By Erin Loechner, Disney Baby
Everything I know about parenting I learned from my parents. Reflecting
on my own childhood, I realize how hard my parents worked to instill
their beliefs and passions into the lives of myself and my sisters, from
budgeting to creativity and everything between. Naturally, I find
myself passing along these same pieces of wisdom to my own daughter,
whether intentionally or not. After all, the apple never truly falls far
from the tree...
1. Invest in memories.
Growing up, it's clear to see how my parents prioritized their finances:
memories, not things. People, not products. We lived in a cozy house
with everything we needed, but rather than fluffing our nest with the
latest/greatest or donning the current brand name fashions, my parents
invested in an annual summer road trip, vacationing for weeks at a time
to beaches and parks, oceans and monuments. The designers jeans would
have faded long age, but these memories are forever imprinted in my
2. Find your village.
Our family's roots ran deep, gripped by families and friendships and a
vast community of social circles. We spent weekends with cousins,
evenings with neighbors and vacations with friends. And sure, the
socialization was great for the kids, but now as a parent, I see how
necessary a supportive village was for my mother and father, too.
3. Stick to a routine.
From the types of cereal in the cupboard to my father's Saturday morning
vacuuming ritual, our lives maintained a familiar consistency that was
comforting as a child. There was plenty of space for spontaneity, but as
a lover of routine, I've grown to respect the level of security that
came from a stable, steady schedule.
4. Don't overschedule.
At the same time, my parents were experts at carving out free time for
us. Holidays were low-key, weekday evenings were slow and void of
stress. Extracurricular activities were encouraged, not demanded. I feel
so grateful for a childhood that felt carefree and simple and can only
hope to infuse Bee's with the same.
5. Teach follow through.
As children with fickle interests, we certainly dabbled into a slew of
different activities, sports and recreations. And yet, the #1 rule
instilled in us was to always finish what we started. If we didn't love
the flute after we gave it a shot, no problem! But we need to finish the
semester, season or schedule. Our team was relying on us, and the
responsible course of action is to commit to finishing strong for the
collective good, even if it's not something we were overtly excited
6. Encourage creativity.
Books were always readily available for us as children, and I distinctly
remember long, leisurely trips to the library with my mother. TV was
limited, but reading was encouraged often, honing our imagination and
comprehension beyond the walls of our own school. In fact, I 100%
attribute my love for writing/reading to the literary encouragement of
7. Have faith in your child.
Whether it was dish duty or dusting, my parents assigned chores that
weren't completed to perfection, but were appreciated nonetheless. My
parents would have folded the laundry much neater and tidier than her
boisterous daughters, but they often set aside their own expectations to
foster independence and responsibility in us. What a gift!
8. Get involved.
My parents were incredibly involved in our childhood. They knew the
names of our teachers, our friends, our friends' parents. As a result,
the lines of communication were open and free-flowing. I rarely felt as
if they didn't understand my circumstances or - perhaps worse - that
they didn't care.
9. Emphasize education.
As the daughter of two teachers, education was a high priority in our
lives. Yet learning often spilled far beyond the school year and my
parents never missed an opportunity to teach us something new, from
historical monument visits to social etiquette in a restaurant. Not
every lesson is taught at a desk, and not every level of comprehension
can be measured with a letter grade.
10. Lead by example.
Perhaps most importantly, my parents led us. We learned what
our parents valued, treasured and appreciated by watching them live
their lives. They weren't perfect (no one is), but their love for others
never failed to shine through any mishaps along the way. I can only
hope to be a fraction of the example for my own daughter!
Tell me, what are some parenting insights you learned from your own family? I'd love to hear!