All parents want their kids to be happy, courageous, independent and successful. You would also want them to get more out of life than you did. Channelling your child’s future is in your hands. You can help model your child’s future by providing them with the skills needed to equip them to lead a good and successful life.
So, how do you start? Here are a few suggestions on how you can help your child be future ready.
Tell them popular stories: Guiding them to be ready for the future can begin at a very early stage. Teach your children valuable lessons through storytelling. The stories you tell shouldn’t limit your children but enable them to do more. Stories that carry a moral or a lesson will help build value systems early on in life. For example, your stories could end with a lesson such as:
- There’s no escape from hard work
- The world is a beautiful place but one needs to work hard to enjoy it
- Being smart is more important than being strong
As your kids grow, story-telling may not be impactful. You may have to think of other strategies to empower them for the future. At this stage, to help your child become resourceful, reasonable, compassionate and dependable, you could try these tactics:
- Train them to be confident: If your child is confident, then he or she will be able to deal with problems head-on. They will have faith in their own ability to get things done. Make them participate in various extra-curricular activities such as debates, public speaking or fundraising events. This will boost their self-confidence. If your child wants to try something new, let them do it, encourage them.
- Train them to be independent: Give them small tasks to do. Get them to buy vegetables, or monthly provisions. Assign them responsibilities around the house. For example, watering the plants or setting the table before a meal etc. Start assigning the task at an early age so that they are ready for the future.
- Teach them to accept responsibility: Teach them to accept responsibility for the actions early on in life. This will help them manage their life better as they grow up to be young adults.
- Train them to become emotionally intelligent: Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand ones and others emotions and feelings. Not only can emotional intelligence help build self-knowledge in your child but it also helps your child gain self-control, become stronger and forge strong bonds with their peers and associates.
You can do this by helping your child identify his or her emotions and teaching them to deal with it. Also, encourage them to express their emotions and recognize the mood of the place they go to or stay at. For example, they should be able to recognize the mood a person is in and react accordingly.
- Teach them the need for flexibility and an adjusting nature: It is not enough to just teach your child to be intelligent or focussed. Life can be pretty tough, so they also need to learn to be flexible and adjusting. Teach them to share resources with their siblings, it can be a toy, a room or even their books. If your child is flexible yet grounded, it will help them to advance in life easily and with great happiness and confidence.
- Let them learn the value of being focused on the present: While it is always good to have one’s eye on the future, to live mindfully in the present has its own uses and virtues. Teach your child to live in the present. Help them to take things one at a time so that they learn the values of being happy and focused. Else, they will be dependent on their work to feel useful and productive, be obsessed with results and will never be able to relax when they should.
- Let them have a hobby: Life is not just about work. Invest in a hobby. For example, learn to play a musical instrument, play some sports, enjoy gardening or maybe learn a foreign language. There are plenty of hobbies to choose from. What’s more, hobbies are great stress busters. Children need to understand that one needs to take a break from work and just do things for the pleasure and fun of it.
- Let them have a taste of success and failure: Just because you love your kids a lot doesn’t mean you protect them from the harsh realities of life, like a failure. By doing this, you build up an illusion that they are special and that everyone must be fair and good to them. This does not happen in reality. You should teach your child to solve their own problems, of course with a little help from you. By guiding your child on the path to self-reliance, you strengthen their hands, feet, and brain.
- Allow them to participate in different activities: Expose your kids to the world around. Travel, take them around and let them experience the world around them. Also, try and include them in community initiatives. For example, collecting donations for an orphanage or even going and visiting one and spending some time with the kids there.
- Teach them life skills: You can teach some basic skills such as cooking or selecting vegetables from the market for grown-up kids. Introduce them to banking systems, show them how to deposit money. If possible start a bank account for them as ask them to manage their account. Give them a budget and ask them to manage their purchases around the budget. This will teach them some sound survival skills and when if they do have to live alone in the future, you would have equipped them to be ready for it.
One of the best ways to groom your child for the future is to encourage them to be balanced, empowered and flexible. Life being not just about success or failure, it’s about finding your own spot in the world without heartburn, greed or envy.