As parents we are the most important part of our children’s lives. We are their first and best teachers. We are the example and their lives will replicate ours whether we like it or not. If you don’t want your child to be, act, or do things a certain way you need to be the one that shows them how it should be done. Here are the 10 ways I try to be that example. Most days I fail but the important part is that I try.
1. Read- Daily
Children’s Brains are like sponges. The more you read to them the more they take in. From the time Monkey Man was born I have read to him every night before bed. He has grown to love books and stories and some he is able to memorize the entire story. All of this is teaching him.
2. Pray- 3x Daily
In order to show our son that everything begins and ends with God, we pray and read the bible in the morning, Pray before dinner, and before bed. Now I will be the first to admit that this sometimes falls through the cracks and I forget. Now with him being 4 years old, He realizes when we forget and reminds us. I hear him often in his room praying to God. Often times his prayers are along the lines of “God please make sure mommy buys me that toy truck for Christmas.” That’s ok, it is something important on his heart and he knows that he needs to go to God with everything.
3. Go to park- Weekly
Kids need to be out doors with other kids. I also use this as a teaching for my son. He has to learn how to make friends without a teacher or parent there to help him unlike preschool. He has to learn how to play outside instead of on a screen. I also teach him how to find a safe stranger. This is the most important for me. If heaven forbid we should ever get separated anywhere I do not want him going up to just any stranger for help. My boy is Very friendly. I want him to look for another mommy and know how to tell someone is a mommy. He knows to first look for a woman holding a baby or pushing a stroller. He knows if there isn’t one to look for any other children and who they are going to. If there are no other children, and no other mommies, he knows to start screaming so I can hopefully see him or so multiple people will see him and not just one person.
4. Play Dates- Weekly or Bi-Weekly
It is so important for kids to play with other kids that are not their siblings. Monkey man has no siblings right now, we are trying to work on that. He does have a group of friends from school that we get together with as often as possible. It is great for kids to learn how to deal with social issues.
5. Color- 3 Times a Week
Coloring allows them to expand their imagination. That tree that is always green and brown, they can now color it red and blue. Imagination is the best gift you can give to your kids. Let them have an imagination as long as possible. It helps them to get an idea of how to think outside of the box, problem solve, and strategize.
6. Say Your Sorry- Every Single Time You Make a Mistake
Parents make mistakes to. It is so important for our kids to know that. We are not perfect!! It is time we stop making perfect something we compare ourselves to! It is ok to make mistakes, how you handle them is what truly matters!
7. Have a Date Night- 2 x a Year
I am not talking about you having a date night You need that a lot more often to connect with your spouse or significant other, I am talking about you taking your child out on a date with just you. It is so important that we start teaching our kids how to date and respect each other again. When I was in high school a date was going out and having sex in the back seat of a car. I do not want my son to think that that is something that is ok. I want him to treat girls with respect. I want him to open the door for them and pull out their seats. I want him to get dressed up and take them somewhere nice. I want him to complement their personalities and not their bodies. This has to be taught starting at a very young age to make it come natural to these kids. By the way I love this video of this father taking his daughter on a date. Perfect way to show your daughter what to expect from a man! Don’t think it needs to just be mommy who takes the son and daddy who takes his daughter either. Men, Take your sons out and show them how to treat a girl. Women take your daughters out and teach them what to expect and never to settle for any less!
8. Donate Toys- 2 x a Year
We Donate toys at Christmas and before his birthday. Christmas we get rid of toys we don’t play with and we also pick out new toys to donate to toys for tots. It teaches them to be giving and kind hearted. We have also taken toys to children in the community who have nothing. Last year monkey man took some toys to a little boy who sleeps on a blanket and pillow on the floor. That made him appreciate everything he has so much more and made him want to give. Before his birthday we sort through toys as well.
9. Give Hugs and Kisses- As Many Times as you can but at least in Mornings, Evenings, and After Every Fight.
It is so important for children to know they are loved. Nothing is sadder than your child not being absolutely sure that you love them. Hugs and kisses are telling them without words and teaching them how to show others.
10. Tell Them How Much You Love Them- At The End of Every Conversation Good or Bad!
Tell them every time you talk to them. Say it every time you talk about them to someone. Make them know it without a shadow of a doubt. Before you stop a conversation end it with I love you. Even if you are still mad. Even if you are sending them to their room after they did something wrong. Even if they set their sisters hair on fire. Tell them that you Love them and do it without stopping.