A child’s formative years is crucial in their development. It is when you may begin teaching them early life skills and setting the foundation for their moral values and academic learning.
And since they’ll enter primary school during this period, your child may also start showing signs of being an overachiever or learning how to become one. This is a joy to every parent, but it’s also worth noting that our parenting style will significantly impact the way our children regard achievements. Is it about medals and straight A’s? Or moral values that will help them grow as compassionate and empathetic adults?
Some parents emphasise high grades and other academic achievements that they forget to ensure their children’s happiness. While there’s nothing wrong in setting the bar high for their studies, children are capable of so much more than high grades and medals.
That said, if you want to raise happy and overachieving children, here are the Do’s and Don’ts to note:
Do: Give them a high-quality education.
It is a parent’s duty to educate their children, of course, but if you want your children to gain exceptional skills and a global outlook, consider an international primary school. They’ll be learning under an American curriculum, which has a framework that includes language proficiency, competency with numbers, cultural and social development, critical thinking, and confidence. Such skills will mold them into a highly-capable child that’s open-minded and aware of the world around them.
Though an American curriculum isn’t necessary in instilling those amazing skills in a child, it’s more advantageous because it will open your child’s eyes to the world at an early age. They’ll be exposed to a diverse environment early on, making them understand cultural differences, different languages, and international customs, things that people usually learn from studying or working abroad.
Don’t: Set unrealistic expectations.
Every parent has expectations from their children, but these should be limited to realistic behaviours or accomplishments only. For example, if you sign them up for a sports clinic, it’s okay to expect them to become more conditioned and skilled at their sport, but not to become fit for Olympics or any major sporting event right away. Those milestones take time, and sometimes, your child may not even reach it because they’ve lost interest or are meant for something else.
Still, don’t feel anxious or upset when your child doesn’t come home with medals or top marks. Instead, take time to discover what they actually love to do because chances are they thrive in it. And when you allow them to engage in their interests and passions, they’ll always surpass your expectations.
Do: Help them reduce homework stress.
Instead of pressuring your kids to finish a mound of homework in one sitting without help, guide them. Some overachieving kids can put pressure on themselves, too, especially if they’re innately competitive. Hence, your assurance and guidance are critical. Schedule a downtime before they get burnt out. Establish a routine that doesn’t revolve around studying. Giving your kids ample time to relax their brains and unwind will help them maintain a healthy balance between studies and leisure. It’ll make them appreciate their own well-being, not just their grades and academic achievements.
Don’t: Discuss the future often.
Children are naturally excited about the future. They like to dream of what they want to be when they grow up. But when you discuss the future with expectations of what they should already be at a certain age — for instance, telling them that they should become a lawyer or a doctor after college — your child will feel pressured to attain straight A’s on all their subjects, because otherwise, they’d be a failure.
Do: Give them praise.
Nothing is more motivational than being praised for your hard work. Even if your child doesn’t get the medal or earn the number one spot, they still are their biggest supporter. Don’t nitpick on their harmless mistakes, and focus instead on their triumphs. If they fail, let them know that they can always try again and that failure is part of growing up. Their independence in their achievements will help them make healthy choices that will be essential in their happiness and adulthood.