Happy Tiny Tuesday, friends! I have a lot to share with you guys today. For starters, I’ve really been struggling with what to do with my “Tiny Tuesday” segment. I absolutely love when I get to style and shoot my girls in precious outfits. However, I’m not able to do it consistently. When I started my blog I promised myself I would never “make” my girls participate in photoshoots for my blog. A personal choice, but one I feel strongly about. So, if they don’t feel like shooting an outfit, we simply don’t. For me, playtime in the backyard is more valuable than a photoshoot if that’s where they want to be. That being said, this has left many a “Tiny Tuesday” sans post.
So over the past year I’ve really questioned what to do with this mini series. Because Tiny Tuesday posts are some of my favorites as I get to connect with you all as a mom, I didn’t want to let them go. So, I’ve decided to redefine my Tiny Tuesday posts a bit. Yes, my girls will be on the blog from time to time, but not weekly. Rather, I thought it would be fun and beneficial to share a little “mom talk” each week. Whether I’m talking about my current struggles, successes, or thoughts. I’d love to create meaningful conversations with you all around being a mom, because, let’s be real, mommin’ it ain’t easy.
That being said, let’s dive into today’s topic – building into your kids. Without going into too much detail, I want to share something with you all that weighs on my heart pretty consistently. My heart and thoughts are occupied a significant amount of time with kids much less fortunate than mine. As a part-time SLP, I work frequently in a district of a lower socioeconomic dynamic than where I live now and how I grew up. We’re talking about predominantly single parent homes, families in some of the worst apartment complexes in DFW, moms working multiple jobs just to get by, and kids being dragged into bad things because that’s all they know.
Over the past year or so I’ve really tried to hone in on why and how this affects the children emotionally and how it affects their character. I’ve been trying to figure out how such different upbringings effects kids making some kids confident in who they are and what they can become and others headed down a different path.
One of the main things I’ve noticed is how parents directly influence their kids – good or bad, intentional or not. The pattern I’ve started to see is that kids that are raised in more stable environments are prepped well. Their parents build into them. They give them confidence. Whereas kids in the opposite environment often lack this experience. I’ve also realized that building into your kids may not come as naturally to some parents as it would to others. So, I listed below 9 different things you can do to build into your kids. All of these are simple and can be and should be done on a daily basis. These are things that are free. They only require you. So, let’s go parents, let’s build into our kids. They deserve our best.
9 WAYS TO BUILD INTO YOUR CHILD:
- Give hugs – physical touch is so huge for kids. It makes them feel loved, safe, and cherished. It doesn’t take much either. Give our kids a huge goodbye or a hug before bed. Hold your little’s hand as you walk down the street. Even the simplest form of touch can have the biggest impact.
- Laugh – man, kids want to have fun. Not only that, they want to have fun with you. You are such a large part of their joy and they look up to you in ways you could never imagine. Laughing with your kids is an instant way to bond.
- Be an Active Listener – this seems to get harder and harder with each new distraction the day brings. It’s so easy to tune out as your kids are talking. So, instead of doing the dishes while switching loads of laundry and listening to your child, put everything down and just listen. Make eye contact, sit with them, and actively listen to them. Respond to what they’re saying and engage in their conversation. You’ll be surprised what this will do for them. It shows your little that you value what they’re saying, that you love them, and that they are worth your time.
- One-on-one time – finding time to be with your kids one-on-one isn’t the easiest when you have multiples. But, this allows you to build into your kids without distraction. It gives your child the chance to talk to you about whatever is on their mind even if that means you talk about Princess Sophia the whole time.
- Speak to their character – this was a tip we were given early on. Instead of giving blanket compliments – “great job today” or compliments about their looks – “you’re so pretty,” compliment their character. Tell them things like “wow, I am so hard how you worked and worked on that puzzle without giving up. You are such a good problem solver.” This one is so huge because you’re telling their kids they have worth, they have value, and they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
- Encourage all emotions – good and bad. I think encouraging “feel good” emotions comes naturally. But, are you teaching your kids that it’s okay to feel the yucky stuff, too? I’m not saying throw all your rules out the window, but let your kids feel and let them know it’s okay to feel. For example, let’s say I tell my girls they have to clean their room after dinner and they get angry. Let’s say Emma Grace screams at me and stomps her feet in response. I would say, “hey babe, I recognize that you may feel angry with what I asked. Feeling angry is okay. You can feel angry, but you still have to follow my rules and show respect because I am the mommy. So while it’s okay to feel angry, it’s not okay to stomp your feet and scream.” Helping kids talk through their emotions also helps them to process things.
- Make your home a safe place – we’ve all been kids before and we all had different upbringings. I grew up in a pretty conservative home, but I knew without a doubt that my home was a safe place. Even if I was going to get in trouble for something, I knew I could share any and everything with my parents. I knew I had their trust and that they had my best interest at heart. Y’all, give your kids time to share everything with you. Let them know you are a safe place to discuss good and bad emotions. You want to be the first person they come to to ask questions or to spill their guts out. Giving kids a space to feel and share their emotions is so huge for their growth.
- Be present – this one is another tough one in this era of social media. It is so, so easy to be on your phone while being with your kids. But kids notice and they don’t feel valued when you are not truly present. This is one of my constant struggles. I have to make a very concious effort to put my phone down, to stop doing chores, and to just be with my kids. But when I do, I can see instantly that they feel happy and valued.
- Do life with them and follow their lead – part of building confidence and emotional health in your children is letting them take the lead sometimes. This means letting them pick the activity and playing with them. Let them dictate the play scenario, guide the conversation, or even mess up. This is all part of them figuring out how to be in this world.