If only we could “ctrl alt delete” our brains. As adults, we tend to become set in our ways. But what about our kids? Truth is children will change the moment they see their parents change. In fact, the hard part is rebooting ourselves, rebooting our kids’ brains isn’t as hard as one might think.
Kids these days are very much about instant gratification. It’s no wonder why; we are in a constant search for the quickest and easiest way to get things done. Taking shortcuts is usually the way forward. This is the message we are sending our kids, verbally or through our behaviors. Check yourselves on this and correct this behavior. Otherwise, your kids will grow up with no patience, shortcutting their way through life. Life is short enough as it is, don’t shortcut it.
Many of you will think, I work, I have to get things done quickly. It’s true when you work outside the home and have kids, life moves a lot faster. The day melts into the night and before you know it, its time for bed. Which is why I say we have to reboot ourselves. Look at your specific home situation and see where you can improve to be more efficient with your time and add quality with your children.
Schedules. Kids who wake up minutes before having to head to school, function minimally throughout the day. Skipping breakfast is one of the worst habits you can pass on to your child. Kids who wake up early enough to make their beds, groom, dress and eat breakfast (the most important meal) are far more successful. Unfortunately for you, this requires, getting up early enough to prepare breakfast. Wake your child up with some time in the morning, rather than the 20-25 minute race to get from bedcovers to the car or bus.
Bedtime is another scheduled activity. There should be rituals involved in bedtime, a winding down, per se, free of technology. Reading or telling stories are some of the more popular options. These rituals do not have to be long, but they do need to be meaningful. Quality, not quantity. Invest yourselves in this nightly activity as often as possible.
Meal times are important. Food brings people together. Try meal prepping with your kids instead of heading to the closest fast food spot. Anything, you can get at a drive-through, you can make at home. It’s fun and a whole lot healthier. Involving the kids in making meals is a great way to model the process of wanting, planning, preparing and receiving. Sunday’s are great days to meal prep.
Not so fast kiddo. Slowly delay the time between when your child says I want X to actually getting X. This is another way we can reboot our kids’ brains from entitlement and impatience. Just because a child wants something, doesn’t mean we have to jump to get it. They can wait, it won’t kill them, or you.
Boredom. A parent’s worst nightmare, a bored kid. Oh no! In instances where waiting is involved, before pulling out technology, try finding a topic of conversation that is interesting to your child, or play games like:
- How many can you name?
Name a category and your child has 10 seconds to name as many things in that category as possible. Make categories general (“animals”) for young kids, and specific (“animals with no teeth”) for older kids.
- Listen closely.
Determine a word or phrase to listen for. Everyone stays quiet until they hear someone else in the waiting area say that word or phrase.
- Would you rather.
Ask your child a would you rather question and discuss the answers.
You can carry small word search game books in your purse with pencils as well. Try to use anything but technology.
Chores. Giving your kids chores is imperative. Kids need to be able to fold laundry, clean dishes, pick up their rooms, and take out the trash/recycling. This will teach your kids about work ethic and will definitely be a transferable experience as they grow. They won’t live with you forever (hopefully) so they need to be able to take care of themselves
Decorum/Gratitude. Finally, teach your kids to be polite, by practicing it yourselves with them and everyone you encounter. Remember to say please and thank you so that they can learn it as well. Children love to help, asking them to please help you with something and thanking them afterward is essential. Also, teach your kids to be grateful for what they have. Ask them frequently to vocalize what they are grateful for and why.
Don’t forget, we are our childrens’ role models. If you need to reboot, then do it, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time rebooting your kids later on.