By Laura Burkey.
Children are our pathway to the future, and their well-being is paramount to our world’s and our family’s survival. When we are at our best, we can inspire our children to do their best whether it’s on the athletic field, in the classroom, or anywhere in the world.
It might seem easy to push our youngsters to be great, particularly when they are small. As toddlers, we applaud their toilet-training techniques and jump with glee when they count to 10 without any prompting. As parents, our proud meters routinely surpass the stratosphere because, let’s be honest, we all have the smartest kid(s) on the face of the planet.
Sometimes, we all need a reminder to keep our kids motivated and on the right track. When we’re on the road to happiness and success, your children will surely follow.
Here are 10 tips to keep the motivation motor running on all cylinders:
- Love your kids. It might sound simple, but try never losing your patience with a toddler stuck in a Terrible Two tantrum. Or when your tween has a few choice words for you when you take their cell phone away. Take a deep breath. Explain what the issue is – such as “you must use your words when you need something” to the two-year-old – and move on. Do not harp.
- Show your love. Think about how many times a text message, email, or chore gets in the way of a quick hug or kiss.
- Show self-respect. Depression, self-mutilation, and eating disorders are killing the youth of today. Act in ways that show your children you possess self-confidence without cockiness. Believe in your children.
- Praise the good stuff. It’s easy to fall into a rut of harping on the bad behavior. Negative reinforcement never leads to success. Compliment your child’s qualities, positive actions/words, and accomplishments. Examples include when he or she helps a friend, comforts someone, cleans up, praises the dog, learns a new task, etc.
- Read books. Positive and inspirational books that are on their level push them to be a better person. Even a toddler can appreciate a book about helping her baby sister or cooking with Mommy in the kitchen.
- Think before you speak. Before saying a cross word or cutting down another person with a mean comment, ask yourself, “What is the wisest thing to say to her/him right now?” Kids watch and emulate their parents. This goes hand-in-hand with being a positive role model.
- Apologize. Whether it’s accidentally knocking into a person, during a fight with your spouse, or saying a mean comment to your child, apologize. Your child learns from your actions and will remember your admittance when in a similar situation on the playground. Imagine how your son or daughter will feel when you admit you were wrong to say or do something that you shouldn’t have.
- Be patient. Your children can go farther when they come from a loving environment filled with patience and trust. Patience is not an easy trait to master, especially when interacting with kids. Try to maintain an even tone and speak in a calm voice the next time an altercation occurs. If you feel your body tensing, walk away from the situation and revisit it when you are in a calmer place.
- Give thanks. Thank your child, thank your spouse, thank your cashiers. At every interaction, appreciation is key to a positive outlook on life. It feels good to say thank you, and even better to say you’re welcome.
- Learn. There are times to teach others, and there are times to learn from others. Most importantly, your children will do better when they learn from their own mistakes. It’s easy as a parent to want to spare your kids from heartache and disappointment, but they have to learn from their own mistakes sometimes. When they fall, they get back up. They have you in their corner and can do anything they dream of. Remind them (and yourself) of this often.
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Laura, this was an absolute pleasure to read. It relates closely to my upbringing- only now I can understand my parents’ struggle and love toward myself. I hope, when I and my partner decide to have children, we too can do the same.