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8 Precious Truths All Parents Should Pass To Their Children

8 Precious Truths All Parents Should Pass To Their Children

The influence we have over our children can have a far bigger impact than we think. That is why the way we speak, act and the wisdom we pass on to them will imprint onto their lives in far greater ways than we can imagine. We have so much power to enrich their lives with the positive things we’ve learnt from our own lives and to allow these timeless truths to transcend into their future.

Successful parenting isn’t all about helping your child to be the best academically or ridding them of all their adversities, it’s about playing a crucial role in the personal growth by means of gentle direction no matter where their life may take them. It’s providing them with wisdom that they can apply to all areas of their life and give them a positive basis for life decisions and outlooks.

1. Your Perception Of The World Is What You Make It

How we see the world is all made up of what we’ve been told and exposed to from a very early age. As we get older these beliefs shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us. It’s sad that if we’ve been brought up in a negative environment, then we are more likely to grow up with similar fears, negative feelings and emotions as that is how we’ve been taught to see the world.

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As a parent, it’s so important to not only bring up a child in a positive and loving environment, but to not teach them your own limiting beliefs and negative perceptions. Realise that the things you fear will be picked up by your children and passed on creating their own perceptions through yours. By recognising these you can readjust what you teach to your child and choose to allow their minds to be open and curious to let them gain their own conclusions of the world.

2. Pain Is An Essential Part Of Life

Our natural instinct is to shield and protect our children from pain but by doing this we don’t teach them that pain is inevitable in life. By protecting them we are denying them the chance to process and deal with painful situations from a young age when they are learning how to deal with different emotions.

If painful situations arise such as the death of a family member, a pet or an argument with a friend at school, it’s important to teach them that pain helps you to grow – we need to embrace the hard times in our life to deal with it in a way that allows us to learn and move on. Be a constant reassurance that everything happens for a reason and for a higher good.

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3. Find Your Own Path In Life

It’s easy to pass on our beliefs to others – it’s hard not to. However, be aware that what you think may not be what other’s think – when a child asks a question it’s important not to immediately answer with your own thoughts and ideas. Instead, make sure you keep the question open and ask the child what they think. You want your child to be their own person and form their own opinions and beliefs based on their knowledge of the world. Remember they are a unique person outside of you and what resonates with you may not resonate with them. Encourage them to question things and not take what they hear as the truth.

4. Live In The Present Moment

Life is full of many distractions and especially with today’s technology. That’s why it’s important to allow children to be aware of the present moment. Happiness can’t be found in the past or the future but in the here and now – the more we connect with the moment we’re living in now, the more we connect with our higher being and create appreciation and calmness. Mediation is a wonderful way to teach this but the act of being mindful of the things we do will help cultivate a more positive mind.

5. Everything Is Temporary

With that in mind, it’s important to know everything in this world is temporary. Holding on the past only sits inside of us and cultivates if we don’t let it go. Life is full of ups and downs – living with these and going with the flow will mean a much less bumpy journey through life. We are able to adapt more easily to change and resist living in the past.

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6. Take Responsibility For Your Own Happiness

The first few years of life can be like living in a bubble where you learn to connect with the things around you and understand your place in the world. This time is usually a period where a child is innocently very self-centred because there is so much attention put upon them. It’s only when they start school and realise they aren’t the only one getting attention. This is when blame towards others can be cultivated because they struggle to find their place, to be heard by others and feel things are other people’s fault.

Teaching a child that they, and only they, are responsible for their own happiness is so important – it will stop the victim-mentality they can easily pick up (and what many of us as adults have done) and stop them from pushing the responsibility of their happiness onto things outside of themselves.

7. Fear Is An Illusion

People may want to fight against this one because we are so hellbent on holding on to the fears we have cultivated over the years. But in truth, fears are not real. Fear is just an emotion that comes from a preformed idea or belief  – fear is just an illusion. Unfortunately, there are many dangers in the world but the fear we generate around them is not directly proportionate to the dangers themselves. Danger does not have to equal fear but this is what children pick up on. Fearful thoughts attract fearful situations so it’s important to learn about danger and be aware but not to fear it.

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8. Your Only Limitation Is Your Mind

We often say ‘the sky is the limit’ which implies that somewhere up there, a limit exists. Everyday we impose limitations on ourselves through false negative beliefs, ideas, and thoughts of self-worth. However, we are only limited by our thinking and what we think is true or false – learning to acknowledge that our limiting beliefs aren’t true is an important lesson to pass on to our children. Instilling this at a young age will allow a child to believe they can accomplish anything and reduce the amount of limited thinking in the first place.

