Balanced Parenting | 7 Easy Ways To Raise Well-Adjusted Kids
Balance is a topic central to most discussions of personal health and wellness. Balancing home responsibilities, work duties and still taking time for self-care are all important pieces of the puzzle. With kids at home though, balance takes on a whole new role. We are our kid’s most influential teachers, and raising them to be well-rounded adults takes a level of balance in our own lives. Well-balanced young people need strong support systems at home to give them a sense of belonging and stability – that’s where we as parents get the opportunity to take initiative and look at ourselves!
While schools play a critical part in helping our children socialize, learn valuable information and prepare for the adult world, much of the developmental processes that shape who our kids turn out to be take place at home. Realizing that whether your children go to a public school or private, participate in club soccer or not, the environment they experience at home is key for helping them establish a solid foundation.
How do we do accomplish this while living the busy, full lives and attending to the responsibilities that are necessary in order to provide our children with the best opportunities? Here are a few tips to raise healthy, well-adjusted children.
Take Care of Yourself – Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle yourself is the first place to start. Remember, we are always modeling for our kids, whether we realize it or not. They might not say anything, but they notice if the first thing you do when coming home every evening is grabbing a glass of wine to “de-stress”. They also notice if you make exercise, healthy eating and getting outside regularly a priority! By practicing self-care, you also put yourself in a healthy emotional state where you’re better equipped to be present for them and navigate the ins and outs of daily life more serenely. Stress and anxiety rub off on kids – keeping yourself level allows them to feel secure and teaches them that the world isn’t a scary place.
Promote Your Kid’s Sense of Individuality – Let your child figure out who they are! Promoting the exploration of interests, talents and new ideas helps children begin the process of individuation as they grow. It’s important for kids to find their own unique way of relating to and interacting with the world. Giving them the space and encouragement to try new things and explore teaches them to think outside of the box and honor their gifts!
Encourage Your Children to Take on Challenges – Learning to face difficulty head on is an important part of growing up. For kids though, it can be easy to learn to become attached to results. If something looks difficult and the possibility of failure exists, it can feel safer to not try at all. Encouraging our kids to tackle challenges, even if they appear difficult, is a great way teach them not to let fear control their decision making.
Perform Service Acts as a Family – If you only decide to implement one strategy from this whole list, choose this one! The impact of teaching our kids to be selfless and giving cannot be overstated. Not only will this bring you and your family closer, it gives your children a powerful, positive example to follow. Service will help your kids realize that the world is much bigger than just them, it will teach them to think of others, and it will build a tremendous amount of self-esteem. Our actions are our kid’s most influential lessons, so participating in service with them is more impactful than just sending them to do it without ever doing so yourself.
Let Them Fail – Scary, right? Nobody wants to see their child fail, but as adults all know, it is a part of life! Let your child make some mistakes, that is how they will learn. Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t take an active role as a parent and teacher – it just means that you let them learn from their own experiences and use those experiences as teachable moments when they happen. The phenomenon of helicopter parenting is well known – as are the detrimental effects that it has on kids. Taking a step back and giving your children some room to learn organically will help them grow and learn at their own pace and prevent unhealthy dependence from developing.
Facilitate Unstructured Play (and Free Time for Older Kids) – While this might go against every instinct we have towards structuring and gearing our kids for success, there are countless benefits that come with giving children ample time to just explore and have fun. Kids learn to use their imagination, creativity is boosted and they get experience communicating with other kids. For older children, free time helps them remember that life is bigger than just getting into that college, and encourages them to explore their own interests and passions
Have Family Dinners – Some old wisdom that still rings true. Family dinners foster healthy communication inside of the home, teach kids how to have healthy dialogue, and are connected to healthier, more well-adjusted children. Family dinners will also give you an opportunity to stay current with your kids and reinforce the idea to them that family connection is important to you.