1. Do not have more biological children then you have adults living under one roof. Being outnumbered is how you lose wars.
2. If you ask any adult how dinner time went for them as a child we all have some variation of “I couldn’t get down from the table until I ate everything on my plate”. When you think about that, and you consider how obesity is on the rise, I can’t help but wonder if we were all raised with food complex’s and how we are digging our own graves. So I don’t make my kids eat everything. And if they don’t want what we are having, they can make themselves a sandwich or a bowl of cereal. We talk about healthy food choices, carbs, the harm of salt and we drink milk or water with every dinner. I’d rather not give my kids a food complex and instead teach them healthy food habits. Maybe that’s just me.
3. Raise your kids with whatever faith/beliefs/values you would wish upon them if you were suddenly laying on your deathbed. Moms die. Moms of young children die. You will wish you had instilled upon them your most important beliefs. Don’t wish for it. Make it happen.
4. Playing your kids against each other isn’t the worst idea. For example, the new rule in our house is whatever you leave out of its place at the end of the day goes into a designated bin. If you want your item back, you do a chore. The twist is you can do a chore to gain possession of your sibling’s item as well. This will result in either A) clean rooms or B) a clean house. Either way, I’m happier.
5. It’s okay to show weakness to your kids every so often. Letting them see you cry or admitting you are having a bad day shows them you are human. It allows them to know it’s okay to experience those emotions. On top of that, it tells them that if they are feeling those things and need to talk they can come to you, because they saw first hand that you understand.
6. Time out isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a useful tool for the rest of your life to be able to recognize when you need to step away from a situation and take a few moments to yourself before trying again. Parents, stop giving the phrase “time out” a bad name! And whatever you do, don’t use the bed as a timeout spot. That’s just confusing. Kids should enjoy the comfort of their bed, not have anxiety over being in it.
7. Let your children be themselves. Yes, it’s very entertaining and adorable to dress them up how you find cute and parade them around. You will regret not letting them have the opportunity to gain a sense of self. Allowing your children to be themselves is far more rewarding and adorable. I promise you that.
8. Do not underestimate the power of reading to young children.
9. Do not underestimate young children.
10. Get to know your children. Find out what makes them happiest and what makes them tick. Then you will know adequate punishments and rewards. This will differ per child. I have one child who’s worst punishment is writing book reports. I have another child who’s worst punishment is wearing a boring outfit with no accessories for an entire day. Figure out what works and when it stops working, get even more creative. Outwitting your children is the goal.
11. Make time to snuggle.
12. Teach your children the value of natural consequences. For example, if you don’t wear a coat you will be cold. If you don’t wear shoes your feet will hurt…eventually. If you don’t eat lunch at school cause you are too busy chatting, you will go hungry. If you are there telling them what to do every single step of the way, they won’t learn, they’re hardly listening to you anyway. Give your children the chance to learn real life. Recently my oldest broke her eye glasses when she was having a fit (she’s 12). Do you think I had them fixed for her? Not a chance. She had to ask different optometrists for assistance, explaining what happened, till she found a place that could fix them. Then she had to spend her own money on the replacement parts. Her exact words when the ordeal was over, “I will never make that mistake again”.
13. Teach your children to find the lesson in their mistakes.
14. Do not force your children to say “I’m sorry”. Doing so makes the words become empty. Before you know it they will automatically say it without even considering what they are saying. It becomes a habit. Instead, teach them what the words mean so when they are sorry, they will know what to say. When your child hurts another child, teach them to fix it. Teach them to hug their sibling, to hold cold wash cloths on owies, and to listen to what the hurt person has to say. Teach them empathy.
15. Teach your children to recycle and to care about the earth. The planet needs our help. The more people we have on team green, the better.
16. Find ways to show them the art of giving back. Lead by example.
17. “Do as I say and not as I do” seems like a great idea. It will never happen. “Monkey see monkey do” is a more realistic phrase when it comes to parenting. Don’t forget this.
18. Don’t keep sugar and soda from them 100% of the time. It’s okay to have a family movie night once a month and enjoy a soda and treat. The lesson is moderation. If you don’t teach your children moderation, you will only have yourself to blame when the bingeing starts.
19. Joke with your children. A sense of humor is such a viable tool in life. Tell jokes. Laugh at their jokes. Have some fun with sarcasm. Watch funny youtube video’s together. But teach them to never ever laugh at the expense of other’s.
20. Say I love you every single day.