If anyone ever told you that raising a kid to be an educated, well-rounded person was easy, they lied to you. The fact is, it takes a lot of effort. It is the most challenging and most rewarding thing you will ever do.
Teaching your child to lead a balanced life means you have to live a balanced life. If you are always playing catch up, running late, and forgetting appointments you will not be very effective showing your child a different way. In this case, you can begin the journey together for a happier and easier life for both of you.
Here are 5 basic tips that will help you get started:
Teach your child to prepare a schedule.
Whether you do this on their phone, a wall calendar, or a monthly planner doesn’t matter. But find a way they can do easily then work with them. Show them where they should have allowed for something that they didn’t (like travel time to get to the big game). Show them how to rearrange things to make them work better. This is a skill everyone should develop.
Carve out study moments.
Keeping up with school, family, and sports is hard. Show your kid how to squeeze in minutes to go over assignments or study notes. They can review homework in the car or on the bus. They can read their assignments while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or while they have an after-school snack. Any mother who has ever cooked pasta while running the washer, dryer, and dishwasher understands multi-tasking. Teach your child to be proactive in finding study moments.
Do not use sports as a punishment.
When a child messes up, they may deserve punishment. But do not devalue their sports activities by making it something you hang over their heads. Sports are not just about them. It is about being a team. Working together with others. Learning how to handle victory and defeat gracefully. When you pull your child from practice because they got a C on their report card, you not only told him that his responsibilities were disposable, you also made him let his team down. This is not a life lesson you want to teach in this way.
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Do not give up family time.
Family time is not just important. Family time is critical. This is where you fit together as a unit. This is where love, support, strength, and ambition abides. Insist upon at least a small part of each week to be a family.
You might make it mandatory that every family member is home for Taco Tuesday. Maybe you will have Friday night treat night. You can set up a portable little candy buffet that you pull out once a week and surprise everyone with candy treats of various types. (They can even be sugar-free) Check here for more candy options.
Know when to say NO!
You are the parent. Your child needs a mature mind guiding and protecting him or her. If your child wants to take on more activities than she (or you) can handle, know when to say no.
For example, your child is in middle school. The academic load is heavier than it has ever been before. They are on the cheerleading squad and they help with the school news bulletin. They come to you and say they want to join the soccer team. This would be an appropriate time to say no. They already have a tight schedule and there is not enough time to comfortably squeeze in another activity. Explain why you are saying no. Explain they can consider this when their other activities are over, but not at this time.