A parent’s greatest worry is that they are doing a good job and raising happy kids. There is SO MUCH parenting advice out there and it can be hard to know what is the best thing to do. Wouldn’t it be great to know the secret to successful parenting?
Well now, thanks to British research carried out over the last 70 years following over 70 000 children, we have the answers!
These longitudinal studies have been tracking 5 generations of children (called the British cohorts) and some consistent parenting traits have become very apparent in the making of happy and successful kids.
Fortunately for us they are pretty achievable things!!
1. Be engaged
This might sound like a no brainer but not every parent fully engages and connects with their child on a daily basis.
“Having engaged, interested parents in those first few years of life was strongly linked to children going on to do well at school later on,” explains Helen Pearson in her TED talk on studies findings. “In fact, quite small things that parents do are associated with good outcomes for children. Talking and listening to a child, responding to them warmly, teaching them their letters and numbers, taking them on trips and visits.”
Having and expressing ambitions for children also helped them them go on to be more successful in later life.
2. Instil a love of reading
Reading to your children has always be endorsed by experts as an important thing for their development. Daily reading supports literacy and communication skills, as well as developing imagination and critical thinking.
Furthermore, the longitudinal studies found that children who read for pleasure at the ages of five and 10 were more likely to go on to achieve better in assessments across a wide range of subjects than children who didn’t read for pleasure.
So get those books out!
3. Be consistent with bedtimes
We all know how important sleep is and the longitudinal studies support this. Quality sleep help improves attention, memory and learning as well as reducing a number of health risks such as obesity.
Significantly, a longitudinal study of 10 000 children born at the turn of the millenium showed that consistent bedtimes reduce behavioural problems in children. If you don’t have one, now is the time to set up a consistent bedtime routine.
Obviously, it would be great if we could just talk to our kids, read them a book and put them to bed at the same time each day then go to bed ourselves knowing we’ve done a good job! We all know the reality of parenting is a little more complicated than that.
However, knowing these three key things are fundamental in making happy, successful kids helps reassure us that most of us are on the right track.