Nobody knows what to expect when they embark on creating a family. Oh there are tons of books on the market and some with sage advice, while others reflect the utopia we all wish parenthood could be. However, through the years I have discovered a few key things.
1. Always make time to snuggle and communicate.
2. Allow kids to find their passion, even as it changes over the years.
This is probably one of the hardest things as they grow and develop. Changing your role as Cruise Director Julie McCoy, to behind the scenes director Steven Spielberg.
3. Leave your children with a sense of belonging. They may fight with one another but the way they behave when they come back together tells the true story of how connected the familial relationship has become.
4. Let them make mistakes and guide them through the physical and mental challenges of stretching and growing.
5. Find common ground for discussions, over breakfast and dinner are usually a deal breaker in our house. “You’d better be home for those meals because that is where the magic happens.”
6. Read what your kids read, watch what your kids watch, play games they play, know the families of the friends they hang with. Be their biggest fan!
One of the common things we started early on was reading before bed every night. Beginning with the eldest offspring at about six weeks old. Although he was too little to understand it all, he built in the routine and developed a love for the reading over time. As each child grew and developed reading skills they took over reading to the rest of us. We all found different things in each story which also marked developmental milestones. As their improved so did their writing. Studies show a clear connection between reading and writing and how these skills connect. Each of them has so far had incredible academic accolades and lord knows it did not come from their gene pool!
Looking back, as my babies grow into there own, establishing a routine of reading helped create the tight bond they share with each other, as well as with their Dad and me. Even though the eldest has been away at college for two years he still communicates with each of us almost daily in some shape or form. Mostly on snap chats with his siblings but a text with a meme or picture of a meal he prepared is just enough to know we are solid. As the middle readies himself for his freshman year of college he too will embark and break away from the nest. He is already asking me about good reads for his down time (hate to tell him but college is a full time job!) Our youngest will be an only child for the first time in her life. Her brothers have already vowed to talk to her daily in some shape or form. Keep it tight and find common ground to create those bonds it is well worth the payoff!