Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Puzzle Pieces of Parenting... Part Three

If you are checking out this post it means one of two things, either you read ideas tihat will contribute to your family so you are hoping to learn more or nothing applied to your family in the first post so your are looking for possible tips from this list! Either way, the investment you make in your family is the most imortant transaction you will ever make, second only to your salvation and choice of your lifetime partner. With our present economic status we are daily being fed information to grow our savings account and retirement fund, but do not be misled, feeding your family properly with love, attention, discipline, boundaries, fun, and vision for their future will reap greater rewards than any financial investment. You may need to devise a plan to live on less than you thought in the retirement phase of life but you only have one chance in your child's life to build the relationship you will treasure much much much more than money! Do you get my point that relationship is more valuable than money, property, travel, jewelry, art, persoal appearance/fitness or any other worldly possessions we aspire to have? Somehow it feels alright to deal with the reality of not accomplishing everything I thought I would have in life but only because I quickly learned nothing was more important than the well being of my children once I held each one in my arms and breathed the precious fragrance of a newborn! I was hooked for life! Please trust me, the relationship Jeff and I experience with our children means more than I can express. I guess that means it is time to complete this list!
26. One free day to miss school. To spend one on one time with each child I would surprise them by allowing them to stay home with me.
I would suggest that we clean out our drawers while we watched a movie for part of the day. Not only do you win brownie points but
you accomplish something that always needs doing! This is the kind of day that reminds you what you love about your child!
27. Spend the night company. Two things with this issue. Make it a standing rule that if your child asks in the presence of their friend it is
an automatic no! Secondly, remember how much fun it was to spend the night with a friend when you were a kid and say yes
sometimes! I would allow everyone to ask a friend on the same night sometimes and then it is easy to say "no" the next couple
of weeks. Amazingly, if everyone is content playing you and your spouse might sneak in a movie!
28. First birthday sleepover. Get ready because they are going ask for his way too early. The last thing you want is a group of tearful kids
that want to go home at midnight. Take a stand that everyone can have their first sleepover when they are 10. Yes they will complain
but stand firm. Anticipation is a good thing! Refer back to the suggestion not to be effected by eye rolling and sighing!
29. The dreaded, " why can't I, everybody else is!" Some things are timeless and this is one of them! Countless times we said, " we don't
make decisions for you or our family based on what everyone else is doing.". ( or wearing, watching, listening to, etc...)
30. Extra activities. So fun to watch your child participate, respond to other adults, and develop natural abilities. Just don't overload
your child or yourself. You can only drive so many carpools or incorporate so many events and stay sane!
31. Snow days! For those of us in the south this is a big event! To help get the most fun out of this rare occasion collect snow boots and
gloves at the end of the season sale or at garage sales. Keep a bin full of all sizes to pass around. ( i remember one time Joseph
wore pink boots but who cares when there is snow! ). Allow your kids to play as long as they want and don't worry about the snow
getting tracked in. It wipes up just fine. Keep hot chocolate ready to drink while their clothes are drying for round two outside.
Purchase a Coleman gas stove for the times your electricity goes out so you can take advantage of the fun day.
32. If you have room put two swingsets or other play equipment in the back yard to keep kids/friends occupied outside. Keep cheap
Popsicles in the freezer at all times!
33. Tape bubble bottles to a slat on the deck or some convenient place outside to prevent spilling the whole bottle in the first five
minutes after you get home from the store!
34. Cutout cookies to decorate with icing and sprinkles is so fun! To make it more fun for everyone use a cheap plastic tablecloth so all
the spills won't freak you out! They won't look like the ones on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens but they will taste good.
35 Help makes forts, they are fun and free!
36. Allow your kids to be loud inside if they are having fun together.
37. Take an active role in your child's PTA. Volunteer to chair or cochair an event to maintain a strong presence. Make it easy on yourself,
choose something early in the school year or something that is naturally easy for you.
38. Be room mom while your child is in elementary school. They will progress to middle school so you wont have to do it for ever!
39. Chaperone as many field trips as possible. It's a great ego booster for you and your child. Every child will want to be near you and
hold your hand. It guarantees you that the next trip to the school you will receive multiple hand waves and your name
name whispered out loud!
40. Eat lunch with your child at school and hit the playground while you are there!
41. Get to know some of the parents in your child's class. It helps you enjoy school functions more.
42. Say " yes " sometimes when you want to say " no," and they know it.
43. Develop certain rituals around bath or bed time that make it fun and helps get the job done quicker. Jeff started the 7 minute rule which
made everyone squeal and run to the bathroom to brush their teeth then jump in bed for story time.
44. Set up a system for the car so that everyone gets to ride in the front on a weekly basis. This provides less arguing and dashing to
the car.
45. Never say shut up. Choose a phrase like, be quiet please or use your inside voice. You need to model good manners if you
expect them to have good manners.
46. Everyone should take their dishes to the sink and assign each child a night for KP, setting the table or filling the glasses. This is
obviously an age appropriate chore.
47. Allow your child to be involved with you on some level of helping others. If they grow up with this type of activity being a normal
thing they will likely carry that practice into their adult life.
48. Invite your child to help you cook sometimes even if you don't want to. Any mess they make can be cleaned up and the one on
one time is valuable. Look for ways to teach life skills in everyday activities.
49. Take a stand about what age is appropriate for things like piercing ears, shaving legs, calling or texting the
opposite sex, having a cell phone. ( Cmon, get ready and stand firm! Kids not driving don't need a cell phone! ) movies, music,
talking back, degrees of messiness that is acceptable, Facebook, car dating, ..etc. ( who decided 16 was the appropriate age
to date and drive anyway! )
50. Two things that should NEVER be allowed in a child's bedroom are...the opposite sex and a computer. Some things should always
be in plain view. If you tend to disagree with this one, just think back on your behavior as a kid!
51. Say yes as often as you can without compromising things you determined you wouldn't allow. As an adult I like to go places and have
fun and our kids feel the same way.
52. Fathers, take your daughters on dates. Take your wife on dates so your kids will learn that you value your relationship with their
mom. We tend to spend time, money, and energy on the things we value the most.
53. Celebrate life landmarks with some type of ceremony. If you aren't good at this kind of thing get someone to help you that is. It is
a reference point for you and your child that both of you will always remember.
54. Commit to spending money on food with your teenagers. If you provide food they will come! You can learn a lot of good things
about your child and their friends around the table.
55. Allow some Christmas ornaments to stay on the tree where your children place them. This is a big challenge for some of us!


