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Being a parent is not an easy job, and being a good parent who is effective at what they do as a parent is even harder. However, making sure to be the best parent you can be now isn’t just about making your child’s present better- it’s also about helping to shape them into productive people later on.

In modern times, it can be hard to know what you should or shouldn’t do. What practices are most effective for your child can be difficult to see in an age where everyone believes they are a parenting expert. You may have various friends say “You shouldn’t be doing that, it is a waste of time,” or “Why aren’t you doing ______- every good parent knows they should.”

The thing is- there are most definitely practices that WILL improve your child’s life later on down the road and will help to shape them into the best person they can be.

1. Give them chores.

Without chores, everything that needs to be done will be done by someone else for your child. In turn, not only will they never learn how to do tasks on their own and for themselves, but they will also become more dependent on you as the parent to do it for them.

2. Enforce the rules.

Having rules is useless if not enforced. Make sure to set clear rules in place and then consequences for when the rules are not followed. Not only does this teach your child structure, it teaches them discipline and also shows them you are consistent and stand by your word.

3. Talk to your children.

Communication is everything. Even when your child is just a tiny one, who can barely talk, it benefits them for you to communicate and have conversations with them. Discuss anything and everything, ask them about themselves and have long conversations. You are setting the stage for how they communicate with others and how they relate to others.

4. Read to them.

Reading to your child not only exposes them to a higher vocabulary, but also teaches them to love reading. New concepts are learned through reading and being read to, and it also broadens their horizons and expands the mind.

5. Spend time with them.

When I say spend time together, I do not mean normal day-to-day tasks. Changing your child’s diaper isn’t quality time. In order to thrive, your child needs your undivided attention for at least 30 minutes each day, if not more.

6. Allow them to face challenges.

It can be hard to let your child face a challenge, because you may fear that they will fail or get hurt. However, when you do so, you rob them of a valuable opportunity to learn and to grow. Allowing them to be challenged is allowing them to grow and to evolve.

7. Ease your own stress.

Stressed-out parents can ultimately stress out their kids. Emotional contagion is a real thing and is when someone catches a feeling from another. When you are happy, your child is happy. And when you are upset and depressed, your kids are too.

8. Respect your child’s need for independence.

Even as a tiny little one, your child is going to want to be independent in some ways. While you can’t let them do whatever they want, you can allow them to start trying to do more on their own. By doing so, you are setting the stage for a strong and competent person.

9. Work.

Daughters of working mothers go to school longer and are more likely to have a higher-paying job according to studies. While you may worry that working is damaging your parent-child relationship, as long as you are doing what it takes to make sure they are still spending time with you and that their needs are met, it seems working benefits them.

10. Have some “me” time.

It’s easy to get caught up and to worry that you need to spend every minute with your child, but I promise you, you don’t. You need time to yourself and allowing yourself a break will make you the best possible version of yourself, so you can properly attend to their needs.

11. Teach grit.

Grit is a long-term and sustained interest that doesn’t waver towards long-term goals. In short, it’s consistency. Consistency in all areas of life is necessary to live a happy and successful life, so teaching your kids to be tenacious is a must.