The way in which we teach our children the ways of the world is paramount to creating a happy, well-rounded child. Successful parenting means giving children the best possible start in life by cultivating a positive mind and a real awareness of the world they live in. We are all growing and learning as we walk through life so, in turn, remember never to dismiss what our children can teach us in return!

Featured photo credit: Josh Willink via pexels.com

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Published on October 18, 2018

Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start

Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start

Reading is one of the most important activities that you can encourage your children to do. It’s entertaining, thought provoking, and absolutely critical to success later in life.

Being a proficient reader by the third grade is an integral factor in a child’s future success. Reading for kids is not just a fun pastime. It is the gateway to learning about other people, places, and ideas, with limitless possibilities.

Why Reading for Kids Is Important?

Develops Vocabulary and Language Skills

Before your kids are able to read on their own, it’s important to nurture a love for books early on. Reading aloud to them at a young age is a great way to promote verbal communication skills between parent and child.

As kids get older, we speak to them on a daily basis, but the vocabulary and topics that they are exposed to are limited and often repetitive. Reading books will improve your child’s vocabulary and expose them to different types of sentence structure, writing styles, and ways to express themselves.

Not only will your children’s reading comprehension improve over time, this will also have a positive effect on their writing and communication skills. For children who are bilingual or learning a second language, reading is an important component of attaining or maintaining fluency.

Encourages a Thirst for Knowledge

There are books written about any topic imaginable, many in a wide variety of reading levels.

When reading books, your kids will be introduced to a wide variety of topics, cultures, and ideas. They will realize how much knowledge is out there to be discovered and delve further into the subjects that interest them the most.

In many cases, they will be enjoying the content of the book so much that they won’t even realize they are gaining so much knowledge about a particular topic.

Increases Empathy

Children have a very narrow understanding of the world around them. This is due to the limited number of experiences that they have encountered, based on the circumstances in which they grew up.

Reading books about different types of people who have had a wide range of experiences allow kids to not only appreciate diversity but also to understand what it may be like being in someone else’s shoes.

Doing so will help them appreciate and empathize with people who have very little in common with them and help them develop into more well-rounded individuals.

The Best Form of Entertainment

In the current age, technology has become the go-to for entertainment for adults and kids. Although TV shows and kids apps like these can be a great resource for learning, books are a better choice every time.

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Rather than spending hours in front of a screen, encourage your kids to consider books as the default source of entertainment. Studies show that in families where reading was emphasized, the children are more likely to read independently and develop a passion for books in the long run.

Creates a Bond

There are multiple ways that reading creates a bond between parent and child. Starting from infancy, reading aloud promotes closeness and intimacy through spending time together and being physically close.

As your child gets older, you can continue to read aloud or read the same book separately and talk about the parts that you enjoyed the most.

Use reading as an opportunity engage and interact with your child, asking them about their thoughts on topics covered in the book or connecting the story to everyday life.

Exercises Their Brain

Reading requires more brain power than watching TV. When our kids read books, they utilize the part of their brain that deals with multi-sensory integrations, making connections between words and visual thinking.

For beginner readers, illustrations can be a useful tool to help them grasp the narrative and gain better comprehension. In the case of more advanced readers, they use their brain when gathering context clues to help them figure out words or phrases that are unfamiliar.

Reading also stimulates critical thinking, spurring kids to make connections between the book and real life and to form opinions about the story.

Improves Concentration

Reading a book requires focus and concentration, which are essential skills to work on, even for toddlers who have trouble sitting still.

Consistently reading books will help your kids practice quieting their minds and their bodies to focus on a task for a set period of time.

By taking away distractions and giving them space to read and understand, their attention spans and ability to concentration will greatly improve over time.

Sets Them up for Success in School and Life

There have been numerous studies that indicate reading books to children at an early age has a lasting effect on their success in school, which often directly correlates with success in the workplace.[1] But the benefits are not just limited to academic success.

Reading is a long-term learning experience that promotes growth, which will result in your children becoming more effective people overall – better spouses, bosses, and friends.

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Promotes Creativity and Imagination

When reading a story, our children create an image of how they perceive the story to look in their minds, using creativity and imagination. Every person sees a different image in their mind, and it may change each time the same book is read.

Reading also introduces new worlds, whether real or fictional, that we have never been a part of before. Immersing in the book allows your kids to imagine new experiences and scenarios that they never thought possible.

