Through the hormones going up and down between my two teenage daughters it’s difficult to remember those days of the simple things in life. There’s no perfect manual or secret parenting guide that I have found that can soothe the savaged beasts. I have wondered just like every other parent in the world that haunting question of…. Am I being the best parent I can? Am I making the right decisions?
I sit up nights going over in my mind how to take away all their problems. If only I had a magic wand that could take away all the pain and worry. If only for those days long ago when I could just kiss their boo boos and it would be all better. I remember asking my own mother when my oldest daughter was a toddler if you ever stop worrying as a parent. She simply replied, “You will always be a mother”, and “You will never stop worrying” Now as my oldest daughter is on her sixteenth year I can see that answer very clearly. As the years have gone by with my four children and the days seem to go faster. This fact has jolted me into the reality, that my time with my children is limited.
I could see her face looking at me that face that used to be chunky with baby fat and used to be so certain about the world, has now grown to be so questioning yet elegant and refined. There is a question on her lips, “When are we going to go on our next adventure?” She was already a young woman. Where did all my time go? Memories of long days at the park that seemed to move slowly somehow now moved ultra fast. I am torn by three of my children on the cusp of adulthood and one child age 6 that has just moved on to the reading, exploring stage. My parenting skills have sprung into action leading my children into my natural parenting style.
My list:...... Try and make everyday count in the life of my children. I have come to believe that experiences are an essential part of our everyday life as a family. Three years ago after saving for 3 years, we began our journey as a family going on a month long trip to Europe. One of my daughters then age 10 researched the history and people of the past before we left so that when we arrived at The Tower of London she could name all the princesses, Kings and Queens that had stepped foot into the vast stone building. We explored, as she led us as our tour guide recalling all the trivial and incidents. We spent most of our day there just walking around and trying to picture the past.
What I remember most about that trip is just spending the time with my children. It was as if time had slowed down and we had stopped the rush to just be in the moment. I am not saying you have to start saving and take a trip to Europe with your kids. I am using this story as an example of how an adventure everyday can give your children a crucial and significant learning experience. Not to mention a very important way to nurture and bond with them as well. Whether it’s a simple trip to the park, a ferry ride across the Puget sound, or rolling down those bumpy grass hills at the Ballard locks. The secret of a relevant learning experience is taking time. Most of us go through life quickly. Let’s try and slow the time down by making every moment with your children count.
Slow down and be in the moment. If you are at the beach and they are looking at shells or rocks talk about the textures, shapes, maybe look up what kind of shells they were when you get home and see what kind of creatures may have lived in them. Even, before you go home, make sure to draw pictures in the sand, build sand castles, dig a moat and lay in the sand and make sand angels. You can never go too far into a subject. Sit at your child’s level and see and listen and respond. Read together often. Make sure to make every moment meaningful. Being a parent is a hard yet rewarding job.
Every day I am faced with the task of making sure my children are getting the best education that they can. Something we forget to do that is an important part of learning and development is stopping and slowing down and experimenting with everyday activities. There is an easy and valuable way to keep those connections in the brain happening daily. We have a hard time letting our children just process the information that occurs naturally with all of our busy schedules. It’s so easy to give your child a learning experience or small adventure when you let them go further into any activity that you engage in so they are able to retain and grasp the information more clearly. Be in the moment, spend time somewhere, no rushing, let them look, feel, experiment with the space around them. Answer questions, put the cell phone away, and find out facts about everything. Research a subject then go and see it, and walk around in it.
Pack your car for the day and take a small adventure.