If you’re like me, you think about what things your kids will thank you for someday. Kids aren’t well known for being grateful that often, but you can be sure that deep down somewhere they are, even if they don’t realize it yet. Parenting is never easy and you’re sure to feel mommy guilt often, but taking time for the things your kids will thank you for makes you both happy.
Even if all you can find in a hectic day is 15 minutes, time is one of the biggest things your kids will thank you for. Stopping what you’re doing to read a story, help with homework or walk the dog tells your child that you value him and that he’s more important than your phone game or that last load of laundry. Spend time with your kids each day doing something they need or want and they’ll know they can count on you for life.
2. Breaking the Rules
At my house, the television goes off when we eat a meal. So, now and then I let the kids watch a movie or cartoons during dinner and they love it! Occasionally breaking the rules is fun for kids and gives them memories they’ll never forget. So go ahead and stay up late on a school night once in awhile or have ice cream for lunch on the weekend. It won’t hurt anyone, but you’ll all be happy!
3. Limit Activities
In today’s rush, rush, rush society, kids sometimes think they need to do every activity and play every sport. I know I feel guilty that my kids have never taken a swimming lesson and can’t speak a foreign language. But they do get to go to Scouts and play one sport per season. They also have loads of play dates. But I like to spend at least half the weeknights at home together playing board games, reading or just having fun together. Your kids will grow fast and when they look back they’ll thank you for making them come home sometimes. Who needs to speak Latin anyway?
4. Teach Life Skills
Trying to teach my son to clean his bathroom was a disaster. It was pretty tempting to give up and just do it myself, but what does that teach him? Kids who learn to clean, cook and do laundry are going to be way better off when they move out and live alone. Even if your little one is still in preschool, start teaching her to sort and fold the clothes, wipe counters and pick up her own things. She may get mad now, but she’ll thank you someday.
You might know you’re right or you just want things your own way, but it pays to listen to your kids. They each have their own opinions and explanations. Listen to them and you might realize that you’re wrong or there’s an easier way. Even if you don’t change your mind, your child will know that you value what he has to say and care about what he wants and needs.
6. Fun Days
Life can get tedious and monotonous day after day going to work and school, doing chores and trying to get it all done. Once in awhile, just leave it all and do something fun. I let each of my kids have a ditch day from school each year. We go do something fun, have lunch together and buy a souvenir to remember the day. The next day might be doubly busy, but the beautiful smiles on my kids’ faces and the memories we create make it totally worth it.
Be a kid again! Kids love to play and yes, sometimes you simply have to do other things, but taking the time to play is good for you both. It gives you a fun break from your other obligations, but it also gives you a great way to bond with and learn more about your child. I get some of the best information from my son when we toss the football back and forth. Playing with your kids tells them that you take interest in what they do and you like being with them. Even if another round of Batman or Barbie makes you want to weep, do it anyway. I promise in 10 years, you’ll wish for tiny voices saying, “Mommy, will you play with me?”
I hope my kids have more than seven things to thank me for when they grow up. Homemade Halloween costumes, cookie baking, being classroom mom and letting them eat McDonald’s and watch SpongeBob at the same time, just to name a few. The truth is we’re all doing the best we can and our kids are sure to thank us for that! What do you hope your kids thank you for someday?