All over the country parents are sending their children back to school, at my house, we are no different. We did our back to school shopping, bought a few new outfits, and took our first day of school pictures! But as I send my oldest kids back to school, it is with a slight heaviness in my heart. I have come to realize that my little ones are at school more than they are with me and that the influence of friends can become much stronger than mine. As a parent, how can I insure that my influence is and always will be stronger? I have three simple suggestions.
First – Talk! This year, I have made it a goal to sit around the table, as a family, as soon as my children get home from school, have an after school snack and talk about our day. On their first day of school, I made sure to have a special treat, but the snack can be anything…goldfish, string cheese, cut up fruit, whatever snacks your family likes, the important part is simply sitting, talking and listening to what is being said. Which leads me to my second suggestion.
Second – Listen! Listening is the only way to truly understand our children’s character. As you listen to your kids, you will first find out the simple things like who their friends are, but as you continue to listen you will see trends in how they solve problems or how they respond in different situations. By listening, we are not just building a deeper bond, but we are also learning more about our children’s character. Armed with this kind of information we can better teach our children about character and why it is important.
Third – Build up Character! If we do not teach our children to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, honest, to work hard, to set goals, to be accepting of others, to have courage and so many more important character traits…then who will? There is no bigger role a parent has then to teach our children these fundamental principles. However, sometimes life can get in the way from work, dance lessons, baseball practice, grocery shopping, PTA, putting dinner on the table and so many other responsibilities that we have, that the teaching of these important character building moments pass us by.
Don’t get discouraged, because at Humble Bugs we have made this part a little bit easier with our Building Character Kits. Everything is planned out, all that is left for you and your children is to do it! What I like to do is set aside one night each week and we perform one of the activities. My kids LOVE it!!! It is what they look forward to each week. Let’s not just bring the family back together, but build it up!