Kids mean sacrifice. You have to bear in mind that it is an unavoidable fact of life. Once you decide to have children they will cost you more than just money. They need to be nourished not only with food, but with a lot more: a culture, a belief system, a tribe to belong to.
If you are the kind of parent who is addicted to schedules and discipline, someone who has a file on their hard drive dedicated to their whole day’s routine, you will be missing a lot. Kids need quality time. Surely you have heard a lot about this. But what does it exactly mean?
It means that if your kids spend more time on line, or in front of the TV, or the PlayStation than what they spend with you, there is something definitely wrong.
Keeping the kids busy, especially during the holidays, is the kind of thing that makes any parent scratch his o her head. Do not despair. There is a lot you can do to leave your imprint on your kids, to create those memories that will last until your children have children of their own. Here are some tips:
1- Take advantage of your garden. Play in the sprinkler, with the hose. There is no need to have a swimming pool. Ask them to wash you car. If the layer of soap is too noticeable and dims the glow of the paint, don’t suffer. Take the car to the car wash later. Thank your children for a job well done and give them an extra bonus: marshmallows, for instance. Kids love playing with water!
2- Cook with the kids. No need to be a chef. There’s a cooking school in Aspen (http://www.kiddiecookers.com/cooking-school-aspen.html) that offers special programs with parents and kids. At home, there are a lot of pre-prepared mixes to bake cakes or cookies. Of course, cleaning up afterwards is part of the fun, too!
3- Try some home improvement. Surely kids would love to help you paint a wall, or move furniture around. More so if you take advantage of the holidays to do some improvement in their own bedroom. Choosing a new lamp or some nice wallpaper can be real fun.
4- Go fishing. A classic, but never a dull option. You can pick a location nearby, a one-hour drive away tops. Thus, they will be able to tell their own kids “I once caught a fish this big!”
5- Grow a garden. This is a nice activity because it will teach them the importance of commitment, to take responsibility for something they create, to be patient and wait for results.
These are only some of the things you can do. Set your mind to enjoy this. Consider that you are incredibly lucky to have a family to turn to, and loosen up a bit. Rules are meant to be broken, or at least bent a bit. So do not freak out if the kitchen is not left spotless. A house is meant to be lived in, enjoyed, not cleaned perpetually. No matter how hard you try not to make the same mistake your parents did, rest assured you will make some new ones in the everyday adventure of being a parent.
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