We go on with daily life not noticing what habits we have developed or the routine we have became accustomed to. I feel there are certain things as a parent that instill the good- the heart and soul in a child. I have one daughter; she is such a good kid. I mean, honest to goodness, a kind soul. She is always looking to make people feel good, always willing to lend a hand, willing to teach a friend something new. As a parent this makes you proud. I always want to be there for her in any way I can, to make her smile.
1. Always kiss her good night. There have been very few nights in my daughter’s night that I have not physically tucked her into bed if I was home to do so. On those few nights when I was home, and she tucked me in instead–maybe if I was sick or so tired myself, I still kissed her, yet I would feel guilty. I always make an appoint to take her to bed, tuck her in, tell her how much I love her, and give her lots of kisses goodnight.
2. Saying Yes. It’s easy to say no. No, you cannot eat that. No, you cannot watch that movie. No, you cannot eat candy for breakfast…. Yet, I love the joy and reaction from the unexpected yes! Yes, you can stay up on a school night and bake cookies! The joy and excitement is worth every moment of the consequences it may put into the usual routine.
3. Love Notes. I love, love notes. I write a note to my daughter every single day in her lunch. I tell her how smart she is, how kind she is, I give her goals to think about, a poem I found, a joke to tell her, simple reminders to her letting her know I am thinking of her and she is important to me. If I am not there in the morning before she goes to school or when she goes to bed, I may leave her a little note in the bathroom, on her pillow, or near her backpack. She saves them all. I think it’s awesome.
4. Playing Make Believe. No matter her age, no matter the subject, the time and place. If she is using her imagination I go with it. Whether it’s pretending we have a restaurant in the house, a tree fort in the bedroom, I am the grandma to her baby dolls (ok, I’m 32 but I will play an “old lady”), we play coffee shop at bath time with bubbles as our foam on our lattes-the world is her playground and I love to play in it!
5. Listen to Her. Listening to her when she has a story to tell, something that happened, something she saw, something she learned. Stop what I am doing, get at her level, look her in the eyes, and listen with my whole self. I teach her to listen to me, and it’s so hard to keep on doing what you are doing and answer with vague “uh-huhs” and “ohhhh,” and then go on with what you are doing. The value in listening to her is worth way more than how busy you are.
6. Be Honest. What good comes of lying? At a young age with my daughter, I decided I would tell her an honest answer if I was asked. I feel it will only make her smarter, and she will know the right answers to things in life. Now, in her eight years of life (so far) she has not asked me anything that I was uncomfortable in giving her the honest answer. Also, if I say we are going to do something, we do it. I hold my promises, and I will always do that.
7. Having a Creative Outlet. This is huge in our household. We craft, we make “projects” as she likes to say, we bake, we create stuff. We have a whole closet dedicated to this. Glitter, glue, canvas, paints, stamps, pastels, empty jars, paper, stickers, Popsicle sticks, cotton balls, flowers, trinkets-you name it. It is in there, if not, we find it. Creating helps cure boredom, it is a bonding tool for us, uses the imagination, it allows a child show what they can do.
8. Always Say I Love You. I likely say this simple phrase 100 times a day, and she says it back. It’s important, and you never know what can happen. She knows I love her.
9. Help. I help when I can; I guide, I teach, and am there to listen, to hug, to hold her hand, to be the shoulder to cry on.
10. Family First. I instill the importance of family. Traditions, holidays, the hierarchy of the family tree. She respects the young and old. We always put family first in our home, and in our hearts. We help each other, take care of one another, and way deep into the extended family we always support each other.