Parenting Lessons that Will Last a Lifetime

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Many parents want to improve their parenting. When I ask kids what they want most to change in their house they usually respond with more family time. Running household errands and doing chores is not how children interpret family time together. Although those things are important to get done, what children really want is your undivided attention. American families are notorious for taking on more than we can handle. We are brought up to believe we can have it all. The truth is that there is always a price. Don’t let your overscheduled life hurt the ones who matter most. Here are some suggestions to ensure you are able to put your family first:

Quality Time: Spend time with your kids doing what they are interested in. Get into their world and their interests. Even if it’s something you don’t like or know nothing about it. Become interested in it for them. The best way you can build your kids up is to support them. Dads take your girls shopping and Moms go hit balls at the batting cages.

Pillow Talk: Spend time every day talking with your kids’ one on one. Spend fifteen minutes at night before bed talking to your child about their day, life, hopes, and dreams. If you have multiple children start with the child who has the earliest bedtime and then swap with your partner. Sometimes children have things on their mind and before bed they may decide to share it before going to sleep. A short nightly check-in is a way to show your child you are never too busy for him or her.

Family Rituals & Traditions: Many rituals and traditions I have with my children, my family did with me. Friday night was family movie night and in my house I have continued that with my children. I bake Pumpkin bread with my children every December just as my mother did with me. We go camping as a family as my family did with me. We have new rituals we have begun too such as family story time and Sunday family walks/bike rides. Children look forward to spending time doing things together. Start your own tradition and rituals. Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday Game Night, you get to decide and start making the memories with your children that will follow them for a lifetime.

Teaching Family Values: When we look at expectations we place on our children, sometimes we forget they are little people learning what we as adults already know. It is up to us to teach them the values that we feel are important in life. They will require learning it more than once and for multiple years. Come up with a list of family values and make parenting decisions based on those value systems. What are you trying to teach your child? Are you teaching honesty, integrity, patience, kindness, or self-control? Maybe you are teaching teamwork which is why the entire family works together in the yard on Saturday morning. “We are a family that has to work together and pitch in, so everyone at 10am has to be ready to work.” Maybe you are teaching patience and kindness so when that driver cuts you off; you decide to not get frustrated. It is important to not only tell your children how to behave but to model it for them too. Live the life of values you are trying to teach. Live your example.