In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday & my all-time favorite book as a child, Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!, here are some reminders of what I, and all parents, should practice as well as preach with our children. Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Appreciate what you have
Parents and children should be grateful for the opportunities and experiences given to them. Have an open discussion about what is important in life and spend a few minutes telling your children what you are grateful for that day, whether it be the food on the dinner table or the hugs they give you and ask them to share as well.
Children are faced with social and emotional situations that can influence opinions of themselves. Challenge your child to brainstorm ten positive words that describe who they are as an individual. To add a twist, switch and brainstorm words for each other.
Communicate through writing
The next time you or your child receives a gift or someone does something helpful, express your gratitude with a hand written note. Along with the personal feeling of a hand written thank you, it is excellent practice for children and a reminder to adults that we learned to write for a reason!
Do your homework
We can always learn something new. Model this for your children, who should be studying and doing homework daily. Make this a family event by sitting down to do homework with your child and showing them that even as an adult practice makes perfect!
Encourage new interests
Encourage your children to be brave and try something new, such as a different sport or ask them to join in while cooking dinner. They may find they enjoy a new hobby they had not tried beforehand. Participate by trying something new as a family and experience the adventure together!
Foster your learning style
Discovering your child’s learning style will help them understand how information is processed and improve outlooks on life, school, work and personal relationships. Take a learning style survey with them to find out if they are a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner and foster the outcome by finding activities that will highlight these strengths.
Heighten your child’s awareness of the less fortunate by encouraging them to give back to society. As a family, collect old or unworn clothing and canned food to donate. Visit a soup kitchen together or make a monetary donation to a charity and explain the purpose of doing so with your child.
The next time you see someone struggling, whether it be carrying something heavy or trying to hold a door, offer your assistance. Teach this to your children by highlighting times when they can lend a hand to friends and family.
Identify your family
Creating a family tree is a wonderful way to illustrate the relationship between your relatives. Using a picture for each person, craft this with your children and add to it as your family continues to grow.
Keep the members of your household smiling by telling a joke of the day or have a pillow fight. A hearty belly laugh with your little ones will make everything better, even if just for a short time.
Promote physical activity by encouraging a family game of soccer or having a catch. If weather does not permit, there are indoor play areas that are great for running around and bringing the outdoors inside.
Listen to your gut
Trusting our instincts is an important skill to learn from an early age. Discuss how children should handle a situation that feels wrong or uncomfortable and cite examples of times this happened in your life.
Make new friends
Give children the confidence to form new friendships and find common ground with other children. You never know what you will have in common with someone unless you make an effort to get to know them.
Never give up
Show your children that if you set your mind to something you can accomplish anything. Illustrate that hard work and dedication can lead to success by sharing stories of times you overcame obstacles in your life.
Organize your world
Create an organized space for your family by keeping items such as toys, clothes, school supplies and house wares in specific places. Include your child in the process by having them help with laundry, putting away dishes and reorganizing a closet or drawer.
Paint the town red
Become explorers in your own backyards! As a family, discover a new park, a new restaurant or a new museum in your town or state. Chances are, you will find that you do not have to travel far from home to have a great time!
Pose a question of the day such as “How do caterpillars turn into butterflies?” Encourage your child to research the answer in school, on the computer and do the same research as a parent. On the drive home from school, during dinner or at bedtime you can share answers and interesting facts found throughout your research.
Relax with a book
Encourage children to relax by selecting a book to read together or read separate books in the same room. Create a cozy reading area for the family, filled with blankets and pillows to cuddle up on and get lost in a great story.
Say I’m Sorry
More often than not, accepting responsibility for your actions and giving a simple apology can help turn a negative situation into a positive learning experience. Model this behavior if you do something wrong and expect your child to do the same.
Tell the truth
Teach your children to be open and honest at all times. Lead by example and when they ask you a question, give an age appropriate, truthful answer that will show them that no matter what the consequences are, it is better to be honest.
Understand your strengths
Realizing where our strengths lie is an important lesson. Support your children’s strengths and if they realize they are more skilled at one activity versus another, explain with examples, that you are also better at certain things and that it is perfectly OK!
Teach your children to be comfortable expressing their emotions by modeling this behavior. If this is difficult for them, read children’s books centered on feelings or encourage this expression through drawing or acting.
Walk with dignity
Educate children on the importance of staying true to who they are and sticking to their beliefs all the while acting in a classy, appropriate manner. Share examples of how they can act with dignity in different situations through role playing.
X-ray your meals
Take a closer look at what you eat on a daily basis. Your meals should be full of colorful, healthy food. Challenge your children to include at least three colors from the rainbow on their dinner plates.
You can make a difference
Promote this outlook on life with your children by arranging a family activity to raise money for causes around the world. Feeding impoverished children or raising money to rebuild homes destroyed by a natural disaster are great ways to make a difference.
Half of talking is listening. Help children understand the importance of hearing what others have to say in order to be sensitive to other’s feelings and opinions.
TheMommaFiles makes another contribution to Parents.com!
Read here for my 11 Activities to Encourage Creativity.
As Jack gets bigger, so do his toys. They grow in quantity and number but my house seems to stay the same size. Sometimes it looks like a toy store exploded in my living room. I know many of you can relate. When it comes time to clean up, I am attempting to make Jack part of the process. He is still too young to help me put away his toys but I have been very diligent about talking to him when I am cleaning up. If there was a fly on the wall, it would definitely be laughing at me as it hears me telling my 11 month old that it is “clean up time” and “it is time for Jack’s toys to go back where they belong”. I am not naive to the fact that he doesn’t understand exactly what I am saying but what I know for sure is that he watches everything I do with watchful eyes. Continue reading »