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No Child Left Behind – Make Sure Everyone is Included
Parents feel the pressure to help each of their children feel included, loved, and heard. This is not a new phenomenon, but rather something that is intrinsic to human nature. If you are reading this article then it is obvious that you love your children and want the best for them. But how? How does a parent in simple, everyday ways, organize time and events to help include all their children? Whether you are a parent of two or a parent of six, below are some helpful tips to leave no child left behind!
Give Them All Tasks
This may sound like a no brainer, but delegating can be hard for those who relish control. Whatever you find yourself doing on a Saturday morning give each of your children a task. For example, if you are making cookies and you have three children, allow one child help do all the preparation (picking the cookies, deciding on the amount, going to the store to buy them, etc.) then allow one child to help make the cookies (read the ingredients, pour them into the bowl, stir, taste test, etc.) and finally have the last child cook and clean. Each child gets to play a part and if you work to make each part interesting they will cherish these times.
Listen to All of Your Children
Parents have a tendency to make the family bend to the wishes of the youngest child. Do not fall to this temptation. Over time if a parent gives in to the wishes of their youngest child again and again and again, the older siblings eventually begin to hold grudges and close off toward the parents. Listen to all of your children. Take their opinions under advisement. For instance, include your children in planning your next family vacation. Maybe you are feeling adventurous and want to try backpacking outdoors. Give each of your children selections that they get to make to be a part of the decision process. One child could decide on the brand of backpacks the family will buy and another child decide on the restaurants during your vacation. Give them limited choices, hear their thoughts and go with it (even when you would rather go another direction).
Set and Uphold Standards Equally
While your children are young, you need to decide at what age you will introduce them to technology (like tablets and smart phones). If you make the decision that at the beginning of middle school your kids will get smart phones, hold that ground for each child. This is called playing fair. Don’t make rules that apply to one kid. Set household rules. Consistency is key! Nothing can create tension and distress in a family like the feeling of parents playing favorites by generating rules that apply to only one child. Work hard to set and uphold family rules and standards equally and you will make quantum leaps in leaving no child behind!