Robert A. Heinlein very correctly said, “Do not handicap your children by making their life easy”. But what exactly does it mean? By making life easy for your kids at an young age, you will end up making their life difficult and dependent as they grow up. Instead allow children to use their natural instincts to try, fail, learn and succeed on their own as much as possible.
Kids learn by doing things on their own
Let your kids learn to do things on their own, let them understand that there will also be disappointments, that they won’t get everything they want, that they have to work hard to get things they want. Don’t buy them every damn thing you come across, they will never realize its value then. Except for essential stuff, let them take time to come across other things, let them feel a need for it, let them ask you, sometimes even plead you, and if you find it useful for them, only then get it for them. Their happiness will know no bounds then, and they will also learn to preserve it, for they will know its value, and remember the efforts they took to have it.
Give your kids small tasks
Teach them to do their minor tasks on their own, like putting on their clothes, shoes, folding their dress, to sit in one place and eat on their own, to keep things back in place once they are done playing. For every task you do for them, see if they have the physical and mental ability to do it on their own, if yes, teach them do it themselves. Else, they will end up thinking that you are there to do things for them. And later in life, they will become dependent on others to do things for them.
Don’t make them handicapped by assisting them in every damn thing. Don’t get into the habit of running behind them pleading them to eat some food. That is the worst way to feed your kids. If they are hungry, let them sit at one place and eat. It doesn’t matter even if they find it difficult initially, spill around, etc. What is more important is to demand food when hungry and start eating on their own as early as possible. Don’t allow them grow up without knowing the value of food or what hunger means.
Teach kids to preserve and protect what they have
Teach them that if they break what they have, they won’t get a new one every time. Teach them that they will have to share what they have with others. Don’t let them start getting into the mood of “all this is mine”. Don’t provide them with a separate room of their own at a very early age, “I, Me, Mine” factor will start kicking in then. Teach them that they will have to share whatever they get with others at home, just like how you share what you get with them. At a very early age kids easily pick up such things. But it is very difficult to teach these things once they grow up.
Kids love healthy diet as long as you don’t spoil them with Chocolates and junk
Do not mess with their eating habits by feeding them junk like chocolates, biscuits, chips at an early age. Let them get used to the taste of homemade food. If they fill their stomach with junk, or even taste junk when hungry, they will pick up its taste, won’t like home made food, will refuse to eat it, you will have tough time making them eat normal food. Also don’t allow them choices in food at an early age, they will have to eat whatever you provide them. It is too early for them to decide what they want. Make them eat what everybody else eats at home. Don’t get into the habit of cooking separately for your kids as they grow up. Else they will end up demanding what they want for every damn thing, and you will have a very difficult time controlling or convincing them later.
Start feeding kids boiled vegetables at a very early age. Clean up and chop vegetables into small pieces and hand it over to them in a small bowl. They will get used to it, and will eventually start loving it. Will then grow up with healthy eating habits. As they grow up, you can switch to raw vegetables as well, like carrots, radish, etc.
Let kids have a well defined daily routine
Let them have well defined timings for all their daily tasks – sleeping, playing, eating. Don’t let them miss their schedule. Sleeping late, not sleeping at all, eating at odd times, not eating at all, playing at odd times all will make them grow up extremely unorganized.
Kids are what parents do in front of them
Most importantly kids learn by looking at your activities and imitating you, both in words and deeds. Spend time with them as much as you can, play with them, teach them, train them. Do not ever try to make them listen to you by force, convince them with logic, encourage their questions by answering them convincingly in their own language which they understand. Do not make them mechanical robots, let them think, be convinced of what they are doing, let them learn to ask questions, and understand things.
Teach kids to behave – being naughty is different from misbehaving
When you visit somebody else’s house or a restaurant, or even at home, if your kid misbehaves – picks up things without permission, breaks or spoils things, says something rude, behaves arrogantly, talks loudly, screams unnecessarily – don’t be a mute spectator, or don’t just laugh it off. What will your reaction be if other kids who visit your house behave similarly and their parents laugh it off? If you laugh when they misbehave, they will only take it to be a positive approval of what they did. How are they supposed to know that it wasn’t right?
When your kids misbehave disapprove it and teach them that this is not done. They won’t know it till you teach them. It doesn’t mean you take a stick and start hitting them. You have to show your very strong disapproval of what they do right there at that moment, probably raise your voice and they will understand it. Start doing it at a very early age, and you won’t have a difficult time teaching them how to behave. If you laugh it off saying that your kid is naughty or mischievous, that’s what they will grow up to be, and it will be too late if you try to teach them later.
As a parent you know better what is good to your kids. Love your kids, but don’t let your love spoil their lives.
And finally, do not forget to stay healthy and physically fit. Kids, after all, learn from the life style of their parents