I have spent almost 2 decades reading everything I could find on how to be a great parent and then a great homeschooling parent. Would you like to know what I found? There are 3 very important things we need to do with our kids. Every parent needs to do these especially in these changing times!
First, think about this.
The kids in our society are being bombarded with information every day. They potentially have access to everything the Internet has on it as early as age 7 or so. Many have this access in their pockets! Our generation of kids has more information, and at a younger age, with less parental influence and guidance than ever before in history. What a sobering thought. For many of us, this is one of the benefits of homeschooling.
After all of my research I have found that there are 3 things that we can and need to do with our kids that can really make all of the difference regardless of whether your kids are homeschooled, traditionally schooled, unschooled, or anywhere in between.
The first thing we can do is listen to them. I mean really listen and often. The magic here is when we suspend any intention of responding. Be present and open to anything they want to talk about. Be totally with them in the moment. Listen to them with that wonder you had when they were babies sleeping. The younger you start the better. If they know they can tell you anything at a young age, by the time they hit the real issues in their teen years or older, they know you listen with love. It is a very special thing you can offer them! Engaging the gift of listening allows you to really be involved in their thoughts and questions about this crazy world we are in!
Encourage their passions
The second gift we can give them is to encourage their passions! Whatever it is, remember it is their job to explore the world right now. The magic in learning comes from really wanting to know. Help them thrive in the things they are curious about. If your child suddenly has a passion for horses, give them opportunities to see them, clean stalls, maybe lessons, or even just take a trip to the library to gather books on the subject to have lying around the house. Don’t be surprised if their passion switches, though. It is their job to explore everything right now!
Lead by modeling
The third gift is the gift of leadership. As parents in these fast-paced times, we need to give our kids the tools to manage all of the digital and marketing input that is constantly influencing their world. Giving our children the ability to make choices early on, combined with common sense talks, and listening to them to help them through the decisions I believe is the key to raising a child who will be able to successfully thrive as an adult. Leadership is not just about leading others; it is about leading yourself first. As homeschooling parents, we have already chosen the road less traveled and modeled the ability to choose what we believe in. If we start early letting our kids really embrace making decisions for themselves and really getting to know what they like and want for themselves, we are giving them muscles to be able to choose what really matters later. Think about this. Your kids will make not so great choices at some point. This is how we as humans learn. Wouldn’t you rather be there, listening with love, and showing them the problem solving skills to learn and fix whatever is going on with responsibility and integrity? That is an amazing gift.
If you want to hear more about all of this, recently I was interviewed on Shine radio and I discuss some of these very things.