Becky and I were talking about all of the things that we want our kids to know and we started talking about the things that we need to do more of – like these things that we need to say to our kids more often.
1. I’m proud of you.
It doesn’t matter what you decide to pick to say, it is that you are saying it. At our kid’s school, they have a morning breakfast for dads and their kids called All Pro Dads. Two of our kids are old enough to go, so we go on Fridays, before school. We eat breakfast and talk to other dads/kids, but then they do something that we love.
The leader of the group stands up and asks each dad to name one thing that they are proud of their kids for. We could do the same ones every week… “Great grades. Good game.” but I have tried to think outside of the box. “I like the way that Beau always using his imagination to build amazing things in the back yard. I like that Jack helps Ethan with his reading every night. I love how Beau will play princesses with Allie. I love the fact that Jack never needs to be reminded to use his manners.”
2. You CAN do it.
There are times that our kids don’t WANT to do something, but I remind them that they CAN do it. They might not want to go out to the game, because they are nervous that they won’t do well, but they CAN. They might not want to clean out the garage because it is boring, but they CAN. They may not WANT to read their book for 20 minutes a night, but they CAN. They may not thing that they can do something (like shooting a bow & arrow for the first time at camp), but they CAN try. They may not get it the first time, but not trying means that they will never get it. Which is worse?
We try really hard to show our kids the difference, because even when we don’t want to do something, we still can… so we need to. We need to muster up our courage or push back our nervousness and just try it. Becky always reminds them “Listen, the worst thing would be…. losing the game/ not being able to play right now…. and that really isn’t so bad.”
3. Thank you.
We like to feel appreciated, don’t we? Our kids are no different. Today they helped me clean out the garage for two hours. They moved bikes (and rode on them), moved scooters (and went around the cul-de-sac a few times on them) and really helped a lot. They carried things inside to their mom, they swept the floor and organized it with me.
Do you know what they got out of that? A thank you. Do you know what they got that was better than money? Pride. They were so proud of themselves for helping today. They knew that they helped me and their mom. They knew that their stuff was being taken care of and was organized. They knew that I was proud of them and that was all that they wanted. When they finished, they went off an played for two hours and never got into an argument (which is another post for another day- about why chores are important for our kids).
4. Do you want to…?
Invite your kids to do things with you and don’t wait for them to ask. Do you want to play a game? Read a book? Go on a walk? Throw a football around? It will mean so much to him that you asked him – YOU wanted to spend time with HIM today.