Our children are growing up in a fast-paced world very different from the world we grew up in. We have many great strides and accomplishments to celebrate in our modern age, yet in many ways we have never had more challenges when it comes to raising our children. Today’s parents must deal with the influence of media and marketing towards children like never before. Children and parents are bombarded with commercials, advertisements, businesses, popular magazines, best-selling books, a variety of toys, and other products that tell us how to make our children the brightest, the most advanced, or give them the most opportunities. Today’s children have more material things than any other generation, yet rates of childhood depression, high school dropouts, and teen suicide are alarmingly high. Today’s children have many opportunities and many disadvantages as a result of modern life.
The modern world brings vaccines and drugs to prevent or treat deadly diseases, technologies that have revolutionized the way we live, inventions and advancements that have prolonged human life and solved some of the world’s greatest mysteries. However, modern life can also be isolated, chaotic, turbulent, and unhealthy. We now have more pesticides in our food, more pollution in our water supplies, the highest obesity rates of any generation, we are further behind other industrialized nations in education, we are destroying our ozone layer and watching the production of weapons of destruction. massive around. the world. We have lost our post of moral duty, social conscience, and with it our character. Too many people are afraid to stand up for causes and injustices and simply accept the status quo.
We need to take control of our own lives before we can effect effective change in our larger communities. There is a great need for us to look in the mirror and reflect on how we are living our lives. Are we raising our children the best we can or are we just surviving parenthood? Why do parents feel the need to smother our children with materialistic things? Why do our children overeat? Why are average Americans in debt thousands of dollars? Are we trying to fill a void? Are we trying to make ourselves happy by using excessively? If so, it doesn’t seem to be working. Studies have shown that, compared to people in the Great Depression era, we have much more wealth and luxuries, but Americans are not happier or more content than they were during this time of poverty. For many of us, we have lost our sense of purpose. We are not living life to the fullest. We need to regain control of our lives and get back to basics. Materialism can spoil values and happiness. At the end of our lives, most of us will not reflect on our lives and will regret not working longer hours, regret not building better relationships or establishing more values that we live by. Here are some of my tips for living a fuller life:
- You are what you eat. Learn to cut down on processed artificial foods in your diet and rely more on healthy whole foods found naturally in nature.
- Stay active. Find some active things that can fit into your lifestyle and enjoy doing it. If you enjoyed skating as a kid, invest in some skates and spend a weekend on the nature trails. Take nature walks. Take up a new sport. Learn to play tennis with your spouse. Sign up for family bike rides. Hiking. Take an exercise class.
- Establish a support network. You need both friends and family. Join organized groups with people who share a common interest. You may like parenting groups, religious organizations, civic groups, or community centers. Reconnect with old friends from different stages of your life. Relationships are the foundation of life. They need you to take care of them and work on them. They do not happen by themselves.
- Don’t just spend quality time with your kids, spend a lot of time with them. Get down on the ground and play with them. Attend and actively participate in their extracurricular activities. Get to know your children’s friends and where they spend their time. Get involved in your school. Read to / with your child every day.
- Gardening has numerous benefits for people of all ages, particularly the elderly and young children. Stimulates all our senses through images, sounds, textures and aromas. It can help us connect with memories and the past. Family garden. Involve young children and grandparents whenever possible.
- Have arts and crafts time each day with your children. The biggest complaint most parents have about art is clutter. Learn how to overcome this. Keep a supply of crayons, markers, or paints in freezer bags, buy art paper, or just reuse paper bags for groceries. Take some time every day to get them out and therefore something creative with your kids. Don’t just put them at the forefront of the art, get involved with them. Older children may enjoy more detailed crafts such as wooden model building or scrap booking.
- Cook and eat as a family. Most of the time you will end up eating healthier than you would if you were dining out, and you will be forced to have a conversation as you sit down at the table.
- Involve children in running errands and cleaning the house when appropriate. Even young children can help with housework, such as dusting, cleaning windows or hard surfaces with non-toxic cleaners. Running errands, such as taking the dog to the vet or shopping, should also be considered educational for children. Get them involved by helping them make a list or choose items from the store. We also enjoy taking our son to specialty stores, such as a health food store or a pet store.
- Get out whenever possible. Buckle up and go out in cold weather, put on sunscreen and go out in the summer, put on your rain gear and go out in the spring and fall. Children need to play outside and having some of this every day is optimal. Dress for the weather and get them fun gear like sleds, rain boots, sand / water toys, blowing bubbles, and getting outside. Don’t just go to parks, experiment with nature walks and hikes, local arboretums or community gardens, large sports fields, etc.
- Have vacations and rituals with your children. Do these regular things that can be fun and look forward to early on. Not only can you make conventional holidays, but you can incorporate lesser-known holidays like Arbor Day, Earth Day, and the seasonal solstices into your routine. Make sure the holidays are special and fun for the kids.
- Teach children to place less value on material things and to play with the fun of little things. Make the first flowers of spring even more fun and exciting than getting a new toy. Instead of buying a new book, go to the library each week and check out several. As soon as your child can write his own name, let him get his own library card. Take your children somewhere where you can feed the ducks. Spend money on a membership to your local zoo or aquarium instead of buying a new toy for a birthday or holiday. Remember, children learn from us; try to be aware of how we live our own lives.
- Do community service work with your children. Even from a young age, children can participate in volunteer work and learn about the community in which they live. Visit a nursing home with your young child. Take a tour of the local fire station with your preschooler. Throw a better used party for your older child. They can have a fun party with their friends with snacks, games and fun. In the invitation, ask each child to bring a bag of items such as lightly used clothing, winter coats, etc. Then take the items with your child and donate them to a local homeless shelter the following week. The ideas are limitless.
- Consider bringing a pet into your home. Do your research to determine what type of pet is best suited to your lifestyle. Even something less maintenance, like a hamster or goldfish, can teach a child about unconditional love and responsibility for caring for a living creature.
- Have weekly family gatherings where you can discuss any topic, such as vacation planning, to work together as a family.
- Family vacations at least once a year. This doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to Disney World; only a weekend getaway to something fun in your own state will serve a useful purpose. If possible, also try to take a vacation once a year just you and your spouse. Offer family members or friends a child exchange where you take your children for a few days and vice versa and give you and your spouse a much-needed break.