7 Tips for Helping Your Kid Succeed in 2021
For us adults, 2020 was a hard year. To our kids, it was terrifying. Millions of children are worried about finding their place in a society in turmoil.
While there's no telling what 2021 will hold, you can do things to help prepare your kid for an uncertain world. Success in the 21st century will be all about adaptation.
Your son or daughter is still learning. If you're looking to help your kid become a successful adult, don't look at the light at the end of the tunnel; look at what you can do today.
Make 2021 the seed of your child's success. Here's how to do it:
1. Teach Your Kids How To Work
As a parent, you might feel inclined to do everything for your child. But the best thing you can do is teach them how to be self-reliant and responsible for themselves.
Have your kids make their bed every morning, take out the trash, and do their own laundry. Encourage them to take up long-term projects, such as painting their bedroom.
By giving your children chores, you teach them the importance of contributing to the team. Plus, paying your children an allowance for the work they do helps them understand the rewards that come along with hard work.
2. Put a Premium on Communication
Communication is a skill everyone needs. But unfortunately, it's not an easy skill for everyone to learn.
These days, many kids would rather spend hours on their phone than actually talking to each other. Make sure the device your child has encourages real-world communication. Consider opting for a kids phone rather than a traditional cell phone for a more centralized experience. In the future, whether they're interviewing for a job, going on dates, or collaborating with co-workers, adult life will require them to be present.
Teach your kids good conversation skills. Schedule play dates with other children. Get your kids involved in clubs and sports. The more social they are, the more opportunities they'll have to learn how to communicate with their peers.
3. Be a Good Role Model
You might have heard that children grow up to be their parents. Well, for the most part: Your kids aren't going to take on every one of your characteristics. It's true, however, that your challenges and gifts are likely to become theirs.
Realize that every choice you make may be copied by your kids. Children who grow up with parents who smoke are more likely to smoke themselves. By the same token, those whose parents graduate are more likely to get a college education themselves.
If you want your children to be ethical, upstanding people, then that's how you should live. You don't have to be the most successful person in the world. All you have to be is your best self.
4. Don't Let Your Kids Quit
Your kids will most likely want to be involved in several activities - some of which, they might not have a natural talent for. Does that mean you should let them quit? No!
Do not let your children give up on things just because they're "too hard." Every sport, subject, or instrument your kids take up will require them to practice in order to master it. Nothing in life worth getting comes easy.
If your kid simply wants to spend their time elsewhere, that's OK. Just make sure their stated reason is their real one for wanting to throw in the towel. They may feign disinterest as a way to get out of a difficult experience.
5. Always Be Teaching
Reading is a great way for children to learn new skills while enjoying themselves.
Encourage reading, but realize it's only one way to encourage your kids to be lifelong learners. For example, you could watch a documentary with your kids, visit a museum, or travel to another country. Do what you can within your resources and your interests.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your children's horizons. Rather than get bent out of shape because you were cut off in traffic, use it to explain to your kids how to handle inconsiderate drivers.
6. Let Your Kids Make Their Own Mistakes
As a parent, you want to keep your children safe from anything that could cause them harm. Who can blame you? But if your kids are to learn, they need to be allowed to make their own mistakes.
Of course, you don't want your children in any real danger. But if your 10-year-old forgets their school assignment at home, don't turn the car around just to go get it. Unless they make a mistake that would forever affect their adult lives, let it play out.
It's important your kids learn how to take care of their own affairs. And if they don't, it's important that they learn how to deal with the consequences.
7. Make Sure Your Kids Aren't Dependent On Technology
The "everywhere and anywhere" nature of technology today poses real dangers to kids. This isn't just about child predators and pornography, either. Excessive screen time has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues in kids. Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, and other tech execs limit their own kids' tech use for this reason.
Help your kids set boundaries around their technology use. Instead of handing them an iPhone and turning them loose, teach them how to be responsible with the computer in their pocket.
Start with the most serious potential issues: Make sure they know how to recognize and report problems like cyberbullying and tech addiction.
Then, turn to everyday tech issues: Have tech-free zones in your home, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and the dining room. Make sure your children are engaging in tech-free activities. Navigate back to reading by suggesting they start a Little Free Library. Discourage them from downloading phone games or spending hours on social media.
Parenting is a tough job, and unfortunately, it doesn't come with a manual. Even if it did, it'd require a rewrite after 2020. Help them see past a hard year by showing them how to succeed in 2021.