  1. Oh, I love each and every one of these! I may print it out and put it on the fridge. I need to read this often. Thank you so much, Mrs. Nancy! I love you!

  2. Mrs. Nancy, I am with Mary Beth, Ithink I may just print these out and put them in a special place. I know I haven't seen you in a while with Jay and I going to Gateway now. But I just love reading your blog. It is so inspirational. With a small child (and one on the way) it is so easy to become impatient and realize that what there little hands are doing is just trying to help and be near us. Thank you for posting these!

  3. Good stuff, Nan! My Dad used to have me skip school a few times each year. We'd go fishing, see a movie, work on the car, or build something together. When I was in high school, we lived directly across the street from the school. I went home for lunch every day. Quite often, Dad would say, "Don't go back for the afternoon. I want to spend some time with you." Oh, how I loved those days.

  4. ALL of these are wonderful and have opened my eyes to things I need to change and to new things I need to incorporate! Our girls often want to help me in the kitchen and I sometimes don't let them. It's not that I don't want their help, but a small fear that they will get a cut or burn...and a fear of my kitchen being messy! Thank you for reminding me that ALL messes can be cleaned up without any problem! And I think tomorrow after school, we'll all bake a cake together! Thank you, Mrs. Nancy!!

  5. Nancy,

    Love reading your posts...and love your writing.

    Like many on here I've benefitted from your parenting of your 4 kids. The example that you and Jeff have provided has been extremely valuable through the years.

    Part of experiencing that has been through the relationships Ashley and I have developed with each of your children through the years in different ways.

    With Abby I'll never forget how she used to spend the night with us at our first apartment at Ginny's vineyard. We'd make hot dogs and she'd sleep on that old, hard wicker couch, then we'd bring her to church with us on Sunday.

    With Joseph, well, first of all he bit the fire out of my cheek when he was 2...still kinda mad about that. But, we connected from a sports and hunting perspective early on and, wow, what a fine young man he's become!

    Anna Grace has always had a special place in our family for several reasons. I've cherished the relations she and Alex have had since they were babies and now she spends so much time at our home.

    With Rebekah I've enjoyed getting to really know her more as an adult as a mom and wife and getting to know and love her family.

    The point is...I've seen the influence you and Jeff have had on your children since they were babies....and much of it is through the relationship we've developed with them through the years.