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How to be FOR your kids

August 5th, 2013 | Posted by Carlos Whittaker in Parenting

how to be for your kids

Many parenting books out there help us with the ins and outs of certain situations with our kids.
What to do when…
How to handle…
What to say when…

Although these suggestions are fantastic, I’ve found that more often than not I just need my kid sto know that I am for them.

How do your kids know you’re for them?
I’ve found one thing is the deal closer: be with them.

Now that you’ve recovered from that slap-to-the-forehead display of super-parenting prowess, you can get back up.

No, seriously. Hang with me for a moment.

Here’s the deal. Most of the time when we’re with our kids, a sofa, a car ride, bedtime, or a dinner table is involved. Of course, these are places where we should be with our kids. But in order for them to believe we’re for them, we have to move past these essential places.

When I hang out with my best friends and we remember good times, rarely do these good times consist of sitting in circles, or even sitting at all. I’ve learned that when I have moments that bond, we are doing something. I’ve never made a best friend by having nice conversations about my day.

Our relationships with our kids are the same way. If you want to grow your relationships with your kids, do stuff with them. Remember, talk is cheap. Actions are valuable.

Here are three simple ways to pull this off:

1. Make sure that bedtime routines involve some sort of unknown.
This obviously works better for older kids, but make sure there’s some sort of mystery involved. This can be as simple as bedtime stories in the closet with a flashlight or as crazy as a week of sleeping in different spaces in the house. Or, like I did in the photo above, become Goldilocks and the Three Bears rather than just reading it.

2. Take your kids on dates out of their comfort zone.
I often say to parents: Disturb and disrupt the process in order to see things clearly again. When taking your kids on dates, disturb and disrupt their expectations. If you always take your daughter for ice cream, take her to a deli to build a sandwich. If you take your son to the movies all the time, take him to a park with 10 bottles of silly string and have a massive war.

3. Don’t just go the movie, be the movie.
Take your swag off for a moment and take your kids to see “Monsters U” dressed as a monster. Borrow a truck for a night, deck out the bed of the truck like Sully himself would want to sleep in it and head to the drive-in with your kids.

Simple thoughts on doing:
The more you do, the more you are with.
The more you are with, the more you are for.

This way, when something happens that sends you back to the old parenting manual, you won’t have to go find your kids. They will find you — because they trust you.

With = FOR
Carlos

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