One of my favorite things about my circle of friends is that while we are all different, we all bring qualities to the table that balance each other. Many of my friends are so organized, tidy souls who help me keep the chaos in check. Others are very calming, gentle parents whom I admire and try to model after. And I am sure that I help in my own crazy ways with their own goals. It is a beautiful thing when friendship just flows like that, each party encouraging and accepting each other for who we are. Well, I want my relationship to be like that with my children. I want to treat them like friends and not something that needs to be changed, trained, or tolerated. But how do you treat a child like a friend?
If you ask anyone what they love about their best friends many will say that it is the little things… the small considerations that we give to each other simply because we want to. We don’t ask anything in return, we know that it is a gift with no strings attached. Whether it is making soup for a sick friend, seeing a piece of jewelry that would suit someone you know perfectly, or just giving a hug to a friend in need, these are little joys that we give our friends happily. So I propose that we do these same little joys for our children.
Here are the rules though, because when it comes to our kids we have a habit of attaching nasty little strings to our “gifts”:
1. The object is to make the child happy.
2. There are no conditions to this simple little joy. If you leave candy under a pillow then the child is free to eat said candy whenever he or she wants, as much as he or she wants. If you decide to take your child to a movie as a joy, then you cannot attach “but your room/kitchen/clothes/etc must be clean or tidy first”.
Pretty easy right? Now, do you think you could do this for 100 days? I am. I want to make this year the year where I take my goal of becoming a more gentle parent to a new level. I want to stop yelling, stop trying to be the boss of my girls, and treat them like my guests and friends. So I am going to step up to the plate and start the new year right with 100 Days of Little Joys, each day striving to bring as much happiness as possible to my girls.
If this idea is appealing then here are some ideas to get you going:
1. Have an un-birthday party complete with decorations and party dresses.
2. If it is winter where you live, turn up the heat, put the bathing suits on, and have a mid-winter bikini party.
3. Stay in your pj’s and build a fort
4. Surprise them with new art supplies
6. Randomly throughout the day blast the music and start dancing wildly about to make them giggle
7. Tickle Fest!
8. Get out the nerf guns and chase each other around the house
9. Make a luxury bath for them complete with music, candles, and lots of bubbles
10. Create a cd for each child with their favorite music
11. A new book complete with book plates, maybe like these
12. Play dress up together and let your child play with your clothes and jewelry
13. Go get ice cream together but pick each others flavors out
14. Declare date nights and give each child their own night with whichever parent they want
15. Surprise them with a little plant or some cut flowers
The whole point of this is to make a conscious effort to treat your children like equals, like friends instead of enemies. When you make an effort to make someone’s day and view them as people whose opinions you value, you find the best in them and develop a relationship that is based on something stronger than rules and control. And it takes more than just a day or two which is why 100 days is a great way to get going. I hope that you join me and I would love to see what little joys you bring to your children!!! Cheers!