Every parent desires to raise children who are successful and happy. But there is just so much advice out there it is difficult to know who to listen to. It’s really not all that hard, and you don’t need to be super-smart to raise well-rounded kids.

Any parent heading home with their very first child will be a little nervous about this whole parenting thing. You want to do your best, but really don’t even know where to start. And it’s not like you get a baby that comes with a manual.

You can shop Amazon for a few of the thousands of books available that teach you how to raise your kids. Your parents just smile at you and tell you to go with your gut instincts. And you have friends who are more than eager to dole out advice, even the ones who have never had children. It seems as though everybody is an expert.

We are going to make it easy on you and give you a few basic strategies you can implement into your routine. River Valley Pediatrics, your pediatric clinic in New Braunfels, offers these tips for raising happy and healthy kids.

Spend Time with Your Kids

You might spend a lot of time in the same room as your children, but you need to make sure you are actually spending time with them. It is great if you are sharing a moment in the dining room, but not if you are on your phone scrolling Facebook or checking work emails.

You need to engage with your children and be there to play with them, read them books, look into their eyes while talking with them. You want to learn everything you can about your children. Talk with them about their friends, their fears and their wins and losses that happen to them every day.

They need to know that they are your priority in life. Nothing comes before your children.

Be Happy Yourself

Your kids will feed off of your emotional state-of-being. That is, if you are depressed, it will reflect in how your children act. Emotional problems in parents can be linked to emotional problems with kids. Also, unhappy parents are less effective parents.

And if you start spending more quality time with your children, you might just start feeling better about yourself and release your sadness and depression.

Celebrate as a Family Often

Happy families celebrate all of the big and small life events. Even if the week is busy, good parents take the time to celebrate a gold star for a book report or a week without a sibling argument. OK, let’s be realistic. You celebrate a day without a sibling argument.

Happy families lead to happy children, so celebrate as a family as often as you can.

Have Family Meals

Children who have meals with their family on a regular basis are happier and tend to grow up and be successful adults. We are not making this up, there are studies that prove this. Studies show that children who have regular family meals have greater self-confidence, get better grades and have a larger vocabulary. These children are also less likely to do drugs, smoke and develop psychological issues.

Be an Excellent Role Model

You cannot set certain expectations for your children and not live up to them yourself. Your kids are like sponges and they take everything in. This means they are learning how to deal with things the way you deal with them. So if you get angry and yell, that is how they think to handle that situation.

You need to pay attention to how you care for yourself and how you deal with everyday situations.

Teach Them to See Beyond Themselves

You need to teach your children that the world is a big and diverse place. Your children need to learn about other cultures, other people and other living conditions. It is not always pretty, but you are expanding their world in doing so.

You also need to emphasize how to be kind to others. Whether it is the bus driver, the greeter at Walmart or the referee at their soccer games, it is important that they treat them with care and kindness.

Healthy kids also need to see their pediatrician on a regular basis. Give River Valley Pediatrics a call today.