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How to Future Proof your Kids
There’s a longstanding joke that parenting doesn’t come with a manual. (Who knows why, as it would write itself: Chapter 1. Coping with sleep deprivation. Instant bestseller.) Truth is, there’s a lot about parenting that you figure out straight out of the gates simply because you have to: how to change a nappy without gagging, how to bathe a child when they transform into a slippery seal upon contact with water and how to sneak vegetables into just about anything. But as they get older, the parenting how-to’s keep coming and once you lift your head up and emerge from the all-consuming baby phase, there’s still a lot to learn. Here are a few key actions you can kickstart now that will mean so much more later on.
1. Broccoli rules!
Recent research shows that taste preferences develop as early as the foetal stage and breastmilk can also influence your baby’s future tastebuds: a broader range of foods consumed by Mum can lead to baby being more open to different tastes. Setting up healthy food habits while your child is a toddler will help them reach for healthier options as an adult. If your child has a lot of salty foods now (for example), they may develop a palate that needs a lot of salt as an adult. The same applies for fatty and sugary foods. So do encourage your child to try new, fresh and healthy foods. Most importantly, have fun in the kitchen. Let your child help you shop, prepare and sample the healthy foods you’re cooking. Eating meals together is smart too – your kids are more likely to try new things if they see you eating (and enjoying) them too.
2. The money stuff
Establishing a savings account for your kids by depositing a set amount on a regular basis is a great way to kick-start their savings. This kind of planning is smart, but planning for and protecting your own income is just as important. It can be awkward to talk about – or even think about – some ‘what if’ scenarios but simple steps can be taken to properly insure yourselves for any bumps in the road – particularly when you have a family to provide for.
3. The real cool kids
Experts say developing solid emotional awareness can make your child more resilient, responsible and successful as an adult and it makes sense that a child raised to be aware of their emotions – and others’ – will have an easier time managing complex situations when they are an adult. Empathy will help your child develop hope, gratitude and compassion and an adult who can express their emotional needs while relating to others around him or her is obviously going to have more happy and nourishing relationships. Listening, naming feelings and validating emotions are all a great start for creating cool, calm children.
4. Appreciate books
Your child may be short in stature but their brain is huge in absorbency! Learning to love reading is a gift you teach your child. Take the time to read to your child as often as you can. Remember, reading doesn’t have to be reserved for bedtime. Anytime will do. Get to know your local library – not only can you borrow a variety of books, but they often have fun (and free!) classes for pre-schoolers.
5. Get moving
In addition to healthy eating and nurturing your child’s love of learning, it’s important to teach your kids a love of exercise. Regular exercise is a great habit for everyone, but it’s much easier to keep up later in life when it becomes a habit at a young age. Exercising together sets a great example for your kids. Go swimming as a family or take a hike together. If you only have 15 minutes, take a ball into the backyard and kick it around together - not only will you be exercising together, but you’ll be making memories, too.
While there may be plenty of parenting fails along the way parenting fails these are some no-brainer foundations you can set up now that will help your kids nail the future you dreamed of for them, right back when you were eating those hot chips and cheese pasta.
Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal, personal or accounting advice. Seek your own independent advice before engaging in a transaction.