A lot of parents might think that the best we can do for our kids is see them safely to adulthood. Especially in the early years, that can be pretty darn taxing on its own. Don’t want to think about how many times I’ve had my heart racing while saying ‘don’t put that in your mouth!’ But the truth is that we can offer our kids a lot more. We just need to treat parenting like a full-time job.
Support them at school
By far the most important thing in humanity’s future is education. That’s not elitism, nor is it about getting them a lucrative future. Educated people are more likely to make informed decisions. They’re more likely to value rationality and broad scope thinking that helps everyone. So you should be more involved in your child’s life at school. From being involved in the PTA to helping them when they’re struggling with a private tutor.
Engage their creativity
Learning isn’t just about getting good at science, English, and math. It’s about growing the other forms of intelligence, too. Creative thinking has just as much to offer as book-learning. So you should be helping your child express their creativity from a young age. It’s not that difficult. Children are innately curious and creative. You just have to make sure they’re not spending all their time worrying about school or on computer screens. Give them unstructured play time, for a start.
Sports are for more than getting fit
Sports are a handy tool to learn to get active at a young age. At the same time, they also have a lot of values to teach our kids. Teamwork and socialising are two of the big ones. Even in solo sports like tennis, they have coaches and practice partners. They learn the benefit of cooperation that is at the heart of civilization.
But health is important, too
People who are active earlier in life will find it easier to stay active later in life. But that’s not all you should teach them. As early as you can, you should be making it easier for them to live a nutritious life, too. It can be heart-breaking to say ‘no’ to your child. But if you don’t let them eat sugary snacks now, they’ll a lot less prone to keep going back to them in future.
Teach them about money
This might set a few people off into an indignant huff. No, we don’t want materialistic children. We do want them to grow up without having serious debt concerns, however. Giving children responsibility for small bits of money from a young age is important. As is teaching them the dangers of credit cards before they leave the home. Money is too important a part of life to not warrant serious discussion. Yet no-one gets those talks at school and few get them from the home, too.
Soppy and cliché as it is, our children are the future. If we want them to not only excel but to make the world excel, we have to help them find their path in life. Right up until and even after they fly the nest.