it.
- Show them that you value education. Never say things like, “I was never good at maths” or “I always hated school.” Let them see that you enjoy reading, that you strive to learn and that you believe education is a wonderful thing. They are more likely to go onto Higher Education if you show them that it is something that you value.
Lastly, mix all this with a good dollop of love, hugs and laughter (and a bit of good luck!)