Here are some of the best ways to raise a child in today’s fast-paced world
Spend Time with your Child
This is a no-brainer; all of us know how essential spending time with kids is, especially in their early years, to forming a close bond. If you have a close relationship with your kids, they are most likely to listen to your lessons and adopt your values. Also, don’t get distracted and start to check your facebook feed or your Whatsapp messages; set aside some time everyday to engage with them actively.
Don’t Forget to Say No
Most of us struggle to say ‘no’ to our kids, after all, who wants to endure the tantrum that follows. However, if you take the easy way out and give in to every little wish of your child, like that expensive bike or that brand-new video game, you are doing her/him no good. Setting healthy limits is essential to your child’s well-being as is being consistent which means that you don’t give in only because you have no time to sit and reason with your little one.
Limit TV Time
This again, though well-known, is difficult to follow given the times we live in. However, if you wish your kids to skip the tv, you need to set an example by doing so yourself. We have all heard how children hardly ever read anything nowadays, try and sit with a book yourself, and do the same for your kid. If you are busy, create an ‘activity basket’ filled with puzzles and toys and let it occupy
your child (this can only be used rarely to sustain interest). You can also involve your child with your chores if she/he is slightly older.
Involve Extended Family
Most families are nuclear nowadays even in India. That doesn’t mean that you don’t involve the grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts in the child’s upbringing. Try and have them visit as often as you can, and make an effort to visit them in return. Forming meaningful relationships outside the immediate family circle can make a positive contribution to a child’s emotional development and sense of self.
Being concerned about your child’s grades is important, but it is equally important to teach your child about being kind. Again, you will have to practice it yourself before you expect your child to do so as children are good imitators. Daily repetition—whether it’s a helping a friend with homework or pitching in around the house—make caring second nature and develop and hone their care-giving capacities.
Knowing you are valued and loved always helps, even us adults need reassurance at times. Your child may not be little Ramanujam or Shakuntala Devi, but she/he is sure to posses some special talent unique to her/him. Encourage her/him at every step; you can put up drawings/write-ups/certificates/medals on your living room wall to show that you care. And don’t forget the golden rule—unconditional love is not defined by achievements. Never compare your child in public or even in private.
It is tempting to guide your child through all the ups and downs of life, but at some point, you have to sit back and let them lead the life they want to. The earlier this happens, the better. Even as toddlers, involve them while you tidy their room or help them set the table for dinner. Do not offer treats for everything they do for you, or they will forever expect a ‘reward’ every time they run an errand. And, of course, allow your child to make mistakes—plenty of them! How else do you expect them to learn?
It is important to understand that home-cooked meals are the best; you can safely throw away the packaged baby food packets you have stocked up on. For once you start your baby on packaged cereals, it would be difficult to expect them to eat their ‘greens’ and ‘rice’ as toddlers. If the child gets bored of a particular food item such as khichdi, you can spice things up by using any local herb available in your local market.
Go on Holidays
Family holidays are a great time not only to reinforce bonds between children and their parents, but also to create lasting memories. Very often when we look back, the holidays are the most vivid of our memories. It is also a great opportunity to learn; take the kids to museums and monuments, and also let them explore fun outdoor activities. Basically anything that breaks the daily humdrum of life is good for the child, and also for you!