Part 3 – How to Engage Your Children in Activities with You:
Three More Examples from a Very Experienced Parent
This blog will make more sense to you if you go back and read Parts 1 and 2 before jumping in here.
– Attend a local farm to table cooking class for kids. At the end of the class you get to eat what they have made together and enjoy it with some fresh lemonade or tomato soup on their picnic blanket in their backyard. Now this is a great idea. My kids always were quick to eat things like spinach and turnips fresh from the garden. Unless we baked bread and brought along some cheese and mayo, this idea wouldn’t have worked for us. However, it is a great idea and promotes healthy eating choices.
-Have them come shopping with you at your favorite grocery store, farmer’s market etc. This activity has its own special treats for parents as they try to get through a store with a child who wants one of everything. When you look away, the child has opened the saltines and spread a trail of crumbs that Hansel and Gretel could have followed to get out of the forest. Lay some ground rules before store trips, and you will have a much better time. Also, take some snacks to ease the feeling that your child is hungry. I found that if I asked each child to go fetch one thing for me, it gave me time to think clearly about other things on my list Just be sure you don’t send them for things in glass jars or any item within 75 feet of the candy aisle.
– Have your children come up with their own ideas of what they would like to do and plan an activity around it. You can set parameters around the requests, so they are do-able for your family. No sense in having a child ask for a trip to Hawaii when it isn’t possible.
When I was a foster parent, I asked each child to tell me one thing they had never done but would like to do. Hawaii never came up. I told them that if it were at all possible, I would make that happen for them before they left my home. Their part of the deal needed to be that they followed their plan and worked toward their goals. Because I mainly fostered teen girls, they had big requests most of the time. Once I took a girl to Disneyland and the Pacific Ocean since she had never been to either in her life and wanted to go. It was a big ask, but she was able to turn her life around in many ways and actually earned the award. After 10 years, she still keeps in touch with me. One other girl wanted to take an airplane trip anywhere because she had never flown. We did that, flying on a short trip to a neighboring state and back. One simply wanted to go to an amusement park in a nearby city. One wanted to enter the America’s Top Model contest one state away. She did. I was able to do all these things for them because they kept up their end of the bargain with me. As my bio, foster and adopted children asked for things, they knew there were strings attached to privileges. You do what you know to do, and the privileges are available. Keep in mind that there are no strings attached to love. We just love them without expecting anything in return. As they grow and see that example, they develop respect for that viewpoint and hopefully love without expectations.
There you have it. My favorite list of things to do to increase respect, interaction and memories with your children. Developing a sense of humor along the way helps as conflicts arise, but it is love that carries a family through the difficult times.
There are so many things parents need to know. I can help.
Trying to figure out how to be a great parent?
I am talking about the parent child relationship, which is so important, yet so hard to maintain once children move from viewing us as perfect and all-knowing to cute but not really understanding the ways of their world.
What does this have to do with you? Well, I am a parent just like you and I decided it was time to give back, sharing the things I have been taught and things I have caught along the way from experts, from my kids and from other parents. Becoming certified as a Parent Coach and then a certified Trainer for our state’s Foster Parent College helped as well.
Eventually, I ended up parenting 16 kids! That’s right – I said 16. Along the way, I picked up some important ideas, tips and secrets I wouldn’t have figured out on my own. In other words, I learned many things the hard way. Why should you learn that stuff the hard way too?
Here is the big news: A bunch of us are getting together over on Piece of Cake Parenting private group on Facebook. CLICK HERE to go check it out.
Parenting is one of the most challenging jobs. But, it’s also rewarding and worth every second! There are many ways to interact with your child that can help you both grow as individuals. Want to take some short courses on parenting at your own pace? Check out our blog for more information about these different techniques. If you need any additional advice or want to learn how we can provide online classes for parents, don’t hesitate to contact us today!