7 Undeniable Ways to Show Your Kids How to Have the Best Life Now
Now that spring is peaking her little pretty head around the corner, we’re on the spring cleaning, let’s get right for the new weather/season phase. In our home, we’re always running around purging closets, filling up new seasonal stock items in our cabinets, redecorating, and preparing for dinner parties, cookouts, and lots of events/festivals. With all that’s going on I wanted to make sure that I instilled some serious lessons into my boys, which I learned over the years about valuing life and where we are currently. I’ve been really into growing things, gardening, and DIY, so it’s about time I put what I learned into practice.
I find that life offers a fresh start everywhere we turn. Most recently, many people used the New Year as their fresh starting point to jump into 2015. I like to look at spring time as yet another opportunity to refresh, if your life needs it. However, this time why not include the kids on this journey? I’ve been blessed enough to connect with some new and amazing people, I’m learning new things like gardening, art, nutrition, and exercise… and it would be great if I could teach my children about it and get them as excited about it all as well. I could definitely use the support from my outspoken bunch, so if we all came together with the same mission in mind, I believe it would easier for everyone.
Lately, I’ve been talking to the children about taking care of our home, doing the things that we enjoy, and challenging ourselves to come up with some cost effective ways to add new experiences and projects to our calendar. I wanted us to all add some things that our whole family could enjoy. I know so many parents who work so hard on their fulltime jobs, their own small businesses, and in their community, that the time it takes to sit down and come with ideas of new things to do or family projects is almost impossible. Nevertheless, it’s important that we take the time to really do the things that we want to do, rather than settling for what we may or may not have time for.
I came up with a list of ways to show our children how to enjoy their lives right now, no matter what their current situation is. This was an effort to explain to them, that no matter what challenges we may face down the road (or if life seems amazing and nothing could go wrong at the moment), we still need to take advantage of opportunities to live, laugh, and love regardless. I wouldn’t want them to grow up believing that their happiness and quality of life is dependent on how much money we have, if we come across a bump in the road, or our ability to overcome setbacks or reach our goals. I want them to understand that now is the time to celebrate life as a gift.
Here are 7 ways to show your kids how to have the best life now:
1. Take care of home – whether you live in an apartment in the projects or a two story home in the most beautiful suburban neighborhood, teach your children to value the place where they rest their head. Keep it clean, maintained, loiter and negativity free.
– Try do this on the inside AND outside of your home to have something you can be proud to come to everyday. It’s easy, inexpensive, and the kids would enjoy helping you. The reward at the end could be ice cream and cake or dinner out on the town.
2. Like Date night, everyone should write down three things they would love to do in the next three months. Then place everyone’s idea in a jar. Get out the calendar and start posting everyone’s idea randomly as you pull them out the jar on the calendar. This is about goal setting and sticking to a schedule, a lesson that everyone in the family could learn. If you lock in a date for the calendar, everyone has to make an effort to meet that day to do that activity.
Here is an example of what was in our jar & what we’re adding to our calendar
- Mom – Museum, Beach, Picnic, & Gardening
- Dad – Fishing, Bowling, Amusement Park, Paint Ball
- Son #1 – Go Cart Racing, Fireworks, Bike Riding/Hiking the Trail, Atlanta Road Trip
- Son #2 – Beach, Cookout, Children Museum & Zoo
3. Having some sort of spiritual foundation has been extremely important to my family and I. Once we were baptized and connected to a church, it seem like our challenges subsided and we knew that we had an automatic extension to our family. Encourage your family and your children to get more involved in the church or in the community. Sign the kids up for classes, groups, field trips, or local organizations that can motivate him/her to be a positive individual. Encourage them to look for opportunities to be leaders among their peers and always make time (even if it’s 20 minutes) to listen to them about their day, their concerns, or just hear about the highs and lows of their experiences.
4. A family that prays together stays together. I’m also learning that a family that works out together stays healthy together as well. When we wake up early to workout, we’re including the kids every now and then also. It turns out that my children are more active when they see that their parents are as well. If gives them that competitive spirit to move more become faster than us, but I hear a lot less whining and complaining throughout the day. They aren’t bickering and teasing each other out of boredom. When they get really quiet, I know that all that physical activity wore them out, so nap time is so much easier. It turns out that exercise is making everyone in the family much happier with better attitudes. I encourage all parents to get outdoors with their kids and allow that positive energy to surge through your bodies, raise those endorphins while you watch your family have a spectacular workout and lots of fun.
5. Projects aren’t just for school. During spring break and the summer break, we decided to all come up with a selfless project that we have to work on in our free time. We will present them to each other at a certain deadline and explain how it all came together. Something similar to what my husband and I did when renewing our vows, but this includes the whole gang and it’s about helping others. I’m really excited to see the kid’s project, because they are collaborating on it together. I like to see everyone commit to something and work persistently to see it complete. Of course there is a prize, but the actual effort put into each person’s project will be priceless.
6. Cultivating positive relationships with family is very important. No matter what you’ve been through, if have the ability to create a family now, if you refuse to limit yourself to what family truly means. Spending quality time with our loved ones, sharing special moments and stories form our family’s history, and gaining new experiences with one another is precious. Some people don’t have that kind of access, so to explain to your children how blessed they are to have family is a lesson that you shouldn’t put off. Go visit that aunt, grandmother or cousin that has been heavy on your heart. Show your children where you grew up, played, and got your first kiss, so that they can see the experiences and people that made you who you are today. Take a day where you go a tour around your old high school, church, your first apartment, or even where you and their father/mother met to connect the dots for them about your lives before they were born. Those kinds of history lessons are so valuable to truly understanding where you came from.
7. Show your children how to show gratitude. I encourage my children to show gratitude for all things big and small. They shouldn’t start eating until they say Grace. They should never walk away from someone who complimented them or did something nice without saying “thank you”. I show them that everyone doesn’t have it as good as they do, so be grateful for it all. Some of us know what it’s like to have life just snatch some things right from under you, but by instilling gratitude in my boys, it is my hope that they understand that they are blessed. Enjoy the life you have now, not when you get to where you want to be or when things start to look better. My sons say “Thank you Lord” now, sometimes I don’t even know why. I’m just happy to hear them give God the glory. Show your kids that having goals and ambitions are awesome, keep it up and continue. However, if you don’t do anything about the blessings you have today, I doubt it if you should expect any more tomorrow.
Let’s show our children how to celebrate and have an awesome life now, without someone saying that they’re qualified to do so. They will learn to appreciate and value their lives for many years to come.