When it comes to parenting advice, one of the most popular topics is values you can teach your child in their early years to help them in later life. Here, we break down five of the most relevant and easily-delivered life lessons you can give to your child.
How to manage money
It may sound harsh, but it's never too early to start teaching a child how to manage their finances. Many people find themselves in financial difficulties when they reach college or graduate age, simply because they've never had to deal with being responsible for their own money before.
By teaching your child early about how to balance their pocket money with how much they want to spend, you'll also be teaching them how to deal with bills, bank accounts and savings when the time comes.
Make healthy food choices
Just like their finances, many young people struggle to eat healthily when they move out of the family home. And just like teaching them how to manage money, if you can give your child some good sound principles about nutrition and the importance of a good diet, they'll go on to form good habits that will last a (longer) lifetime.
The joy of learning
Instilling a love of learning in your child is, arguably, the most important lesson a parent can teach a child. Think about it: for most of the first two decades of their life, your child will be in education in one form or another. With that in mind, it's never a bad thing to encourage them to enjoy it.
Studies have shown that children who grow up actively encouraged to enjoy learning are more likely to avoid struggling in school, underperforming in exams and facing hardship in the job market when they grow up. Anything you, as a parent, can do to help your child cope with the pressure of education later in life is a precious and easy gift for you to pass on.
The courage to speak up
It's very important that when you're encouraging your child to enjoy learning - whether that's through reading with you, seeking out information on their own, and testing themselves - you don't accidentally teach them to simply agree with all the information they're given.
This is a hard lesson to teach, but having the courage to disagree is a vital part of growing up to be a well-rounded and confident individual. We don't mean encouraging them to challenge authority at every step, but teaching a child that there are times when it's appropriate to speak up can bring big rewards in the future.
Resolve disagreements peacefully
With the courage to disagree comes the responsibility to resolve those disagreements without causing further problems. This is something that kids can pick up with practice, and it all starts from their earliest days; children who are able to settle arguments with calm, logical explanations, referring to facts and pointing out obvious contradictions, are more likely to be listened to than those who simply shout until they feel they've gotten their way. The takeaway should be that it's fine to disagree when you feel someone is wrong, but never to fight about it.