?How to help kids reach their potential

Feb 26, 2014 at 3:20 a.m. ET

Here are a few ways you can support your children to achieve their very best.

Photo credit: morgueFile

As parents we all want the best for our children, and generally this means that we want them to be their best. So how do we allow them to flourish and grow in a supported way? Here are a few tips to help you do that.


Accept who they are, and honor and respect them. This doesn't mean accepting poor behavior, but it can mean accepting that they have a different opinion, and different strengths and weaknesses.

Be a sounding board

Just like adults, children often need someone to talk to about their options. They need to have a safe environment to be able to research and consider possibilities.

Reward effort

Most of us don't do things perfectly the first time, and children are no exception. We need to encourage them to put in their best effort, even if the results are not perfect.

Be positive

This is similar to rewarding effort, but slightly different. The trick here to look for what they did well, and say positive things about their strengths, rather than being critical of their shortcomings.

Encourage dreams

Often, even as adults, we're really only constricted by the barriers we create in our own minds, and it's the same for children. Encouraging them to dream allows them to consider all the possibilities available to them.

Balance protection with independence

Sometimes we have to get out there and learn through our own mistakes. Doing this in a supportive environment makes this a safer and more reassuring option.

Encourage responsibility

Encourage your child to take responsibility for her own actions, whether they're successes or failures.

Always remember that your children are learning from your actions. If you hold yourself back, or demonstrate a fear of failure, your child will learn that behavior.