If you're a parent, it's probably a given that you want your kids to succeed in life. But in reality, most people grow up to be just average and some individuals have things which don't go their way at all. If you truly want your children to have the best shot of rising to the top, you need to expend real effort, time, and attention to steer them in the right direction. Here are several things the best parents do, according to research.
1. They allow their kids to be bored
While you might think that kids who don't have enough to do get into trouble, constructive boredom is actually important for their mental and emotional growth. Researchers have found that when people are constructively bored they look for and find satisfying activities to fill the void. In this way, boredom forces young people to be creative when they pick up a book, build a fort, make cookies, draw something, or turn on the computer. If parents are constantly scheduling activities for kids, they don't learn how to find things to do with their own leisure time. One of the best things you can do: Make them go outside. Experts say when kids play in nature, they are more apt to come up with their own games.
2. They live in areas with a lot of vegetation
Researchers studied satellite images and data regarding more than 900,000 people in Denmark and determined that children raised in areas with the lowest levels of green space had up to a 55 percent higher chance of having a psychiatric disorder. They believe it's because areas with trees, grass, and other vegetation support mental restoration, promote exercise, provide a place for people to be social, and bolster the immune system.
3. They read to their kids
If you want teenagers who do well academically, start by reading to your kids and talking with them about books before they even enter school. Researchers tested 229 German children when they were between the ages of 3 and 5, and then again when they were 12 or 13 years old. The little kids with parents who read to them, talked with them about books, and included books about numbers and counting ended up having higher reading and math skills when they were older.
4. They put their phones down
Researchers have found a link between behavior problems in kids with parents looking at their phones or using screens to pacify kids. It's because kids acting badly causes stress for parents who tend to use their mobile device as a distraction, either for themselves or for their kids. But doing so means they're missing head-up interactions that can help them be better parents. "We need to be watching, listening, and gathering evidence so we can respond in the right way and help our children develop their own self-regulation skills," pediatrician Jenny Radesky says.