100 Ways to Raise Kind, Intelligent Children

1. Teach them to respect others, by respecting others ourselves
2. Place the same value on being well-mannered and kind that we do on being popular, wealthy, attractive, good at sports, or getting straight A’s
3. Read to them every night, and take the time to enjoy it
4. Teach them to have empathy by explaining how they’re actions might make others feel
5. Teach them to be kind to themselves in small ways (i.e. saying nice things about themselves, and their talents)
6. Help them to understand that it’s more important to be kind than it is to be right
7. Teach them to have pride in their work by showing them the difference between just getting a job done, and doing a job well
8. Help them learn a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to do what they can for themselves
9. Help them learn how to entertain themselves without spending money
10. Be their parent first, and their friend second
11. Home should be set up as a benevolent monarchy, with firm ground rules, rather than as a democracy with young members that don’t yet understand all the ramifications of the decisions that must be made
12. Allow them to explain their views without judgment…they’re learning how to form opinions
13. Understand that shouting and harsh comments can be just as damaging as physical abuse
14. Understand that they are not miniature adults, but children that are still learning and who depend on us for gentle guidance
15. Make time everyday to do something fun with them, even if it’s just for half an hour
16. Understand that the natural state of the parent/child relationship is one of struggle, it’s their job to become independent and ours to slowly let them go, no matter how difficult that might be
17. Know that as long as they are doing what we ask of them (making their bed, taking out the trash, doing their homework, cleaning their room, etc) it’s okay if they’re stomping and complaining as they’re doing it. It’s illogical to expect them to be thrilled to do tasks we all dislike.
18. Never make them feel as if they’re unwanted, or a bother
19. Encourage their curiosity
20. Encourage their interests, no matter how different they are from our own
21. Show them how to laugh at themselves, by being able to laugh at ourselves
22. Beginning at a very early age, teach them the value of money, and teach them how to save, invest and budget before they leave home
23. Say “yes” to them as often as possible…save “no” for things that are either go against our values or unsafe, not for times that we just can’t be bothered
24. Don’t hover, or attend every single activity; let them learn to do things for their own enjoyment, not as a way to please others
25. But do take an interest in their activities, and attend often
26. Talk to them about everything, including world events, but at their level of understanding and maturity
27. Instill in them a sense of good manners, and a sense of fun
28. Do not tolerate unkind behaviour toward others
29. Let them know that they can always disagree with us, as long as it’s done with respect, it will be a wonderful foundation for conflict resolution with their spouse and work colleagues in the future
30. Encourage them to follow their dreams
31. Have a life of our own, so they don’t feel responsible for our happiness
32. Help them to believe that they can achieve anything, so long as they’re willing to pay the price in time and effort
33. Help them to understand what the price might be for some of their dreams
34. Teach them the natural consequences of their actions by letting them experience those consequences
35. Protect them from games, television and movies that are not appropriate for their age or maturity level
36. Teach them gratitude
37. Remember that it’s our job to raise good, kind human beings; it’s their job to decide whether that good, kind human being will be a doctor, farmer, teacher, writer, etc
38. Don’t expect them to behave in ways that we do not (i.e. calm and polite when angry, tired or stressed)
39. Give them an example of a happy, committed and communicative relationship
40. Teach them that it is perfectly fine to feel angry, sad or hurt, but that it isn’t fine to hurt others or be mean just because we’re feeling angry, sad or hurt
41. Show them ways to self-soothe when upset (have a friend over, phone a favourite aunt or grandparent, take a bubble bath and make bubble beards, listen to their favourite music, etc)
42. Understand that shouting and screaming makes a parent seem crazy and out of control, and teaches our children that we cannot be trusted in stressful situations
43. Share our interests with them
44. Teach them healthy boundaries with others
45. Teach them how to be loyal
46. If they are cared for by others (i.e. nannies, etc), be certain that they’re in a healthy, happy, loving environment
47. Teach them the value of good health habits
48. Be certain they get enough sleep
49. Occasionally let them stay up late
50. Have curfews
51. Occasionally let them stay out after curfew
52. Admit our mistakes
53. Apoligize when we’ve made a mistake
54. Tell them they are loved every single day
55. Pass along religious practices and traditons
56. Understand that we are their primary role models, and be the person we’d like them to be
57. Teach them the value of quality over quantity, and how to be a conscious consumer
58. Teach them the difference between wanting and needing
59. Never use guilt as motivation
60. Welcome their friends into our homes, and on outings
61. Stop and really listen to them, in the same way we like being listened to
62. Eat at the dinner table, and encourage conversation
63. Don’t “shush” them too often
64. Let them laugh
65. Teach them that they alone are responsible for their behaviour, and don’t allow them to blame it on circumstances or on others
66. Happily help them with their homework
67. Remain calm when they are frustrated
6. Help them to learn how to explain why they’re upset
69. When asking how their day was, don’t rush them for an answer, or answer for them. Just wait. Even if they only say “fine”…just wait. Sometimes they’ll open up after digesting the question, and arranging their own thoughts.
70. If all else fails, take them for a walk and ask them how their day was, and then wait for the answer.
71. Never withhold love, and teach them that you love them even when you’re angry or disappointed with them
72. Don’t give them all of the material things they ask for, even if we can afford it
73. Be sure they have plenty of physical activity, even when it’s inconvenient…mental energy needs a physical outlet
74. Help at their school
75. Have family game nights
76. Give them a journal or diary to express their feelings freely, and never peek
77. Praise them four times as often as you correct them
78. Let the little things go
79. Keep a baby book, or keepsake book, and read it every year on their birthday
80. Stop worrying, and understand that we can only do what we can do
81. Know that both nature and nurture go into the adult they will become
82. Stop working so many hours to buy them things, and give them the gift of our time instead
83. Slow down, and let them see us enjoy our own lives
84. Make sure they learn about art and music, and take them to museums, the theatre and to concerts
85. Travel with them, and introduce them to other cultures, religions and customs
86. Take them to work with you, and explain what you do
87. At an appropriate age, give them something to care for (i.e. a dog, a fish, a plant)
88. Place a high value on education, not only as a way of making money but also for its own sake
89. Let them make mistakes, and don’t belittle them for it
90. Help them learn to correct the mistakes they do make
91. Surround them with interesting people, books and activities
92. Be a balanced parent, don’t overcompensate for our own childhood
93. Be more interested in them than we are in our own friends or ourselves
94. Teach them to use technology intelligently, and with good manners (i.e. no cellular phones at the dinner table)
95. Be more interested in whether those they date are kind to them, and are the right match, rather than focusing on whether we like them ourselves or not
96. Make sure they know that stressful times have nothing to do with them (i.e. job loss, marital problems, financial difficulties)
97. As they become a teenager, take on an advisor’s role while still gently steering
98. When they have a problem, ask them how they think they should solve it, rather than simply giving them the answer, then talk it through
99. Use the last few years that your child is at home to teach them how to manage their own time, money and behaviour
100. When it is time, lovingly let them go

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DeeAnne Chomiak

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