As a parent I strive to give my kids the very best. As most parents, I tend to do a lot of hand holding which might seem like a good thing but sometimes I wonder, is it really? I am proud to be a father to 3 kids. Two boys and a girl. My eyes open wide when I see them doing something amazing and also when they are doing something they aren’t supposed to.
I’ve Googled, like most parents do, how to raise my kids right. I’ve read books and spoken with other parents. I do this because I know I am not perfect. To be a great parent you need to be willing to have a tremendous amount of patience, understanding and the willingness to let kids be kids. I sometimes forget that part.
So in this blog post my goal is to share my opinion on how to raise kids.
The basics are easy. Provide the essentials. Food, Water, Clothing & Shelter are the essentials but parenting goes way beyond the essentials. Let’s break down the essentials.
- Food & Water – It’s easy to get caught up in your busy day but quality food should always be a priority. Ideally you should feed your kids Organic or All Natural Foods that won’t harm their system. Also make sure they aren’t drinking too many sugary drinks. They should have mostly water. Limit junk food as much as possible and if you do eat a lot of snacks and deserts, then try and have them of the natural variety. Moderation is always important. Note: My better half tends to laugh at me when I measure out the healthy food perfectly but forget to measure the ice cream portion that I give myself.
- Clothing – This is simple, dress your kids appropriately. If they are going to the park, have them wear sneakers, if they are going to a major event, then nice shoes. Remember, kids are naturally careless so it is wise not to have them wear clothing that costs as much as your suits or evening gowns.
- Shelter – There’s no place like home! Just make sure your home is clean and toxic free. Get your home tested for Lead. Use a Faucet Water Filter to eliminate harmful elements from your water. Get an air filter to ensure you have good quality air to breathe.
Now on to the Advanced stuff like exercise, electronics, study time & honesty.
- Exercise – Kids barely get a fraction of the exercise that they should. Ideally kids should get anywhere from 30 mins to an hour of exercise per day. I don’t mean heading to your local gym and turning them into the next Mr or Mrs Olympian but have them ride a bike, or run around outside. Take them to your local park that maybe has a track and challenge them to a race. Go roller blading or swimming with them. Enroll them in something like baseball, football, soccer, hockey, martial arts, ballet or dance. Just as long as they are staying active. Don’t let price or time be a factor. There are free to low cost options and the time you spend with your kids is priceless.
- Electronics – This is one of the toughest aspects of modern day parenting. Kids are trained from early on to play with electronics. Parents including me, end up buying high tech gadgets like the iPod or iPad for their kids. This might seem like a good idea but studies have shown that too much time in front of an electronic is not good for the brain. Now I sound like my mom when she always told me “Don’t sit too close to the tv or the tv rots your brains!” lol. Did you know that Steve Jobs was a low tech parents? The NY Times wrote an article about it. Here is a snippet from that article “So, your kids must love the iPad?” Steve Jobs replied “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” Here is a link to the article Click Here
- Study Time – Kids should study in chunks of time. 15 minutes here and there add up and aren’t as overwhelming as 1 Full hour. Make sure they read books at level and do math. The math is extremely important because while most parents find it easy to have their kids sit and read a book, the math part seems to get neglected. If you aren’t strong in math then your best friend is YouTube. There you will find a bunch of channels dedicated to teaching kids math in a fun and easy to understand way.
- Honesty – Kids tend to lie a lot. It doesn’t mean they are bad. It just has to do with self preservation and their creativity/imagination. The NY Daily News actually ran a story about kids that lie and their level of intelligence. Read It Here This is a quick snippet “Lying, which requires the brain to manipulate information, is associated with brain regions that permit higher-order thinking. It’s also very common: some 20 percent of 2-year-olds lie, nearly 50 percent of 3-year-olds lie, and close to 90 percent of kids lie at age 4. The most deceitful age of all, says The Telegraph, is 12, when almost every kid tells fibs, and by the age of 16, lying starts to decrease. Just 70 percent of 16-year-olds lie.” It is our job as parents to teach our kids to be honest. To value the truth. Make sure you talk calmly with your kids and let them know that they can speak openly with you. Also be prepared to punish your kids if they are caught lying.
Parenting – Next Level Stuff
Now you’re ready for the next level stuff!
- Eat at the Table – Spend time eating with your kids. This will help develop bonds.
- Family Game Night – Play chess, scrabble, monopoly and other thinking games with your kids. This will help you to develop even stronger bonds with them and also help to shape their brains.
- Value Money – Money doesn’t grow on trees. So your kids should be taught the value of a dollar. If old enough, have them do chores and give them a reasonable allowance. Then have them start buying things with their allowance so they can see how easily money earned can be spent.
- Next Level Learning – Have your kids learn to code. Coding is a skill that will prove to be extremely valuable especially when there is going to be a shortage of coders in the near future. Also have your kids learn to draw since this will help them with their creativity. You should also have them learn to play an instrument and learn another language.
- Giving Back – It is also a good idea to have your kids volunteer at a local charity. Maybe it’s a Senior Center or Food Pantry. The goal is to raise your kids with the mind set that giving back can be as rewarding as receiving. Now days kids have a sense of entitlement and we need to combat that with charitable giving.
Being a Parent is one of the toughest jobs a person will ever have but it is also the most rewarding. We have the opportunity to raise amazing kids to be even more amazing adults. Our kids should be more than a reflection of us, they should be a better version of us.
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