By Erin Loechner, Disney Baby
Everything I know about parenting I learned from my parents. Reflectingon my own childhood, I realize how hard my parents worked to instilltheir beliefs and passions into the lives of myself and my sisters, frombudgeting to creativity and everything between. Naturally, I findmyself passing along these same pieces of wisdom to my own daughter,whether intentionally or not. After all, the apple never truly falls farfrom 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 housewith everything we needed, but rather than fluffing our nest with thelatest/greatest or donning the current brand name fashions, my parentsinvested in an annual summer road trip, vacationing for weeks at a timeto beaches and parks, oceans and monuments. The designers jeans wouldhave faded long age, but these memories are forever imprinted in mymind.
2. Find your village.
Our family's roots ran deep, gripped by families and friendships and avast community of social circles. We spent weekends with cousins,evenings with neighbors and vacations with friends. And sure, thesocialization was great for the kids, but now as a parent, I see hownecessary 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 morningvacuuming ritual, our lives maintained a familiar consistency that wascomforting as a child. There was plenty of space for spontaneity, but asa lover of routine, I've grown to respect the level of security thatcame from a stable, steady schedule.
4. Don't overschedule.
At the same time, my parents were experts at carving out free time forus. Holidays were low-key, weekday evenings were slow and void ofstress. Extracurricular activities were encouraged, not demanded. I feelso grateful for a childhood that felt carefree and simple and can onlyhope to infuse Bee's with the same.
5. Teach follow through.
As children with fickle interests, we certainly dabbled into a slew ofdifferent activities, sports and recreations. And yet, the #1 ruleinstilled in us was to always finish what we started. If we didn't lovethe flute after we gave it a shot, no problem! But we need to finish thesemester, season or schedule. Our team was relying on us, and theresponsible course of action is to commit to finishing strong for thecollective good, even if it's not something we were overtly excitedabout.
6. Encourage creativity.
Books were always readily available for us as children, and I distinctlyremember long, leisurely trips to the library with my mother. TV waslimited, but reading was encouraged often, honing our imagination andcomprehension beyond the walls of our own school. In fact, I 100%attribute my love for writing/reading to the literary encouragement ofmy parents.
7. Have faith in your child.
Whether it was dish duty or dusting, my parents assigned chores thatweren't completed to perfection, but were appreciated nonetheless. Myparents would have folded the laundry much neater and tidier than herboisterous daughters, but they often set aside their own expectations tofoster independence and responsibility in us. What a gift!
8. Get involved.
My parents were incredibly involved in our childhood. They knew thenames of our teachers, our friends, our friends' parents. As a result,the lines of communication were open and free-flowing. I rarely felt asif they didn't understand my circumstances or - perhaps worse - thatthey didn't care.
9. Emphasize education.
As the daughter of two teachers, education was a high priority in ourlives. Yet learning often spilled far beyond the school year and myparents never missed an opportunity to teach us something new, fromhistorical monument visits to social etiquette in a restaurant. Notevery lesson is taught at a desk, and not every level of comprehensioncan be measured with a letter grade.
10. Lead by example.
Perhaps most importantly, my parents led us. We learned whatour parents valued, treasured and appreciated by watching them livetheir lives. They weren't perfect (no one is), but their love for othersnever failed to shine through any mishaps along the way. I can onlyhope 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!