Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ideas for Nurturing Children

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With Mother's Day approaching, I wanted to write a post geared toward moms. When I think of "moms," I think of nurturing. In our church, we have a great class you can take called "Marriage and Family Relations." I looked up the lesson on mothers and found ten ideas for moms to be able to nurture their children. Let's discuss each one:

1-Be at the crossroads
What does that mean? That means you are present in your child's life at those moments when he is choosing which path to take. This directly leads to the importance of quantity time. If you want to be there for those pivotal moments, then you need to be around. You need to be available for talking to. You need to be available to go pick him up from a friend's house if he feels uncomfortable with the activities there.

But not every crossroad needs to be one that is lit up as "life altering moment." Crossroads can be simply when you get home from school. Be there. Proverbs 29:15--"A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

2-Be a real friend
I am sure some of you just thought, "But in Childwise it says not to be a friend until your children are much older." It says that is when you enter the friendship phase of parenthood--not that you can't be friends before that phase. The friendship phase is when your leadership role fizzles out and you enjoy each other as friends.

But note that this says "Be a real friend" (emphasis added). I think as adults we all realize that sometimes, a real friend is the person who calls you out. A real friend is the person who reminds you of your goals in life. A real friend tells you when you did something  you shouldn't.

And a real friend also loves you no matter what. A real friend understands your heart and your intentions. A real friend likes you for who you are.

And at the level of children, play with your children. Laugh with them, sing with them, and have fun with them. Enjoy them each and every day.

So be a REAL friend to you child. Not only do you give your child the gift of a great friend, but the gift of an example of how to be a real friend themselves.

3-Read to your children
This is a point I have stressed over and over again. In this instance, you nurture your child through cuddles and through some quality time. You also are nurturing that brain into a more intelligent one.

4-Pray with your children
You can teach your children much through prayer. Teach them the desires of your heart. Teach them how to pray. Teach them your concerns and hopes. As we read in James 5, fervent prayers availeth much. 

5-Have weekly home evenings
This is something we do in the LDS church that I think everyone can really benefit from. We have one night each week set aside as "Family Home Evening." We sing a hymn, read a scripture, have a lesson, have an activity, and possibly a treat. People do things differently every week; sometimes FHE for a family is a night out doing something fun. 

We have been promised more obedience and more love at home if we do this, and let me tell you, I have lived to see this true. Anytime I have an LDS friend concerned for the behavior of a child, I always ask about FHE in the home because I have seen such a stark difference with it in my home. 

It is a great opportunity to teach your children the gospel and to also spend some great time together as a family. If you aren't religious, you could do this while focusing on something you would like to teach. Maybe a lesson on sharing or on service. I am sure we all have areas we want our children to improve on (and ourselves for that matter).

6-Be together at mealtimes
I know this ha always been a high value of mine. We eat dinner together every night. We currently even eat lunch together every day. We eat breakfast together every weekend day, and most of us are there weekdays. 

I know this will be a big challenge for us once we reach teenager time, but it is a challenge I am already thinking about, so hopefully we can have a plan that works for us.

7-Read scriptures daily
Read the scriptures with your children each day. This is another idea that I think has obvious benefits. You invite the Spirit into your home while also increasing scriptural knowledge.

Another benefit (less important than those listed above but a perk non-the-less) is you will find your children with improved vocabulary and improved reading skills once you have them reading verses alone. We started Brayden reading one verse a night several months ago. He has always been a really good reader in school, but he jumped even further ahead after adding in scripture reading. Both his Kindergarten teacher and the teacher over his reading group pulled me aside separately to show me how amazingly fast he was an how it just jumped at one point. I told them the moment it jumped into the unbelievable range was when we added him reading a scripture verse each night. 

8-Do things as a family
Go to each other's recitals, games, school plays, etc. Have fun family traditions. Celebrate birthdays. These things don't have to be grand--kids don't care about grand. They care about time. 

We try to do one intentional family activity a month. We do a lot as a family, but we try to have one a month that has no purpose other than the 5 of us having fun. We also like to challenge ourselves to do something we have never done or don't do regularly. Years ago (back in the days of young Brayden), one activity was a trip to the library. That obviously turned into a tradition. We go to museums, go to new parks, go out to dinner, go for bike rides, visit different historical sites around us, go for picnics, go to corn mazes...there are lots of fun things to do, and lots to do for free or really cheap.

9-Teach your children
Mother's are a child's best teacher. Teach morals, teach religion, teach the three Rs...

Teach them to work and to love to work. Teach them what is appropriate and what isn't. 

10-Truly love your children
Express and show your love to your children no matter their age. Show them the love you feel. Feel that unconditional love--most of you do, but if you do not, work to achieve it. 

Conclusion
I think these ten things are time-consuming, but very doable. These are not too hard. They don't require any special skill set. We are all capable of nurturing our children. The simple things in life are usually the best answer to our problems. I would love to hear your take on any of these ideas. Is there something your mother did in this list that really impacted your life for the better? Are there things you do that you see impacting your children?

I hope you all have a fabulous Mother's Day!

If you would like to read the inspiration for this article, please see The Sacred Roles of Fathers and Mothers Part 2: Mother's Roles

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3 comments:

Angela said...

Great post. It's a wonderful reminder of what is important. As I read through it I realized the things I do regularly and the things I do, but that need to be more consistent. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Angela

west coast girl said...

this is a great post- i agree with all of the above. and yes it is good to be reminded. :) thanks!

Plowmanators said...

You are both very welcome!

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