Every parent wants to raise successful children. We want children who work to the best of their ability, children who willingly face a challenge and learn from it. However, 36% of children in the US will not attempt a difficult, strenuous task. Instead, they quit. Take a moment and think of the irony. We want to raise hard-working, successful children, but only 64% of us are doing so. The remaining 36% of us are raising quitters! That’s harsh…and somewhat frightening. I have to ask myself, how can I be in the 64% who raise hard-working, successful children? How can I be sure to raise children willing to face a challenge and learn rather helping to raise a generation of quitters? A study of nearly 50,000 participants (read more here) may provide us with the answers we seek. This study suggests the following actions can help us raise hard-working children.
- Establish clear, respectful structure in your home. A structured home includes age appropriate rules and routines. Children given structure and routines tend to outperform peers without structured routines. And, consistently enforced limits allow children the sense of security needed to explore, learn, and grow.
- Let your children make choices AND experience the consequences of their choices. Allow your children the freedom to make mistakes. But don’t stop there. Support their learning from those mistakes as well. Enduring the pain of watching our children suffer the consequences of bad choices can lead to us rejoicing in the wisdom they carve out of that learning experience. Children make good choices, too. Don’t forget to celebrate the victories they experience as the result of those good decisions.
- Praise your children for their hard-work and effort, not the outcome. Whether they succeed or fall short, acknowledge your children’s effort and persistence. As you do, they learn the value of persistence and hard-work, both of which lead to greater success in the long run. Praise them for trying new things as well, even if they do poorly at first. This will teach your children to take reasonable risks, which also leads to greater success in the long run. (see 5 Mistakes to Avoid and Ruin Your Child with Praise).
- Keep screen time to a minimum. Screen time takes away from family time. Additionally, grade point averages began to decrease slightly after 30-45 minutes of screen time a day. After two hours of screen time, a more dramatic drop in grades began to occur and by four hours of screen time grades dropped a whole letter grade. More time spent on video games and TV viewing also leads to less sleep and more emotional volatility. Replace screen time with family time (Learn more in New Teacher in Town).
- Enjoy family time. Family time contributes to higher grade point averages and more emotional stability. Family dinners, attending religious services together, and playing board games, in particular, promoted healthy outcomes. If you struggle for family time ideas, check out some of our Family Fun night ideas.
These five practices will nurture your children’s success and help you raise hard-working, successful children.