Parenting is a challenge, and there is a lot of competing advice about how to raise children. Even though many people have strong feelings about their parenting choices, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. However, most experts agree on a few basic principles, including the following tips.
Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
There has been a lot of research demonstrating the powerful effects of a good night’s sleep on children. Insufficient sleep is known to correlate highly with a wide range of problems, including obesity, poor grades, and behavior problems. How much sleep do they need? While individuals may vary, experts recommend that toddlers get anywhere from 11 to 14 hours, school-age kids get 9 to 11 hours, and teens get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Help Them Avoid Sugar
While the occasional piece of birthday or ice cream on hot afternoon isn’t a problem, a regular diet that is high in sugar (including juices and sodas as well as sweets) puts a child at a higher risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. Sugar is addictive, so if parents can limit sugar early in life, children might be able to avoid sugar cravings as they get older.
Read To, With, And Near Them
Parents’ own reading habits have a huge effect on the reading habits of children. In fact, one study found a strong positive correlation between the number of books in a child’s home and a child’s reading level. When children have access to books and see their parents read for pleasure, they have more motivation to read and are more likely to read for fun. Reading aloud to or with young children is also a wonderful way to bond.
It’s Okay To Be Bored
Boredom is a common complaint for children, but studies show that unscheduled, screen-free time can promote creativity when children are forced to find ways to entertain themselves. The best way for parents to enforce screen-free time is to put away their phones and laptops and lead by example.
Ultimately, every parent has to decide what parenting methods make the most sense and work best for their kids. For more research-based advice about parenting, check this post.