Thanks for joining me for this ‘Guide to Modern Parenting’ series with Baby Dove – I’m so glad you’ve popped over to join this conversation. My first post covered how and why you should trust your gut when it comes to parenting and my next nugget of advice for you (and a big reminder for me) is that you already are everything that your child will ever need. Just think about that for a second. Kids don’t need a busy after school schedule or name brand clothes that they will outgrow next week in order to feel loved and secure. They just need an interested and engaged parent who loves them without condition.
This desire to give our kids every opportunity and expose them to every possible extra mural is real, but I am trying really hard to set this urge aside and intentionally raise my kids to enjoy the slow life, even while growing up in the suburbs. For us this looks like long afternoons at home doing nothing in particular and daily naps or quiet time for each kid on their own. While our long afternoons seem to stretch for eternity I need to remind myself why it is good for the kids to spend some afternoons at home with nothing much on the agenda. Saying no to things that overcrowd your calendar means that you have capacity to say yes to other types of fun, and the added perk is that it is often easier to stay home with the kids than pile them into the car to go anywhere anyway.
Just yesterday found my kids writing notes to the tooth fairy on tiny scraps of paper, requesting naartjies and vampire teeth under their pillow, followed by dressing up and dancing in front of the big mirror in our lounge. Time at home is a breeding ground for creativity and imagination and I’m all for that kind of old school fun. I also kick the kids outside at any given opportunity and try my best to stay calm when they walk mud into the house afterwards – my goal is an of hour twigs, sand, magical potions and fresh air a day.
In my last post I spoke about how moms should try and spend decent time hanging out with other moms they admire but this can be done without the kids as I strongly believe that our kids don’t need to bounce from playdate to playdate every day of the week – sometimes they just need time at home, even if they’d say otherwise if you asked. I love this quote in favour of spending more time at home that I found in an article on the blog www.livingwellspendingless.com:
“They often spend so much time with their peers that they’re not even sure what mature, virtuous behaviour looks like. They need you to model it for them Even though we homeschool, I can tell in my girls’ behaviour if they’ve been with peers too much. They’re more sarastic and shorter tempered with each other. Usually, it takes a few hours of time at home to play or read and it resets their attitues. I think we highly overvalue childrens’ need to spend time with peers while undervaluing what they gain when they are able to spend long stretches of time with parents and family. This subtle shift in priorities may have a devastating impact on kids. Kids need to be loved and to be understood and no one can do that for them like their parents. If you have kids who are emotional and acting out, it can usually be remedied by time with you. I think we easily forget what pressure it is to try to fit in and do and say and wear the right things in order to be accepted by peers. They’re stressed out and we would be too. Take the pressure off and limit their peer time in favour of time with the family.
The advice in this post is nothing new – you’ve heard it all before but perhaps this is a timely reminder that all our kids really need are loving, attentive parents who make time for them. Let’s give them the gift of time – of time with us, time on their own, time to slow down and just be.
*This post is sponsored by Baby Dove as part of their Trust Your Way campaign.