You are one of the most valuable resources your child has for learning about the world. Keeping these rules can help you give your child the best start possible.
First, have faith in your child’s intelligence. In far too many cases, children are underestimated so please remember that even if your child doesn’t possess a lot of knowledge, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn fast. Work off the assumption that children know more than you think they do, and don’t be condescending because there’s very little more annoying to any person than condescension.
Second, avoid using bribes. You can of course give a child pocket money if you wish and teach them how to save and invest it, but if you give money to make a child do something valuable, e.g. eating vegetables or reading a book, they’re only going to do it for money and never learn the real value behind those activities (i.e. feeling healthy and alert, and becoming smarter and better-equipped for school and life).
Third, give your child a reasonable degree of independence. Children with overprotective, strict parents will rebel and learn how to lie earlier, whereas children who feel they can develop at their own pace and talk to their parents in a relaxed way if something is bothering them will be much healthier in the end.
Fourth, don’t require total obedience. You are not raising a drone; especially in modern society, children are much better off being able to think critically and independently than just being willing to follow orders.
Fifth, explain your reasoning to your child. Stop just saying “Because I said so”, which discourages questions, because even if they’re annoying, questions are incredibly important for a child’s success both in school and in life.
Sixth, get involved in your child’s learning. If you want your child to do well in school, you need to be involved in their education almost from birth. Keep as many books as possible around the house; read to your kid some nights, and introduce some basic maths concepts other nights so that when they come across these subjects in school they’re familiar and comfortable with them.
Seventh, avoid hypocrisy. You have the power to shape your child, and they will watch both your words and your actions. So if those two don’t match, your kid may sense the dishonesty and guilt there and mirror you when they grow up.
Eighth, reward initiative in your child – if they go to pick some litter off the ground without being asked, that’s something to be celebrated, because other forms of initiative will serve them well in the real world.