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Top 5 things you can learn from your kid

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Listen and learn

Moms are usually on the teaching end of the parenting spectrum, but a good parent will also learn from her child. Children can be remarkable teachers, if we stop and pay attention.

A mother’s list of responsibilities can seem endless at times. From basic hygiene and manners to daily household chores and conflict negotiations, moms are teaching their children every moment of the day. While this reality is exhausting, it is also immensely rewarding, especially if you view the experience as a two-way street. Those sticky, energetic kids can definitely teach us some valuable lessons.

1

Yelling can diminish the message

With all of the blessings of parenthood come the trials of parenting. Kids just know how to push our buttons, making patience a precious commodity. Of course, we’re all human and lose our patience every once in a while. Sometimes we resort to yelling in order to communicate, but most of the time, children will register mom's anger and loud voice without truly digesting the message.

Read about dealing with your frustration... productively >>

2

You’re never too old for Mommy to read you a book

Cuddling up on the couch to read a good book may seem like something you only do with a preschooler or a child who is just learning to read but reading aloud never goes out of style. Even older children can appreciate a classic story narrated by Mom. It doesn’t take an elaborate vacation or extraordinary experience to create warm memories for your kids. Simply grab a book that everyone can enjoy and... read.

Get a list of classic books to read with your kids >>

3

Sometimes a patch of dirt is more interesting than a reality show

Our kids have a dizzying number of options when it comes to entertainment. With all of the electronic influences around us, we’ve definitely pulled away from nature over the years. But, nature can offer our kids an endless amount of simple entertainment if we just make the connection. For instance, kids can spend hours exploring a patch of dirt, uncovering treasures and learning about a microcosm of our eco-system. Don’t underestimate the vast resources just outside of your front (or back) door.

Read about connecting kids with nature >>

4

Laughter breaks all tension

Life can be tense — especially as a mom — so those moments of spontaneous laughter become particularly precious in difficult situations. There are parenting circumstances that are very serious and require a proportional level of attention and sternness, but there are other times when a giggle or a smile provides levity to the situation. Kids just seem to understand the power of laughter when parents sometimes overlook it. Embracing those moments, when appropriate, can really diffuse tension (and who doesn’t want that?).

Find out how to give your child the gift of humor >>

5

"Normal" is a relative term

All of our children are unique and fabulous in their own ways. They also have their own challenges and struggles. Given these truths, "normal" just isn’t a term than applies to our parenting experience. It can be tempting to compare our place in life with that of those around us, but kids have a way of keeping us grounded. Their idiosyncrasies and quirky tastes remind parents that a one-size-fits-all mentality of raising kids just doesn’t work.

Read more about listening to your child

Connecting with your kids: Strategies for tough conversations
How connection parenting makes child raising easier
How to help your child talk to you

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