As complicated as kids make our lives, they also, somehow, help us to simplify as well. While we may be learning the difference between ibuprofen and acetaminophen, we are also figuring out which is more important the extra-curricular class or being together for dinner each evening. I can't help but notice that we parents tend to make our own lives slightly crazy by all of the complicated decisions we must make for the sake of our children. Decisions ranging from health care to education choices to lifestyle choices.
Should we use only organic foods? Is it too cool to go without a sweater? Should we give our children allowance, how much and how often? How open should we be about sexuality? Which are the best books to enhance character development? Which doctor is kid-friendly and homeopathic? Which doctor does not use natural treatment options? Should we get her braces? Does a child really need to take a second language? Is it too early for him to take the bus by himself? What should my child know about war? Minecraft: yes or no? Should my child have a cell phone? Which apps are ok? When should she start paying for her own snacks at the movies? How much TV is ok? Which shows?
It can be pretty awful and that's just a tiny drop in the bucket! Dang, sometimes weeks go by where I haven't worried about something all night long...
It can be tough figuring out where to put our energy for the benefit of our kids. But when we go to the experts, the kids themselves, they tell us their secrets: we find out what is truly important to them. I found this on lifehack.org and has to pass it along to you.
- Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little. Last night, after reading this, I went upstairs and tucked each kid in, again. And they were both so snugly and happy about that.
- Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately. Not surprising, actually, because this is exactly what I want from them!
- Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around. It doesn't even have to be a special activity, just bring one kid with you when you go shopping, to pick up the cleaning or prescriptions, or just to take the mail up to the post office. Just a few minutes together can really bring a sparkle to their eyes! Bonobo likes to hang out with me for chores that I run and The Doctor likes us to sit together when we read our own separate books.
- Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy. While my own kids don't appreciate this on a daily basis, overall they have told me how grateful they are for the many different fruits and veggies that they have tried.
- At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend. Thinking about the freedom we have on the weekends to include Jerry in our trips really takes the planning up a few notches!
- At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc. The deep, dark just invites closeness and intimacy. We have, lately, been playing cards at the table with most of the lights off in the house. Our little table becomes the focus. And OMGoodness do we laugh!
- Let me play outside a lot. Without a doubt, Bonobo gets the most joy of the day from uninhibited free play. But the The Doctor, too, sparkles after a quick trip around a couple of blocks. Admittedly it is BEAUTIFUL down here!
- Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together. They especially like it when I watch their favorite shows...again...no matter how ridiculous I find them...
- Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care. Would it surprise you to hear that The Doctor has, more than once, thanked me for putting limitations and expectations on her? She has! She has told me that she is actually grateful for me having her wait until she is older before she could date. She said it let her relax about it and not fret about not having a boyfriend yet.
- Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag. This one is a family tradition from way back, borrowed from my sister Brenda. No one goes on a long trip or an overnight without ruffling through their bags for notes!
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