Planning For Your Kids
Most parents want their children to be successful, most of them want to be proud of the little tykes after they grow up. BUT, how many plan for building healthy and fun relationships with their kids while they're still at home? Not many! We DO plan for a lot of things: grade schooling, for high school, where we think they should go to college...but at an early age children like doing things with their parents, and if we take time to plan for this, we can enjoy our kids for much of the time they're home with us.
When to Plan
First off, planning for a child's grown up future is important, and you don't want to neglect it. But if you want to have a big effect on your son or daughter as they grow up, you have to start - when they are small - with time. You'll hear about quality time vs. quantity time, but that argument is horse feathers. When a kid is small they want time with YOU, and the more of it, the better they like it. Most of us are busy nowadays, right? Our work is important, right? And we say we love our children and that they are important to us, but how true would we find that if we looked at how much time you actually schedule for them? Good question, huh?
What to Plan
Now, the really interesting part of this is that you don't need to spend the time playing kiddie games with them, you can do things that both you and they will enjoy IF you plan it right. Things to do around the house, either related to the lawn or repairs or fixing it up, all are interesting to children if 1)they can help and 2)they can see the difference being made. It's important to plan these two parts, because kids need to see that what they did made a difference. You haven't felt your heart warm up until you've had your six year old telling some house guest: "See that door? I helped paint that!", or letting the guests know that they helped cook the dinner, or did the fancy table setting, or whatever. Make it something that matters, and give 'em time to help. That last is important, you have to get it into your own head that this job is going to take a little longer and require more patience than it would if only you did it. But you'll find the results will last a lifetime.
Other Things to Do
There are other things you can do, too. How about visiting the zoo or amusement parks to ride a kiddie bumper boat, and telling them about the animals and the work that goes into caring for them? How about reading to them? My kids STILL enjoy this when they come over, and one of 'em is in his mid twenties! The original Winnie the Pooh books were actually written to entertain both adults AND children, and you'll find things in them that will make you laugh along with situations that'll entertain your small children. One thing we did with our own kids that they still talk about was reading books about historical things, and then taking vacations to the areas the books talked about. We've done that with vacations to the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut (read Captain's Courageous beforehand); to Appomattox Courthouse (read books about the Civil War); even to Durango to ride the Silverton train. Take the time to plan it, and you'll be thankful for a lifetime.