In these competitive times, it’s become increasingly important to give our children the edge they need to get ahead and stay ahead in life. To most people this means enrolling them in the best schools and colleges, but that’s just one aspect of good parenting. Apart from a basic education, there are plenty of ‘soft’ skills, or life skills, that kids need to be taught in order to be the best that they can be.

Make Your Kids Do Chores

If a child has gone his or her entire life without having to work hard in their early years, then that only means that someone else has been picking up after them. Children raised on chores are more likely to become more empathetic towards the struggles of others later in life, given that they have first-hand experience of working hard, albeit to a lesser degree. More importantly, they learn early on how to tackle a task independently and how to collaborate with others effectively.

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Teach Them Social Skills at Home

A study has shown that there is a significant correlation between a person’s success as an adult and their social skills as kindergartners. The 20-year-long study showed that children who were taught to cooperate with their peers, to be perceptive of others’ feelings and to solve problems on their own, were more likely to be successful in their careers later on in life. Even more importantly, those children with limited social skills were more likely to be involved in crime and suffer from substance abuse problems. And while there is an argument to be made that school should be where children learn these skills, there’s no denying that there’s no place like home when it comes to raising your child to the best of your abilities.

Set Your Expectations High

The real gamechanger is the expectations that you place on your children. Take picking a college, for example. Why go to just any college? Why not the best college? If parents stay focused on specific goals for their children, and set their expectations accordingly, it’s far more likely that these goals will be achieved. Research has shown that the expectations parents place on their kids has a huge effect on what they achieve later on. However, this doesn’t mean that you stress yourself out about your child’s performance, because…

Your Stress Transfers to Your Child

It’s tough being a parent today, what with having to juggle your parental duties with your full-time jobs, and the end result is a whole lot of stress. Some parents overcompensate for their perceived lack of time spent with their children by being far too intense in their parenting when time does allow it, but this is counter-productive. A psychological phenomenon popularly known as emotional contagion states that you can “catch” the feelings of those closest to you, much in the same way that you can catch a cold from them. So, if mom or dad is constantly stressed-out and frustrated at home, the child could begin to feel that same way too. And a stressed-out child won’t be able to perform to the best of their abilities.

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Teach Your Kids the Importance of Good Nutrition

The older you get, the more you realise that good eating habits are instrumental to your health and wellbeing. But this also goes beyond just nutrition – modern-day hot topics like body acceptance and the negation of body image issues can be taught right at home. If you’re a good role model to your child in terms of all these things, it’s more likely that your child will pick up these good habits, too.

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