Parents have big dreams for their kids.
After all, aren’t they supposed to be a better version of you? Because of this there are all types of parents: helicopter parents, attachment parents, babywise parents, and tons more types of parenting!
And we all like to critique each other. Quite frankly, I’ve never cared what type of parenting we were going to choose, and I’ve especially not cared about what types of parenting other parents chose. As long as your kids are fed and happy, then you’re suriving parenting, and to me, you’re winning.
But, while I was pregnant, something started changing. I started noticing that a lot of kids couldn’t sit still without being glued to some sort of electronics, that even small children needed diaper bags full of toys and snacks to keep them occupied.
And I hated it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for toys and electronics – but I don’t think that time should be ALL the time. And I’ve come to realize that I want to raise a non-materialistic child: one who has an imagination of her own, who craves experiences rather than hings, and who values relationships above all else.
Now, this plan is completely tentative. I like to stir the pot, but these ideas I can claim no credit for, as I’ve read about them on other websites, and loved the ideas:
Leave Very Few Toys Out –
This ideas was inspired by Ruth Sokup’s “I Took My Kids’ Toys Away.” We experimented with this a little bit at first, putting away all her toys but 3, in a room where she couldn’t get to them. At first, I was scared out of my mind that she would be super clingy and that I wouldn’t be able to get anything done, but what happened was the complete opposite! Not only did she play longer with the 3 toys that were out, she played for longer on her own, using, like part of a cardboard box.
It was heaven.
So, we’re planning to continue this trend. I still definitely believe in toys, but we’re definitely going to make sure she only has a few at a time!
Limit Media Time –
I have found, just from experimenting, that the days tend to go better (as in, less moodiness, better play, etc) when we leave the TV off during the day. We knew from the start that we definitely wanted to limit our girl’s TV and computer time, so that only solidifies it. Occasionally, I do put on a cartoon for her, but she really appreciates it when Veggie Tales is on!
Ease her Gently Into Church –
One of my pet peeves (and I’m going to get some looks for saying this) is kids that sit through church watching movies or playing games on phones or tablets. Everyone has bad days, but there are kids that sit through every single services glued to electronics, and it drives me crazy! Parents have to make their own choices about what is right for their kids, but my decision for my child is that she will NOT be glued to electronics just to sit still through a church service, or at a doctor office, or whatever else she needs to sit still for.
But, I understand that, especially for young children, teaching them to sit quietly and color or draw can be difficult, so we’re going to start early, easing her into sitting through the service. Not only will she eventually sit quietly through and entire services, teaching her the skill of sitting quickly will definitely benefit us in other situations!
Ensure She’s Well-Traveled –
The best way to crave travel is to, well, travel. But travel is also quite expensive. That’s one of the many reasons we’re trying to get out of debt, learn to travel cheaply, and leverage credit card rewards for even more cheap travel! We’ll definitely try to foster her love for travel by letting her help with planning trips, including how to save money on them!
Stay Off The Computer When She’s Awake –
As a work from home mom, it can be easy to be glued to your computer all day. But something happened the other day that really made me realize that if I wanted my daughter to not be glued to her electronics, I need to stay off as much as possible while she’s awake.
See, the other day I was doing squats as part of my workout. As i was muscling my way through them, I looked over at my daughter, who had been playing before, and you know what she was doing? Squats.
I realized then, that she looks up to me, wants to mimic me, even, and that as her mother, I should be the best role model possible, even if that means staying off the computer whenever possible.
A Strong Emphasis on Music & Fitness –
Music and sports are both activities that will help her mind and body to grow, rather than her collection of “things” and so no matter how expensive, we plan to find money in the budget to pursue whatever musical, or sports-related activities she wants to. Just another reason we’re pushing to get out of debt as quickly as possible.
We don’t have a definite plan for this one, beyond starting her on pianos lessons at 3, and hopefully either martial arts or swimming around that same time, but I’m sure as I do more reading, and learn more about what she is interested in, we’ll get our plan together.
Save Early –
As soon as she knows what money is, we’re going to do our best to drive home the power of saving, rather than spending. As she gets older, we’ll segway saving into the power of compound interest, but sometimes simple concepts are best. I love the idea of having 3 different piggy banks: 10% to charity, 50% to savings, and 40% can be spent.
I’ve seen it a bunch of different ways, in a bunch of different proportions, but they serve the same purpose: to ingrain saving, rather than spending, from a young age.
As always, I like to stir the pot with crazy ideas like not paying for college and incentivizing kids to save all of the money from their summer job, but all of those controversial topics were circling around the same, basic thing: we want to teach her to
- Work hard
- Play harder
- Save First
- Catch the Travel Bug
- Value relationships above all else
Like I said, I’ve stolen ideas from all over the place, and we’re still very new to this parenting thing. These ideas will solidify into more of a definitely plan as she gets older, and who know – maybe they’ll be completely revised?
But I believe firmly in having a plan, even if that plan later changes, so for now, we’re sticking with this.
Now, we we just have to get her to talk in sentences….
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