• Go with the flow. Don't worry about every little thing.
  • Play good music for them. Sing to them.
  • learn how to talk to them about hard things. Help them understand by being a loving parent, and respect their processes.
  • Give them original or family names, but short ones that are easy to spell, or ensure that they have good nicknames.
  • Don't try to be too quiet while they sleep: they'll never be able to sleep through the night.
  • Foster their creativity and imagination at every step: let them draw on their bedroom walls, dress themselves, read to you. Hang their art from every surface in your house.
  • Tell them how much you love them and how beautiful they are every single day.
  • Try not to yell at them; they're just kids.
  • Teach them their phone number and their parents' phone numbers and how to call 9-1-1.
  • Expose them to different cultures all the time: people, places, foods, music.
  • Read to them. Read with them.
  • Teach them to use money wisely. Don't spoil them (rotten).
  • Don't hide details of your own personal life from them. How will they learn what not to do?
  • Listen to them. Take the time to explain things to them.
  • Be silly. Jump on beds. Run around. Play dress-up. Wrestle. Just play.
  • Enroll them in music, art, sports, theater, dance, underwater basketweaving, something, anything.
  • Make sure they go fishing with their uncles and grandpa.
  • Love their father in front of them: dance together, have fights (but be sure to make up), hold hands.
  • Take them to church, raise them in Christ, but let them decide for themselves.
  • Take them camping, even in the backyard.
  • Photograph everything.
  • Let them believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny. These hold the magic of childhood.
  • Have pets. Have farm animals. Give them responsibilities.
  • Cook and bake with them all the time. Foster healthy eating habits, but let them know that ice cream is not a bad thing.
  • Grow a garden with them to teach them to appreciate where natural, fresh food comes from.
  • Travel with them. They'll be better at geography, they'll learn new languages and experience new cultures.
  • Build a tree fort and a couch-pillow fort with them, maybe even a christmas-tree fort.
  • Their toys should use use imagination, not always electricity, and should foster healthy body images.
  • Encourage patriotism, instill manners, demand honor.
  • Teach them to respect themselves and others above all else. Don't harbor sexist, racist, or other stereotype mindsets.
  • Go to the library, museum, children's theater, and park often.
  • Do their homework with them.
  • Give them privacy, but make sure they know that trust must come with responsibility.
  • Pray for them every day. Pray with them.
  • Make things with them: macaroni cards and reupholstered couches and from-scratch brownies.
  • Speaking of brownies: don't freak out when you find pot in their room.
  • Be a shoulder for them to cry on, but be a role model they respect.
feb 23 2010 ∞
dec 5 2015 +
user picture Sheep Girl: I am infatuated with this list, and inspired by it. I want to be this strong and supportive too. You'll be a great parent! feb 26 2015
user picture Karen: Oh my goodness, thank you for your kind words! This list is my inspiration, too! I've come up with most of these after interactions with other parents and their kids, and I hope I can combine all of them into some great parenting someday! Let's hope where there's a will, there's a way, right?!