How far do you need to go when it comes to entertaining kids? Many people are very concerned about making sure the kids are never bored. Here are more ideas for keeping kids happy and healthy without breaking the bank!
Myth #4 – Everyone is doing it so I should be doing it too.
Every generation of parents has had to deal with this statement and we all know the answer: “Just because everyone else jumps off a bridge doesn’t mean that you should do it, too.” We learned it from our parents, who learned it from theirs and so on. It is still as true today as it has been for hundreds of years.
Even though we say this to our kids, we don’t always practice what we preach. We send them mixed signals. Look closely at your life and see how many things you do in your life just because everyone else is doing it. Just because “everyone else” has a new car, a big house and goes out to eat every day doesn’t mean we should, especially if we can’t afford it, but many of us do anyway. “Everyone else” takes their kids to a very expensive sports world, so I should too. They go on expensive vacations, buy their kids designer jeans or a new car… If we spend beyond our means in this way, what are we teaching our kids about money?
Myth #5 – If I don’t keep my child’s schedule filled, he or she will get into trouble.
Do you enjoy having your schedule filled to the max? Of course not and neither does your child. Let your children be kids. No child should have so many activities that he needs a day planner. You and I as adults can’t handle the stress that goes with a jam-packed day planner. Why should we expect a child to do it?
As far as preventing them from getting in trouble, that is one of those “they say” things that I hate. For every study that says, “If you don’t keep kids busy up to their eyeballs, they will get in trouble”, there are two that contradict it. Most of the time kids get in trouble because they feel that no one cares, they have not been taught right from wrong or they are just young and human.
Just the other day my daughter had to pick her kids up from school and the race was on. They were running all over, going from one activity to another. (This isn’t the norm for them, but it is for many families.) The next day my granddaughter said “Mom, do we have to go anywhere tonight?” and her mom said “No.” Elly answered and said “Oh, thank goodness!”
I’m not saying that you should go to the other extreme and not allow your children to do anything. Yes kids, especially teens, need to be active and busy but not to the extreme they are stressed out by it.
I often get asked “What am I going to do?” I need to keep my teens busy but the activities and sports are so expensive. Kids don’t need expensive activities to keep them busy. Have them get part time jobs. My 11 year old grandson has been working all summer mowing yards. He’s learning responsibility and by the time he is done he is too tired to get into much trouble. ;-)
If they are too young and can’t seem to find themselves jobs, have them volunteer someplace. My daughter started volunteering at a hospital when she was fourteen. By the time she was 15, they knew her well enough and hired her to work in the hospital’s flower shop.
Kids can volunteer at the humane society, nursing homes, day care centers and lots of other places. I know different areas have different laws about where kids can volunteer, but there are usually plenty of opportunities. My point is that there are things for kids to do that will keep them busy without requiring you to dole out big bucks to do it.
Like so many other things, encourage activities in moderation. We often think if something is good for us, the more we can have of it the better. Broccoli is healthy for me, but that doesn’t mean that I should eat pounds of broccoli and nothing but broccoli for every meal. Moderation, Moderation, Moderation!
Myth #6 – I’m doing this for my child’s well being.
Are you? The only thing any child really needs is to be unconditionally loved and to know the person who unconditionally loves him will always be there, taking care of him.
God is the best example of what a perfect parent should be. When I really came to the realization that God (my father) loves me (His child) unconditionally and, no matter what happens (good, bad or otherwise), He will always be there for me and take care of me, it changed my life. I no longer needed to be stressed about anything or to do things out of fear– fear of not being accepted, good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough or rich enough. I was loved and cared for and I knew any moment of the day if I needed Him God would be there for me.
Can your children say that about you? Do they know you love them enough to say no to them once in a while for their own good, even if it means that you might not feel loved by them for a moment? Or do you say yes because you feel guilty (I divorced their mom or dad, I don’t make enough money to give them everything, I haven’t been a good parent etc.) and salving your own guilt feelings is more important than what is best for your child?
Ask yourself, “Am I doing this because I know and love my child and know what is best for him or am I doing this because it is what ‘they’ say is best for them, even if my own instincts tell me different?”
Stop worrying and working so hard at being a parent. Just love them, take care of them to the best of your ability and pray like crazy for the next 18 years. Don’t let what “they” say rob you of the joy of enjoying your kids.
Smile, smile and smile because it will probably get worse– Most of them marry and multiply and then the fun begins!!!! ;-) Just joking!!!!