Every parent wants to raise good kids who are primed for success. But like eating leafy greens, prescriptions for achieving this goal often sound a little too much like work. Here are six ways you can resolve to teach your kids some key lessons about success while having fun together:
- Eat dinner together: Given our full work, school and activity schedules, eating together at night may seem impossible, but research shows children who regularly dine with their families reap all kinds of benefits—everything from better health to better grades. If it's just not possible to gather together every night, start with once or twice a week. And the family dinner doesn't have to be homemade, either. Bring in a takeout pizza, and we promise not to tell.1
- Make mealtime device-free time: Reacquaint yourself with the joy of live connection by making a rule: No phones, computers or other devices at mealtime. Focus on devices has reached the point that an increasing number of therapists are offering treatment for it. Children whose parents spend too much time on their phone often feel unappreciated. As for children who are hooked themselves, they may be anxious, have trouble concentrating or feel alienated from other people—including family members.2,3
- Get active together: Ditch the solo treadmill, get out the Frisbee and toss it around with your kids. Bad weather? Put on that old-time rock 'n' roll and dance in the family room.4
- Learn a new skill: It could be rock climbing or scuba diving. It could be how to make a piecrust or speak a foreign language ahead of a family vacation. It's not just the learning itself, but the act of identifying the goal—and agreeing on it—that will bring family members together.5
- Save for a goal, then celebrate its achievement: Your goal could be something as modest as buying a board game, or as ambitious as getting season passes to an amusement park. Once you have set your goal, figure out how much to save each week, how much each family member will contribute and where you will source the money. Mom gives up two lattes? Son packs his lunch? The shared sacrifice and pleasure of success will help kids learn the value of money.
- Support a favorite cause: Make a list of non-profit organizations or causes you like, find a way to help and schedule action. You might participate in a fundraising walk or bike ride, volunteer at a food bank or collect used blankets and towels for an animal shelter. Again, it's not just about the activity or even the good you do, it's about the shared goal-setting that brings family members together while imparting important life lessons.6
For more ideas about parenting for success, visit New York Life.com.
1 Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school, The Atlantic,Cody Delistraty, June, 2014.https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/
2 BBC Digital Intervention: Alina Dizik, April 2017. http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170417-the-addiction-thats-worse-than-alcohol-or-drug-abuse
3 Many Kids Feel 'Unimportant' When Parents Are Distracted By Smartphones, Survey Says, July 13, 2015 by Caroline Bologna. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kids-notice-parents-screen-addiction_us_55a3e15ae4b0ecec71bc74e4
4 Popsugar: Make 2017 Your Family's Best Year Yet with This 14-Day Plan January 1, 2017 by Rebecca Gruber. https://www.popsugar.com/moms/New-Year-Resolutions-Families-36290115
5 Seattle's Child: It's Never Too Late to Learn Something New By Rebecca Mongrain Aug 21, 2017. http://www.seattleschild.com/Its-Never-Too-Late-to-Learn-Something-New/
6 Parenting Magazine: 9 Ideas for Volunteering By Karen Bantuveris of VolunteerSpot.com. http://www.parenting.com/article/volunteering-children
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