Will my child have friends?
Will she be ready for kindergarten?
Does she know her letters?
How about her colors?
Is she having enough playdates? (Seems like everyone is having playdates.)
And what should we do to celebrate her birthday? And, oh yes, the goody bags!
We all do it. We all worry about our children.Whether its about friends, or learning, or getting ready for something else. We want to do this parenting thing right. They are our hearts living outside our bodies and the responsibility we feel is heavy.
Here is my simple message for you: BE HERE NOW.
Don’t spend your energy on something else that is coming later. Don’t worry about later now. Later will be different if your child grows up with a parent who is present in her life now. Later will be different if your child grows up with a parent who is not present in her life now.
Put down your phone. Unless it is an emergency having to do with your other child, your partner, your brother, or an emergency. Just put it down.
What could be more important than giving your full attention to those you love? Especially at the meal table. Stop looking down to check email or twitter or instagram or your feed of whatever. It can wait. Even an email from me. You are modeling behavior to your child that they are less important. Less deserving. You are also modeling relationship and they will emulate your behavior later. They see everything that you do. Make sure that they know they are deserving of your time. Your attention. Your presence. Be with them when you are with them.
Be direct. Be a parent. Not everything is a negotiation. Not everything is a question. Somethings are for safety. You need to hold their hand in parking lots. A child running across a parking lot into the path of a car that is backing up is not asserting his independence and you are not empowering him. Hold his hand.
And lastly. I have written about this in the past. The importance of happiness. I do not think it can be overstated. Having older children now, I have a longer view of childhood and I see where it is going. And all I can tell you is this. Unless your child has a significant developmental need, they are all going to learn how to read, how to be a friend, and how to survive their schooling. They will know their letters and colors. They will fall in love. They will be hurt and they will find their passion. If they want to, they will go to college. If they want to, they will dance or play sports, or debate, or play the violin. But what they need to get there is the simplest thing in the world. It isn’t extra enrichment classes or playdates – it is your LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. For who they are. Right now.
So, hug, touch, say it. All they need is love.