Children and families have so much on their plates today that it is challenging at best to find simple, everyday ways to celebrate our children. The unintentional risk that we face is silencing our children’s voices, the uniqueness that makes them who they are.
We find ourselves reacting to a huge ‘to-do’ list and miss opportunities to celebrate our children. We wake up, make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, get us ready for work, check emails, get lunches ready…and it continues through the day and after work.
It’s exhausting and it’s not your fault. The ‘to-do’ list is not going away anytime soon.
The world we live in is not slowing down.
The good news is that we can find simple, everyday solutions to celebrate our children. It just takes a P.A.R.T.Y.
P: Be present in our children’s lives
This can be as simple as paying attention and responding to the conversation. I once asked my nephew, who was about 5 at the time, what was the best super-hero power to have.
He started by saying, “flying” then he corrected himself and said, “x-ray vision” and as I intently listened to him he said, “No, actually Aunt Lisa, I want to be able to change into things because then I could be a Cheetah and run fast or a bird and be able to fly. I could help my brothers and sisters.”
If I had cut that conversation short, I would have missed the gift of his brilliance. Being present is one of the best ‘presents’ we can give our children.
A: Accept the moments
It’s not difficult to accept the moments that warm your heart but what about the tantrums and the arguments? I’m not advocating that we allow disrespectful behavior.
I am advocating that we give ourselves a break and accept that these moments will happen and look for the lessons in them. Just like us, our children’s lives are shaped by how we respond to all the moments, especially the challenging ones.
R: Recognize their natural learning styles
Our children are born with natural learning styles. Some are kinesthetic learners who need to interact with their environment.
Give them toys that allow them to be hands on and make homework assignments three-dimensional. Other children are born with the gift of imagination.
These children need to put their spin on things. Give them toys that foster their creativity and structure homework by allowing them to act out a book prior to writing the book report.
For children who ask the ‘why’ questions, embrace their curiosity with science toys. Structure homework in a way that promotes exploration and researching answers.
T: Teach by example
Our children are always watching. They see how we behave when a driver cuts us off or how we look at our phone for messages during dinner.
They see us hug our spouse, exercise and choose to eat well. Celebrate our children by celebrating yourself.
Shout it out! Celebrate our children by shouting out how amazing they are!
Tell them how great they are and get specific. Why?
Because a “You did great in your school’s play” is not the same as “I could tell that you really practiced your lines. Your performance was wonderful.”
By being specific, we intentionally give our children a road map that they can follow again and again.
All it takes is a P.A.R.T.Y and the celebration is sure to be a success!