Boundaries, Routines, and Early Bedtimes: 8 Habits That Raise Well-Adjusted Kids
Kids these days are drawing quite the bad rap. We’ve all heard the familiar complaints, they’re always on those darn phones, they just don’t pay attention and where oh where is the respect? Though, perhaps it’s time to cut the kids some slack and examine the root issues.
Truth is, the foundation for developing well-adjusted children begins in the home. Sure, it’s great having kids involved in sports, camps, after-school programs, having them spend time with friends and even providing quality babysitters, but the true foundation comes from home. Here are 8 habits that form well-adjusted kids.
8 Simple Habits for Raising Well-Adjusted Kids
1. Just Be There
This one is simple yet vastly important. As your children grow into adulthood it is the quality time you’ve shared that will form positive, nurturing memories. Your children are less likely to remember setting a video game high score as they are to remember an epic water gun fight, fishing at the lake or that time you went apple picking (1).
More benefits of being there (2):
- Enhances children’s self-esteem.
- Improves children’s attitude about school.
- Increases attendance at school.
2. Read Every Day
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Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves. Reading supports emotional well-being; children who are read to are less likely to have behavioral problems at school (4). Sold yet? How about this: time and again kids say the most special time they recall spending with parents is reading time. Now go and crack open that book.
3. Hug Them, A Lot
Hugging, along with making a kid feel loved triggers the release of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. This feel-good hormone has many important effects on our bodies (6). Hugs help to create smarter kids by stimulating the senses which helps grow a healthy brain. Gentle, nurturing hugs help keep kids healthy as the immune system is boosted by oxytocin. Spread the love and hug your child.
4. Structure And Routine. Structure And Routine
Routine gives kids a sense of security and helps them develop self-discipline. An ideal way of implementing these disciplines is through chores. We’re not suggesting kids assume the role of paying monthly bills, but small tasks such as helping to bring in the groceries, unloading the dishwasher or unloading the laundry can boost a kids self-esteem, instill work ethic and form good habits.
More character building, almost fun chores (5):
- Feeding the pets.
- Putting toys away.
- Gathering the mail.
- Lending a hand shoveling the driveway.
- Lending a hand raking the leaves or grass.
5. Straight From The Playground
Playing outdoors provides children with both physical and mental benefits. Playing outdoors provides children life skills they can use well into adulthood. The key here is to allow unstructured play time such as a trip to the park. The unscripted play time allows the child to adapt to the situation and exercise judgment and decision-making skills. A simple occurrence of waiting in line for the slide or monkey bars instills patience, discipline, sharing, and co-operation. Who doesn’t love a little fresh air and play time? (6).
More playing outdoors benefits:
- Reduces stress.
- Increases vitamin D levels.
- Creates emotional stability.
6. Time For Bed
Sleep is the building block for healthy brain development. Between school, chores, after-school activities, time with friends and homework most kids have put in a full day. After a full day, a good night’s sleep is as vital as nutrients or exercise. A well-rested child is more attentive at school, increasing the potential for learning and decreasing the potential of hyperactivity and ADHD (4).
Tips for good sleeping habits (9):
- Limit stimulating activities after dinner.
- Establish a consistent bedtime and routine: Wash up, read, lights out.
- No screen time within 1 hour of bedtime.
- Make the room as quiet and dark as possible.
7. Display A Healthy Relationship
Kids take their cue on relationships from their parents. This is their best point of reference on how people treat one another. A healthy relationship among parents helps kids feel safe and secure and provides strong likelihood kids will forge healthy relationships in their own lives (7).
Healthy relationship habits that set a positive example (8):
- Hug at least twice a day.
- Compliment each other.
- Hold hands often.
- Have a date night.
- Converse regularly.
8. Okay, I Forgive You
Forgiveness is a key element in the happiness of children. The act of forgiveness triggers positive emotions, cognitive morality, perception and control of emotions. Conversely, holding onto negative emotions leaves children stuck in traumatic situations which can cause depression and harmful stress. Children who forgive have a clearer, more peaceful mind which is conducive to better learning, creativity, and happiness (10).
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