Parenthood is a like a labyrinth - a lush secret garden full of joys one wants to dive in and at the same time, a dark swamp full of fears they desperately try to escape from. No doubt that parents worldwide want the best for their kids and can’t wait to meet their little bundles of joy. However, soon after birth, there are new worries that pop only into a parent’s mind. “Am I a good parent?”, “Will my child succeed in life?”
Such fears are often fed by social expectations and family pressure. While it’s true that finding a work-life balance and providing for the family can be demanding (and may even lead to psychological problems), parents should stop feeling judged and insecure. You’re doing it right and your little one is amazing!
What’s more, there are some things and activities that can help you along the colorful journey called parenthood. From making pancakes to dancing in the rain, parents can support their child’s development and foster their social, motor, and creative skills. Perhaps you’ll raise the next Beethoven or Einstein!
Here are 20 things that, according to science, can turn your little bundle of joy into an amazing human being. Don’t be surprised that even reading Harry Potter is on our amazing list!
20 Starting from day one
Books open doors to new colorful horizons. Reading can help your kid get to know sounds and words. In fact, developmental psychologists suggest starting to read from day one. Experts say that little children first learn to listen and speak. Thus, storytelling is also a wonderful way to help your little one explore their surroundings.
Reading can help children develop a love of knowledge and education. It also fosters their learning and reading skills. A study showed that only 15 minutes of reading aloud a day can benefit your little one. Personally, I enjoy reading to my daughter; it’s also fun to watch this 19-month-old with a book in her hands, trying to imitate the sounds she hears.
19 Spread The Love
Volunteering is another wonderful way to help kids become amazing human beings. It helps them understand people and societies and improve their social skills. Social workers explain that even little kids enjoy volunteering, with all the new environments and people they are exposed to. Seeing people or animals in need can teach one a lot about the world.
Volunteering is beneficial for the volunteers. According to kidshealth.org, it can keep teens occupied during the summer, for instance, and can make them feel good about themselves. No doubt knowing you’ve helped an orphan or an unwanted pet can bring meaning to your life. Kids can volunteer alongside their parents, which is also a great bonding activity.
18 The World Is Yours
Kids are little adventurers who are ready to conquer the world. Although young kids may not remember their travels, traveling has many benefits. Experts say that traveling brings children close to nature and improves their social skills. Therefore, traveling is a great way to help your little one become an amazing human being.
Even if families can’t afford to go abroad or travel on a regular basis, weekend hikes are enough to expose kids to new things and take them away from our digital world. Okay, it’s not always easy to travel with kids, but do not wait until they’re older: the world is yours!
17 My Home, My Castle
Housework seems easy but only parents know that living with a child can turn their lovely house into a fighting arena full of biscuits, toys, and nappies. If you ask me, it feels like we rebuild the house every single day from scratch… and then the mess magically reappears.
It’s interesting to mention that according to Psychology Today, mothers spend 18 hours a week doing housework and fathers 10 hours. Thus, it’s crucial to teach your kid some responsibilities. Doing housework helps kids contribute to the greater good and improves their emotional well-being. In the end, all family members are one.
16 Education Is Bittersweet
Education can help people become successful, independent, and amazing human beings. It can also help people fight poverty and gender inequality. Unfortunately, not many people can afford college or university. Well, note that many European institutions, for instance, provide affordable or free undergraduate and graduate programs, so consider encouraging your kid to study abroad.
On top of that, helping kids learn at a young age can be fun. Young children enjoy learning through playing, especially in nature. While boys and girls learn differently, educational psychologists claim that parents should consider individual's differences first. Simply because some kids enjoy music, others maths, and so on and on.
15 Don't teach them - let them learn
The importance of play in early childhood is paramount. Kids play by imitating what they’ve learned from their parents, including coping skills, cooperation, and boundaries. In fact, uninstructed play gives children many opportunities, so never interrupt or correct your child. Famous psychologist Piaget said, "Each time someone prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely."
