Cool School

I remember lying in bed the night before the first day of school.  I was so excited I could barely sleep!  My mother and I had gone through ten or more outfits before choosing the perfect ensemble for my entrance through the doors of my school…some of us felt this same anticipation and nerves before we became parents.  Now that we are parents we discover that school is ALWAYS in session and we’re constantly learning new things.

Whether your kids are headed back to a traditional classroom or not, all of us are in class.  In lieu of all the “back to school” commercials and ads I’ve endured over the last two months – I have a new kind of “school” for us to think about when it comes to parenting our children through any sort of transition.  Whether our kids are learning how to walk, potty-train, engage with a classroom of peers or going to college we will always be helping them lean how cool the school of life can be…

Let’s take a minute and go back to class: Parenting 101 –

Skip the speeches…At some point in our parenting life we will say the dreaded phrase: “Because I said so!”.  Those 4 words aren’t going to make or break our entire parenting career but our kids are smart and they know whether our words are in line with our actions.  Lecturing our children about telling the truth, giving their best and treating others with respect will mean nothing unless they see us living out those qualities every day – our actions will make much more of an impact than our words.

Catch them doing it right…As Mothers we are super busy, and with our full schedules it becomes easy to miss the positive things our kids do and focus only on the areas they need to improve.  This parenting approach is NOT natural for me.  I have to make a choice, each day, to “catch” my kids making good choices and doing the right thing.  It’s amazing that when my focus is on the positive I can handle their bad choices with a bit more grace and patience.  Our kids are amazing, God made them – isnt’ that enough?! Let’s be the radar that reminds helps our children recognize when they make the right choices in a situation.

Hold them as long as you can…Maybe it’s because my youngest is headed to preschool or because I have  a birthday this month but seriously – my kids are growing up so fast!  I don’t want to miss the moments I have right now to hold them, love them, listen to them.  Nothing in this world (including my phone, computer, work, etc) is as precious to me as my children and I refuse to miss these days of watching them discover who they are as a member of our family and a helper to this world.  ‘m going to stop typing and go hug my kids now 😮

Open up about YOUR experiences…Even if we don’t try to, we can seem indestructible and perfect in our children’s eyes. When we tell them stories when we were scared, embarrassed or frustrated; we show them that A) we survived and B) we’ll identify with them when they feel the same way. We don’t want to project our shortcomings or fears on our kids – they need to create their own destiny, but we can give God the glory and become a little more human in our kid’s eyes by being real and honest about our past.

Offer questions more than answers…One of my favorite challenges to mothers of children above the age of 3 is to ask lots of questions.  It’s kind of a fun game to play. When my boys come to me with a problem or they are caught making a bad mistake I don’t ask “Why did you do this!?!?!”.  That would be mean and I don’t think they would actually have an answer.  Instead, after explaining why their choice isn’t acceptable, I ask questions like “How do you think your actions made your brother feel” or “When you lie it tells me that I can’t trust you. Can you think of something you can do to help me trust you again?”.  Even when we are talking about the world and life I ask LOTS of questions:  Why do you think the sky is blue?  There’s an old building, what do you think it use to be used for?  Why do you think a bunny has such big ears?  Hearing their answers makes me smile at God’s creativity and then I’m not always coming up with the answers.

Look around…Whether we attend a weekly playgroup or a monthly Mom’s group – we need to have a resource beyond our own experience and family.  When we look around and connect with other moms we discover that we’re totally normal and our child is developing fine.  We might also find a NEW way to do things or a NEW question to ask our doctor because we notice developmental delays or differences. When we look outside  of our own experiences we keep ourselves from living in denial and in a vacuum.  I remember driving around, listening to my youngest and his best buddy talk in the back seat.  I started to smile when I realized I couldn’t tell which one was talking!  They sounded the same, said the same things, giggled just alike and I was loving it!  Just that week I had been a bit annoyed with how goofy my little guy was acting…but now I saw another 4-year-old acting the SAME way  and I had a new perspective. 

So, let the school bell of parenting begin and let’s make this year, this season, this week our best one yet! You’re doing a great job – visit our other posts to find all the organization/cleaning tips we’ve done during the summer and the games and activities we’ve enjoyed…I hope you enjoy them too!

Click on “leave a comment” if you have any other ideas or responses to this post – we love to hear from you!


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