Do you look at some parents and wonder how they do it? You’re not the only one. Before putting yourself down over your parenting skills again, take a look at the habits of highly-effective parents and make adjustments as needed. Remember, everyone is doing the best they can, and there’s no one correct method for raising children!

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Talk To Them

Talk to your kids! Some 88 to 98% of the words children use by age 3 are because of listening to their parents. The more you speak with them about, well, anything, the better their functional vocabularies will be. Research has shown average conversation length has a strong link with children’s reading abilities and IQs. Talk to your kids about animals, books, assorted activities…anything helps!

Let Them Play

Make certain your children get enough playtime. Play is essential to executive function skills, which involve enhanced memory, task flexibility, self-regulating abilities, problem-solving, and reasoning. Think of Finland’s example: for every 45 minutes of instruction, kids get 15 minutes of unstructured playtime. Finland has one of the top education systems in the world, so it’s something to consider.

Read To Them

Speaking of books, read to your children. Studies indicate parents who read to their kiddies for at least 20 minutes per day have kids about a grade level ahead of children who have not enjoyed this pastime by the age of 15. Third grade reading levels are used to predict success in high school, so the earlier you start, the better.

Reduce Their TV Time

Don’t subject your children to too much TV! Children under 2 should not watch television according parenting experts, as the “tube” really does overload the visual part of the brain and greatly affect creativity level. Additionally, one or more hours of TV a day reduces a child’s ability to concrete and otherwise succeed in school.

Snuggle With Them

Snuggle with your younglings, whether rocking them in a chair, hugging them, kissing them, etc. Smile and sing to them, as all of these things provide children with the help they need for optimal brain development. It also shows how much you love them!

Encourage Their Creativity

Encourage your children’s creativity, whatever form it comes in. This contributes to self-esteem and makes them more confident in an uncertain world. It may take a while for your little ones to discover what they’re best at, but as long as they have your support, they’ll do just fine.