Kids are a gift to us all. It should be exciting to watch them grow and learn new things. We have an opportunity to change the world, one kid a time. It’s a domino effect: one child headed down the wrong path slowly turns into ten, until eventually, all of the kids around us are lost.
As you get older you realize that the cool parents were actually just bad parents.
These are future role models for the next generation. We should be more considerate of what they’re exposed to. I created a small list of things that I consider important.
I hope to be of use to you.
Time: make time for them. It’s not enough just be in the same room as them. Quality time is key here. Giving them your undivided attention will teach them how to be in the moment and enjoy the people around them. Put down your phone and say hello. Make eye contact with them. Let them know that you actually see them.
Laugh: find ways to make them laugh. The simplest things can make a kid crack up. Help them find the humor in life.
Honesty: reward them for their honesty. Even if they’re in the wrong, let them know that it’s better to be wrong and honest, than right and lie. No matter how big or small the lie is, it’s still a lie.
Chores: as early as possible in their little lives, give them chores. The simplest duties will teach them responsibilities. It could be to put a napkin by every chair before dinner is served. It could be to turn off a light as soon as they exit the room. Whatever chore you decide to give them, stick with it. These are the moments that’ll follow them their entire lives.
Read and Write: read books with them. Before bed or before the bus passes in the morning. Stories last longer than any toy ever could. Also, write with them: It’ll start with their names. Then it’ll be a complete sentence. Before long, when it’s time for chores, they’ll be excused from them if they can write you a one page story.
Patience: this world moves too fast for us. Help them understand that there’s value in waiting for things. These kids will get older and think that what they want should arrive instantly. Teach them that fast doesn’t last. If it takes time, it will usually stick around longer.
Discipline: as much as you want to be your child’s best friend, the worst thing you can do is not discipline them enough. It’s important that you teach them right from wrong. Not just the big right from wrongs, but the little ones too. Be consistent rather than constant. There’s no need to always correct them. Instead, show them the core values of discipline.
Problem Solving: as a parent, the first thing you’ll want to do is help your child when they get stuck on something—don’t. Let them think things through and figure out how to overcome challenges on their own. Video games were great for me when it came to problem solving. At the age of 4, beating Super Mario was one of the first problems I solved on my own. Allow them to think they can do it. They might realize they can’t, and then get frustrated, but ultimately, it’s important for them to find ways around that particular problem.
Calm: teach them how to carry themselves in a calm manner. Whether that’s asking for something, or when they have a problem. Help them understand that yelling or being loud in those situations don’t work in their favor. The best way to get their point across is to do it calmly.
Love: most importantly, show them how to love. This starts with yourself. Love your life, love raising your children, and let them see that it’s a pleasure being their parent. If all they’re seeing is negative things, they’ll grow up being a product of their environment. Show them that the smallest things in this world can be beautiful.