Letting kids play can help them become happy individuals who can think outside the box and share with family and friends. In the end, empty paper rolls make great toys.
14 getting Out And About
Museums and galleries are mazes of fun, art, and knowledge. Children's museums, in particular, can help children spread their imagination and creativity and become amazing human beings. It’s not about staring at a piece of modern art but exploring and building things. Children's tours are engaging and full of 4D experiences.
Theatres and music events for kids are also beneficial. According to thestage.co.uk, they boost literacy and social skills. Dances, in particular, are like a form of physical storytelling, which according to art therapists, involves self-reflection. I remember the first time we took our baby to the baby "opera" – it was so much fun.
13 creating a Loving Environment
The most important thing that can turn a child into an amazing human being is a loving environment. It’s not a secret that family support is fundamental for child development. Encouraging independence and providing safety at the same time can benefit children and help them develop a secure attachment style. Note that developmental psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth focused on attachment forms in infants and revealed that attached infants had sensitive caregivers and became healthy individuals. Birth order can also define one’s personality. The most important thing parents can do is share love equally, without any signs of favoritism.
Family dinners and parties are also great. In fact, big families should not be ashamed to seek help from other family members or hire a babysitter.
12 Four-Legged Friends
Kids love animals as they feel a special connection with all the cuddly, crawling, flying, swimming, and soil-digging creatures out there. Of all animals, cats and dogs are children's favorites. We should admit that seeing a baby cuddle (or ride) a dog is so joyful.
It’s been proven that kids who have pets benefit from their dynamic interactions. Pets foster empathy, caring, self-control, and happiness. Therapists reveal those teaching kids to care for a pet fosters their social skills. On top of that, according to huffingtonpost.com and nytimes.com, pets reduce stress in children. So, if you are able to provide a safe environment for the whole family and your new friend, go for it!
11 Colorful Petals
Gardening is another special activity that can help kids become amazing human beings. It gives kids the unique opportunity to start from seeds and create a wonderful garden, which they could show to family and friends. Gardening can also help kids understand the cycle of life. Note that according to learn.eartheasy.com, cherry tomatoes and strawberries are the most fun and delicious crops for children. Of course, houseplants are also great, especially in winter.
Sometimes it’s hard to find time for your plants but involving your little petal into the process can help them become responsible, caring, and curious human beings.
10 We Are The World
Talking about crops and flowers, we should mention that gardening teaches kids environmental awareness. According to learn.eartheasy.com, planting, harvesting, and watering help kids understand the magic of Mother Nature. Another important thing that can help kids become amazing individuals is any recycling activity. Kids should learn to recycle waste and reuse plastic bags. Also, even young kids should learn to reduce waste and pollution.
Most of all, parents and teachers should teach their little ones some vital water saving tips. For instance, teach your kids to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth. Shorter showers and ultra-low-flush toilets are also recommended.
9 Business Little People
Work can also turn a child into a responsible human being. While child labor deprives kids of their childhood and is illegal, summer jobs are crucial for kids. Teens, in particular, can learn responsibility and money management skills. They can become independent and aware of the real world. Most of all, a job means a well-spent time and new friends.
We all remember our first summer job, right? In fact, small jobs teach kids a valuable lesson: nobody should be ashamed of their job. Note that summer camps also improve a child’s social skills and self-regulation, so they can be great for younger kids.
8 Healthy Lifestyle
In our digital society, we all need to reconnect with the Earth. Eating healthy is the simplest thing parents can teach their kids in order to help them become healthy and happy human beings. Healthy foods can prevent many diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. That said, we can’t go against all the not-so-healthy yummy treats out there.
Regular exercising is also crucial. Baby yoga, in particular, is a great bonding activity. Physiotherapists claim that baby yoga helps infants sleep through the night and improves their digestion. As a matter of fact, baby yoga was one of my favorite activities after birth.
