When I found out that this week was the parenting advice edition, I was torn. What words of wisdom do I pass on to parents? What valuable lessons have I learned that would be most helpful?
I debated over reposting my advice for dealing with a babysitter. I also thought about telling parents to relax and not be so uptight about everything. Then, I thought about all of the parents who don't watch their kids and let them run wild. There has to be a happy medium.
I have narrowed it down to two pieces of advice that I have found to be the most effective and that can balance each other out when used correctly.
First off, start early with your children. Their learning begins long before they are in school. Teach manners from the get-go. Teach respect, teach love, teach caring for others, correct their speech (why encourage baby talk first and try to correct it later?), teach compassion and teach moderation.
I will be the first to admit that my kids don't always practice these qualities, but the fact that I know they've been taught these from the very beginning makes it easier to correct them. I know that my son can have good manners and I expect him to use them. I know they know how to pick up their toys and that is part of my leverage when they don't.
Secondly, let your kids get dirty! Don't coat everything down with sanitizer, don't scrub everything with bleach (especially when they are babies). Children need to have germs around in order to build up natural immunities. If we wash them all away, they'll have a heck of a time staying healthy.
That doesn't just go for babies, though. Older kids need to have play clothes they can truly get muddy. They need to feel free to get grass stains on occasion. Let them get wet in the creek at a family reunion. Let them roll down the hill at the park. You can always hose them off before they walk in the house or throw them in the shower with clothes on. Teach them from the beginning that there are times when this is acceptable and times when it isn't.
For more parenting advice, visit Rocks in My Dryer.