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3 Things You Can Do With Your Children That Will Enhance Their Lives and Yours

3 Things You Can Do With Your Children That Will Enhance Their Lives and Yours

Parenting is about knowing and helping to meet the needs of the child while teaching them independence. At the same time, however, it also involves teaching your child or children how to work together for the benefit of the whole family. There are several things that you can do as a parent to achieve these goals:

1. Cook together. Many of my young adult clients are petrified about how they will survive when they leave home because they have never learned to shop or cook. When you take your children to the grocery store to buy ingredients for recipes that they will help you to make, they learn about pricing, budgeting, measurements and the work involved in packing and carrying the bags. Following the recipe allows them to learn about accuracy and creativity. When children help to cook, they also seem to enjoy the food more because they shared in the process.

2. Share musical adventures. Your child doesn't have to take lessons although this will help them learn discipline and rhythm and the joy of being able to play tunes. As a parent, you can enhance their lives and yours by singing or dancing with them. My children and grandchildren have learned songs that my parents and grandparents taught me. There are several free karaoke programs on the internet that provide music and written lyrics so you and your child can sing together. It always surprises me at how much laughter there is when people sing together. Dancing with the children teaches them a skill that will provide them confidence in their dating relationships and prepare them for the formal graduation dance.

3. Do house and yardwork together. Children do not like to be told to clean their rooms - especially when their parents' room looks like a bomb went off! On the other hand, most children like to be part of an activity where they can do "grown up" jobs. Working with the parents to weed a flowerbed or straighten the family room is more enjoyable than being TOLD to do these projects. Don't expect the children to do things on their own all the time or do things for them all the time without their help. Try doing things together WITH them. It will help the children to learn how to meet the standards for completion, speed up the task (you save arguing time) and will provide a fun experience that you can share.

These are only three things that a parent and child can share. What others can you think of that would help you to achieve your goals for your children?

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About the Author

Dr. Hancock has written a regular weekly column entitled “All Psyched Up” for newspapers in two Canadian provinces for more than a dozen years...