Having nieces and nephews run around our home is not a common occurrence. Two live in another state, one is away at college, and yet another–well this “Neni” just can’t quite schedule her into my über busy planner. I have a better chance of seeing a Blood Moon than baby sitting anyone’s kid at any given time.
So my “experience” in parenting is snatched from an article read here and there, several college level courses in human behavior/development, meaningful work as a social worker with preschoolers and adolescence, impromptu baby sitting requests, taking a child during Sunday service for a few minutes, and watching life long friends raise their children from infancy to adulthood. I’ve managed to throw that all in a bag and come up with a few things I know to work.
Turn Off The TV
My niece walked in on me watching Supernatural the other day. Anyone whose watched this show knows it is not Blues Clues or whatever that doctor girl’s name is. I had to find Andy Griffith as my extra station each time she decided to walk back in the room. That would get old real quick if she actually lived with me. Age appropriate television watching is hard to find these days. Time their tv watching carefully and keep it to a minimum. You want to raise kids that use their own imagination and not rely on other’s.
Take Them Outside
Keep your little one’s activity level going throughout the day. Kite flying, beach-going, martial arts, ballet, tree climbing, whatever it is, keep their healthy bodies going. Obesity is no longer just an old man’s problem.
Use every waking moment as your classroom time. From practicing math when you bake cookies to problem solving during a sibling spat, turn it all into a lesson. I took along my 7 year old niece on a clothes shopping expedition. Between comparing and contrasting utensils in the kitchen aisle and stressing the difference between “matching and complementing”, that little girl is well on her way to becoming a domesticated diva.
Every Kid Is Special
So your five year old just scored a 24 on the ACT and is headed to Stanford.
That’s all fine and dandy. Just tame that parent tongue and watch what you say about other parent’s little geniuses. Having them eat cereal on their own and clean up after them self is not cause to break out the marching band. They are expected to increase in levels of responsibility. Worse thing you can do is raise a self-centered brat. He or she won’t have too many play dates. Jumping up and down alone in a bounce house is not cute.
Don’t Hover, Don’t Snow Plow
Helicopters are really noisy and no one wants to stand near one for too long. Helicopter parents are no different. Let your child fall and scrape their knee. Unless they are hemophiliacs, it’s okay if they bleed out a bit. They won’t be a child for too long and no one wants to see you at the job interview giving the evil eye when they turn your baby away. Pushing your child to do what they really don’t want to do will only breed resentment. Little Johnny came to you and said that football wasn’t for him. Respect his wishes and find something else to get him active in.
So no, I’m not the poster mom of the year much less the poster mom to be. But it’s oh so much fun to sit in the best seat in the house and see parents do their best (and sometimes not so best) at the most important job in the world.