A Year From Now…

Life comes at you fast. While you are busy with today’s “emergencies,” things that matter may be missed. What could you do today that will matter a year from now?

Be kind: In one year, your children will learn thousands of ways to be kind—if you are kind to them. Will you guide your children to their best behavior with kind yet firm words—or harshness? Will you demonstrate kindness with your actions—or choose impatience and crabbiness? Will you celebrate small victories with your children—or be buried in your phone? Your children are watching. When you are kind to your children, they learn to be kind.

Kindness is the glue that holds strong families together. Here are ways you can pass on the spirit of kindness to your children.

  • Thank your children when they do what you ask them to do
  • Praise your children when you catch them in the act of being kind
  • Tell your children what they do each day that makes you proud
  • Children live up to the words you use to describe them—be positive
  • Take time to fully listen to your children

Provide a stable, happy home: Children only get one chance to have a happy childhood. Give your child the gift of a stable, peaceful, joy-filled home. Families are never perfect and life situations can be challenging. But parents who embrace joy in the midst of life’s challenges give their children stability. Do you focus on what is going well in your life—or are you anxious about the future? Do you live in the present—or swim in regret? Are you distracted by the lives of others—or do you celebrate your blessings? If you feel like you need an attitude or mental health tune up, ask your health provider to recommend a counselor.

Enjoy family meals: Family meals send a message of family stability. The world fades away when your family gathers, and your voice is imprinted on your children’s hearts. Use your powerful voice to lift up your children and tell them how wonderful they are rather than on how much to eat. Your children can figure out how much to eat on their own.

Establish routines: Routines are the foundation of stable families. A predictable home environment helps children feel safe and secure. Consistent routines also help parents feel organized and in control. Here are simple routines that will help your family be more stable: -- Schedule regular mealtimes—this prevents snacking throughout the day --Wash hands before meals --Turn off screens during mealtimes --Pray at family mealtimes --Brush teeth before bed --Read a bedtime story

Take kids outside to play: What child does not like to throw rocks? Catch butterflies? Feel raindrops? When you take your kids outside, you create lifetime memories. Research suggests outside play also leads to greater school success, especially in reading and math.

Teach listening and conversation skills: Good listening and conversation skills are fundamental to strong families, friendships and school success. Children learn how to listen and talk with other people by watching you. Family meals are a safe place to learn these skills. Check out the mealtime conversation starters (below). You can choose to download them or have them delivered daily.

How will you use your power this week on focus on things that matter? 

  • Be kind in action and words
  • Provide a stable, happy home
  • Establish routines to help my kids feel secure and help me feel in control
  • Enjoy eating with my family 
  • Take kids outside to play 
  • Practice active listening and encourage talking

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