As 2017 comes to an end, we reflect on the past, present and the future. Life was so much simpler when I was a young child. OK.....I am dating myself but we had just 3 or 4 channels on our black and white television. We had no computers, smart phones or video games so we read comic books and borrowed books from the library. We played outside until dark, we did not wear bike helmets or seatbelts and we walked or biked to school. We all answered the family phone when it rang and my parents had conversations with my friends.
Life is so much more complicated for parents and children today. There is pressure from the time your child is born to get them into the right daycare or preschool. Kids hibernate in their rooms, playing games, searching the web or watching online videos as well as chatting/texting with their friends on cell phones. The pressure on children today is immense. Bullying is out of control and parents can feel overwhelmed if they suspect their child is struggling.
Parents need to take control of their children's success in life from the time they are small. We need to build their self confidence by helping them discover their strengths and encouraging them to be the best that they can be. We need to stop unhealthy practices before they become routine. Sadly, obesity is rampant in both adults and children.
I challenge you to make 2018 the year you take charge of your child's future by:
- Showing and telling your child how proud you are of them and how much you love them daily. Children who are told they are wonderful, helpful, sweet, smart, kind etc. will be happier, confident children. But...set boundaries and stick to them.
- Modelling a healthy lifestyle by eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Teach your children why it is important to eat healthy food and be active and they will get it! Sitting down to eat a healthy dinner together offers time to talk and discuss the day. No TV or cell phones at the table please!
- Talking.....Talk, talk, talk to your children! Ask questions that they can't just answer yes or no. Talk about school, friends, sports, current events etc. Talk without being critical and allow your child to offer their opinion no matter how you feel about it. The only way you will know how your child is doing is getting them to talk to you.
- Making your home a comfortable place for your children to bring their friends. This way you will know who your kids are hanging out with and hopefully get to know their friends too.
- Being a partner in your child's education. Stay on top of how your child is doing in school by talking to their teachers and volunteering in the school. Encourage a regular homework time daily. Be available to help if needed.
- Keeping your children busy in sports, music, art, drama etc. Busy kids have no time to get into trouble. But make sure they have time for homework and quiet time daily.
- Having a sense of humour! Laugh with your kids all the time. Kids need to know you can lighten up too!
Winnipeg Parent celebrates 25 years of publishing in 2018 and we are so proud to be this city's heartbeat of family life! I cannot believe it will be 25 years since I started this adventure and I still love what I do! I am often approached by parents who tell me how helpful this publication has been to them over the years raising their families. It is a great pleasure to continue to help provide parents, caregivers and educators with comprehensive information about parenting and family life through columns by local and global experts on timely topics.
We wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year!