“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” ― Pablo Picasso
When my Son was born, I silently wished he stays little forever so that we could cuddle all day long. Then I wished he could walk, talk and eventually go to school. As parents, it’s sometime hard to alleviate the fears of letting our children go into the World, for the first time, without us being present to monitor. We unconsciously go into an anxiety mode and literally drive ourselves crazy over every single detail. That was exactly what happened to me.
Yesterday, while picking him up from school, his teacher told me that he is a very intelligent kid and he is the only one in his class to be up to date with reading. Lo and behold! I know I have a loving an amazingly smart kid; however, coming from his teacher, I was floored. My son learned to read books at the age of two and drew his first car at the age of two and a half. My 5-year-old could tell you the name of a car just by its shape; how crazy is this? He recently acquired a science book, which he reads every day.
This is my approach on raising my kids (please, keep in mind that there are always exceptions to the rules).
- Television. I do agree that we should set limits on television viewing, not for most of the reasons I have read and or heard of. For instance, television is not the primarily source of violence contrary to what some might think. Children in general, mimic what they live. Raising healthy children has a lot to do with stability, availability, family structure and love. How we treat others, how we behave around our children, how we nurture them and how we make them feel mold their development. Be supportive and a good role model.
- Toys. It is never about the quantity; rather, the quality. Also, it’s not so much about the good reviews, but what works best for your child. That is why, as parents, we should know and understand our children in order to serve their best interests. Parents are ought to be the first and the best teachers for their children. We are the ones they admire and look up to. When we need a break from them, let us make sure we provide them with something useful. A toy that challenges their brain while keeping them entertained. When your children outgrow their toys, consider giving them to families in need or donating them to a charity.
- Outdoor Activities (for those without allergies and other medical condition) is a good way to help little explorers learn and discover Nature around them. From bug hunting, helping in the garden, flying a kite, drawing on a drive way and bike riding just to name a few. Outdoor activities are a good source of physical and mental health. They boost their passion for creativity and give them a sense of independency. Make sure they are well equipped before they venture outside (hat, sunglasses that blocks 99-100% of ultraviolet rays, sunscreen, encourage them to stay in the shade and give them water to stay hydrated).
- Discipline with love. Let them know their actions have consequences. Set limits to promote self-discipline and give them choices. I personally do not do time-outs. I understand it has its advantages; however a kid who knows his punishment for what he has done will start his time-out on his own to attempt to lessen it. In this case, the action-reaction becomes more mental and loses its effectiveness.
- Availability. The bottom line, be there for your children. Teach them, help them with homework, talk to them, guide them, encourage them, reach out and get involved in their lives. Let them know you are available for them whenever they need you and mean it. You can help them shine by beginning to focus on their strength and building on it.
- Patience. No one person is the same and each child learn at its own pace. You can’t rush them, you can’t force them and you can’t intimidate them. All you can do is support, encourage, be patient and watch them blossom. Every single child is special in its own way. Never compare your children to others because it lowers their self-esteem and they will never forget. Click here to read my “Innocence” Poem.
In the interim, I will continue being the best Mom and provider for him and allow the wonderful teachers to do the rest.