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Successful Kids and 10 Habits of the Parents Who Raise Them

Parents, take notes!

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Young girl playing game with father at kitchen tableThomas Barwick/Getty Images

Raising successful kids

We’re always checking out other people’s parenting skills in an effort to raise successful kids. Should we make their bedtime earlier? Should we insist on piano lessons? We rounded up the parenting moves that do seem to spur kids on to greatness. Make sure to steer clear of the 52 worst parenting tips parents have ever received.

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Give children chores

When children are made to complete chores, they are shaping a work ethic from early on. Not only does this give them a chance to contribute to family life, but it also demonstrates that they play an integral role in the successful day-to-day functioning of their family. Doing chores also teaches children valuable skills that will be necessary when they head off to college and start their adult lives.

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Set high expectations

Parents of successful kids set high expectations for their children as well as themselves. More often than not, it encourages children to rise to the occasion. If college is the expectation, students will work toward that goal more readily than if a parent doesn’t bother mentioning it. What’s more, parents help their children succeed by modeling high expectations of themselves and demonstrating how to work hard to meet goals. It’s important to make sure that your expectations of your kids are realistic, however—they shouldn’t be led to believe they have to qualify for the olympics, graduate as valedictorian, or even keep their rooms clean 24/7—as the pressure to meet overly lofty goals can cause anxiety and ultimately backfire. Make sure you let your child do these things on their own.

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Get yourself educated

Statistically speaking, parents who have completed high school or college are more likely to have children who do the same. Parents who have not achieved higher levels of education might consider pursuing these educational goals in order to provide a good example for their children. As a bonus, studies show that higher education lowers blood pressure.

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Show them the good life

If you want your child to follow in your footsteps—getting a steady job, making a nice home, and having a family—it’s helpful to make it look appealing. That doesn’t mean never ever complaining or hiding the truth about real life from your children, but there’s something to be said for modeling a life that motivates your children to want to achieve success. If they see your hard work is paying off, and that it seems meaningful, they will be more inclined to invest in their own futures. Avoid these things that parents say that ruin their kids’ trust.

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Make friends with numbers early

Teaching math at an earlier age is not only an indicator of later success in mathematics but also in reading. Preschool now places a stronger emphasis on math skills in order to prepare students for the rigorous math expectations of elementary school and beyond. Giving your child a leg up on these skills will set them up for later success. We did an algorithm to ensure that these math jokes will make you smile (just kidding).

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Make time for bonding

Children who have a secure foundation with their parents are more successful than those who do not, regardless of socio-economic status. That doesn’t mean you have to take them to Disney World or to the movies every week, but you’d do well to read a book together at bedtime, share meals whenever possible, and generally make yourself available when they need you. By nurturing a strong bond with your children from birth, you’ll help them feel grounded and secure—and secure children are more likely to become successful adults.

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Teach troubleshooting

Parents of successful children give their kids the tools they need to solve problems, whether it means asking them how they think a word is spelled before dictating the answer, or prompting them to suggest solutions when problems arise. These moves help children develop the habit of trying to solve problems themselves, which leads to feelings of competence and confidence—invaluable skills for navigating adult life. These quotes about parenting are sure to make you laugh.

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Accept and recognize their feelings

Emotions are tough for a lot of people, especially kids. So it can be particularly helpful to teach kids how to recognize and verbalize their emotions. When children are young, attach names to their feelings, so they can speak about them intelligently. You might say, “I see that you’re feeling very frustrated,” or “I know it must be disappointing to have to miss your friend’s party.” Giving children the space to explore their emotions and helping them process those emotions will contribute to their becoming successful adults. Don’t miss the signs you’re raising an emotionally intelligent child.

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Try to chill out a little

Stressed out parents make for stressed out children. Learn to manage your own stress levels in order to provide a stress-free home for your children. Stress is contagious—don’t pass it on.

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Read to them

Reading to your child, even in infancy, demonstrates how communication works and elevates their verbal skills as they enter formal schooling. What’s more, reading with your child helps them build empathy and decision-making skills. Build up your reading this with 25 of the best children’s books ever written.