7 Laughter & Games
There are many fun activities that can help kids become wonderful individuals. Music, for instance, is crucial during early development as it helps kids learn sounds and words. Dancing, on the other hand, improves a child’s motor skills and self-regulation. Psychologists reveal that drawing is also important: it improves fine motor skills, concentration, problem-solving, and confidence.
Actually, anything that helps kids laugh is precious. As people say, laughter is the best medicine. According to helpguide.org, laughter is an antidote to stress and pain. From dad jokes to karaoke with kids, parents and kids who have fun together have amazing family dynamics.
6 learning Foreign Languages
Our world is a colorful place - like a sweet cake sprinkled with a wild range of cultures, societies, rituals, and languages. Learning a second language helps kids broaden their views. It also improves their memory skills and social skills. In fact, experts claim that kids who know more than one language excel academically. Psycholinguists have proven that learning a second language is easier at an early age and can prevent age-related cognitive declines in adulthood.
Interestingly enough, bilingual children can learn two languages already in the womb, where they are exposed to different rhythms and pronunciation. Note that young kids can master and imitate pronunciation easily.
5 letting The Past come into play
Learning from the past is an important thing that can help kids become successful and kind. We learn through making mistakes, but some mistakes from the past should never be repeated. That’s why history lessons can teach kids a lot. History can help children understand the social reality they’re living in and appreciate what they already have.
It’s interesting to mention that according to a new study presented in the Journal of Applied Psychology, kids who read Harry Potter may become better human beings. Simply because there are many stigmatized groups in the Harry Potter series, and learning about minority groups, refugees, and immigrants can help kids understand the real world.
4 No place like Home
Having a safe and loving environment is also vital for kids. Music, plants, animals, and books can just add more magic to your sweet home. There are lots of nursery decorating tips and ideas out there; from unicorns to superheroes, a beautiful and colorful environment can foster one's imagination, motor skills, and a love of aesthetics.
To be honest, I’m quite jealous of the sweet animal-themed nursery room my daughter has because when I was a kid, my older sister and I shared a bedroom, which was full of her Prodigy and Metallica posters. Joking aside, according to experts, sharing a room is one of the main factors that can make life together easier for siblings.
3 A Religious Education
Many people still hold prejudices against different religions, so religious education can help kids become better individuals who accept the people around them. Religious education helps kids understand abstract concepts, such as Life, God, and Universal Love. It can also help kids become patient and find a safe and loving atmosphere.
From Hinduism to Taoism, kids need to explore the beauty of people’s spirituality. The world’s religions often are used to plant hatred and create conflicts, but by educating kids, parents and teachers can help children expand their views and love. On top of that, adults should tackle the phenomenon of stereotyping people and religious leaders.
2 A Boy Or A Girl?
Biological differences exist, for sure, but teaching kids gender equality is the very first step to help children become amazing individuals. It’s sad that there are many stereotypes that even little kids obey: some girls believe that boys are aggressive, some boys believe that girls are stupid. To erase all prejudices, moms and dads must be equally involved in decision-making and house chores.
Since we can’t change society with all its sexist ads, child psychotherapist Katie Hurley says, "The best thing parents can do is really poke holes in all those things. Instead of hiding all the magazines with the ads that make you shake your head and think 'that's not what women look like,' open those magazines, point out those ads and say, 'can you believe this?'"
1 Being Healthy & Happy
The most important thing that can turn a kid into a successful human being is health. A healthy body means a happy soul! Regular medical check-ups, especially for kids with medical problems, are a must. As mentioned above, a stimulating and safe environment is associated with better physical and emotional health. While parents may part, having positive role models can improve a child’s self-esteem and well-being. All this can turn a child into a confident and caring adult.
In the end, all kids need is love. Love and affection lead to high self-esteem, better social interactions, and improved academic performance. People who feel loved succeed better in life and give love in return.
All we need is love!