Following are the values I follow while parenting and I am happy to discuss practical techniques to implement any of them. Please share yours or feel free to comment on mine. :
- Health (physical and mental) is everything. Though Junior is not old enough to understand what it really means by a healthy mind, he seems to be developing a fine sense of recognizing and expressing some common emotions. Because of ongoing discussions around the household, he is becoming more aware of what is healthy in terms of food habits as well as activities. (But yes, we do have treats around the house and days when we laze around doing nothing)
- Monkey see, Monkey do – this is a big one for us now. The older our son gets, the more he picks up on the underlying meaning of our behaviour too. So we try and keep it simple and model right behaviour. (But yes, we stuff up frequently enough and use that as opportunity to apologise for our behaviour – making a learning experience of it all). From a very early age, we have given Junior the permission to express his opinions/disapproval of things that we do as parents. Surely he tells us off for not giving him ice cream on a 10 degree C day and we know hes being cheeky but he also tells us when we have used an inappropriate tone with anyone for example or not used our manners!
- Speaking of manners – they are just so important and go a long way
- Responsibilities appropriate for their age – children need to take accountability for the consequences of their actions and pull their own little weight and help out around the house. This not only fosters their sense of independence but boosts their confidence and sense of self worth. (Added bonus that it makes life a little easier and the house a little more liveable for all of us lol). We have a Responsibility Chart in the kitchen (http://www.melissaanddoug.com/magnetic-responsibility-learning-chart) that encourages Junior to keep himself in check in terms of what needs to be done before the day ends in order to get all his magnets (stickers) and saves me from having to repeat myself over and over for things to be done. You could easily print your own custom chart or even hand-write one. Make sure you include everything from make your bed to stop whinging and keep about 7 or so ‘responsibilities’ for the day that can keep changing weekly or daily if you wish. I will post a picture of mine soon.
- Routine Routine Routine – I like knowing whats on the agenda and so do my children from a very early age. They know what to expect when and it makes planning easier for me. With Junior growing up we are flexible on weekends with things such as TV time or late sleep times but on weekdays I run a tight ship.
- Communicate – not just talk but L I S T E N. And not just hear the words or lack there of coming from their mouth, but what they REALLY mean. Kids arent always great at expressing themselves and more often than not parents tend to minimize or dismiss what they are expressing. We as parents need to teach, allow and encourage the kids to express themselves in an effective manner. Emotional Intelligence I say 🙂
I am sure I will keep editing, well mostly adding to this document when its not 11pm at night 🙂
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