Our kids are always on a journey, constantly developing and always surprising us. While we’re relatively new to the parenting game (with Lewis being 3 & 1/2 years of age), we try to approach every day, week or month with a thought on the future.
We are mindful of what the future may hold and how our actions today can influence and impact how our kids go through life – their progress from baby to toddler, toddler to young child, young child to teenager and teenager to adult. They are always on a journey, and some days and journey’s will be trickier than others, but it’s important to set the best example we can.
Here are four things to consider when it comes to your own journey with your child or children as they get older.
Kids Can Learn More From What They See
As parents, a great deal of our time can seem as if it is taken up with telling our kids what to do, and often what not to do. Of course, we want to guide them and keep them safe, and also bring them up in a way that will enable them to succeed and be happy later on.
However, what it is important to remember is that kids can often learn a lot less from what we tell them to do, and a great deal more from the example that we set. Yes, that’s right kids learn from what they see us doing!
To that end, if you want to do the best by your kids, you need to set a good example, whether that means staying calm in an argument, eating healthily or limiting your own screen time. Screen time in particular is something that is becoming a 21st Century problem and wouldn’t be something that many of us would have witnessed with our own parents when we were young kids.
It takes a village to raise a child
“It takes a village to raise a child” is an old African proverb which essentially means it can take a lot of people and a lot of interactions to ensure a child can grow up in a safe and healthy environment. To gain from many shared experiences is invaluable.
Indeed, trying to do it all by yourself can prove stressful. We’ve been lucky to have family to help support in raising Lewis so far in his early years, with childcare in particular an area where this has been helpful. And this will likely continue over the coming years as he starts schools, makes new friends and joins clubs and societies.
All of these moments will help to provide the village to raise Lewis, and we’d encourage you to let friends and family into your life and to help out with your own journeys as your children grow up.
For instance, you may adore creating art and doing craft projects with the kids. However, if there is a grandparent that will be only too happy to teach the kids about gardening or cooking, why not make use of them?
Also, even though you are their parent, it is OK to have time for yourself now and again. Whether that means your partner steps in, or you get some outside help, it’s something we all need. Whether it’s a few hours or even a night away – having some time alone to recharge the batteries is often very welcome.
The growing need for online safety and awareness
Most parents have an eye open for their child’s physical safety at all times. However, as they grow and get older, kids these days will also spend more time online where safety isn’t always so simple.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help your child stay safe online as they grow up. One option is to start internet safety education early with your child. Alongside this you need to be thinking about screen time and screen safety, and providing education on both. But safe internet browsing and being mindful of potential harmful websites or links, is something we should all be looking to share with our kids.
At the same time, you may also wish to consider apps like these that allow you to monitor your child’s usage of online sites and apps like WhatsApp. Something that means you can intervene if anything inappropriate presents itself. And of course, be sure to set parental controls on your internet and any devices which have access to an app or games store to ensure you don’t have any big surprises in the future!
You can only guide them so much in life
It is really important to realise that while we can give our little one a great start in life, ultimately the journey that they are on is about becoming their own person.
What that means is you may have some specific hopes and dreams for their future, but there is no guarantee that they will fulfil them, and that should be totally OK. After all, our kids are not put on this earth to please us or to live out our dreams. They are placed here to experience their own journey of realisation and discovery, one that will be entirely unique to them.
All we can do is love them no matter what.
Got something to add?
How do you approach growing with your kids and helping them through the many journeys they face in growing up? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Helen, Lewis and Nial