They will be able to bring these ideas into their play time and use their creativity to go beyond the limits brought on by their everyday lives.

Where To Start

Now that you are aware of the multitude of benefits that reading can provide for your kids, what’s the next step?

If your child has not yet developed a love for reading, it’s not too late to start.

1. Make Reading a Choice, Not a Chore

Don’t make reading a mandatory task or assigned chore. Encourage and remind your kids to read, but let them make the ultimate decision on when to read and for how long. Feeling like they are being compelled to read will inevitably take the joy out of the experience.

If you have a reluctant reader, try to figure out what the root cause of the reluctance is. If your kids are struggling with words, find a few books below their reading level to instill confidence in recognizing the words they DO know. Gradually transition to harder books until they are more eager to read voluntarily.

Another alternative is to try audiobooks. Hearing another person reading confidently is a great way to experience fluency, and they will be able to enjoy the book without having to stumble through it.

If the content is the issue, and they find reading to be boring, introduce them to different types of reading material (see below).

2. Suggest a Variety of Reading Material

Reading can come in so many forms and every type has something unique to offer the reader. If your kids are having trouble finding joy in reading, it may be because they haven’t found a genre that fits their interests.

Traditional books come in many genres, including mystery, history, biographies, fantasy, science fiction, and more. Some books are written in unique and fun styles, such as choose your own adventure books, diary novel, or epistolary novel.

If you are looking for reading material that is more visually stimulating, try a graphic novel, a magazine, or a travel book. Books are also great resources for learning a new skill. Joke books, magic books, and cook books are great examples of these.

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Don’t forget to show your kids the practical side of reading as well. Enlist their help in reading out the grocery list at the store or ask them to read recipe instructions when cooking in the kitchen together. All types of reading counts:

    3. Experience Books Firsthand

    As your kids read more books, they may start to imagine what it would be like if they were characters in the books. A great way to support their love for reading would be to help them depict their favorite parts of their book.

    Look up a recipe for butter beer (Harry Potter) or Turkish Delight (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) and make it together. Start planting a garden together after reading The Secret Garden.

    Another fun way to celebrate finishing a book is watching the movie interpretation of it. Seeing beloved characters come to life on screen is an easy way to enhance the enjoyment of reading.

    4. Be an Example

    You are the main person that your kids look up to. Kids love copying their parents and doing the things they observe their parents doing on a daily basis.

    Don’t just tell your kids to read often; show them by doing it yourself.[2] Actions speak louder than words.

    When you model your own love of reading and books and show them the joy it brings to your life, they will be inclined to feel the same way.

    5. Set Aside Time

    For a child with a busy schedule and so many other fun screen-filled activities to choose from, it can be difficult to purposely reserve time for reading.

    Make this decision a little easier by creating dedicated time that is just for reading. This can be just before bed, right after homework, or whatever time works best for your family’s busy schedule. This time can be used for read aloud time with your child or independent reading.

    6. Bring Books to Life

    Finding real life connections to the books that your kids are reading will extend the joy of the reading experience.

    Did your children just finish a book about life on the farm? Take them to visit a local farm and experience what they read about firsthand. Reading a book about planets and space can turn into a trip to the planetarium.

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    For a more memorable excursion, take a family trip out of the country, like visiting London after finishing the Harry Potter series.

    7. Make Books Accessible

    One of my favorite activities to do as a child was to go to the library. The vast number of books that were at my disposal made me so excited to read.

    Find a great library in your area to take your children and let them experience the magic of limitless possibility. Sign your kids up for their own library card and encourage them to take ownership of their reading adventure.

    Start a small collection of books at home so that your kids will always have books at their fingertips. Visit a bookstore, browse online, or sign up for a monthly book subscription. Getting access to new books on a regular basis will keep reading exciting and fun.

    8. Start a Book Club

    Having other people help you stay accountable is a great motivation to read more and to discover new books you may not have otherwise.

    Encourage your kids to start a book club, either with their peers or with you. Choose a book everyone would enjoy and set a deadline for getting together and discussing what each person thought of the book. The tangible due date is a great incentive to stay on track and read on a regular basis.

    The Bottom Line

    Fostering a love for reading in your kids is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

    Reading books can transport them anywhere they could imagine, and the benefits that it provides for them in the short and long term are innumerable.

    Use these tips to actively encourage reading to be an enjoyable part of their lives, and it will be worth the effort.

    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

    Reference

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