No matter how much experience one has as a parent or camp director, there are always surprises. At Skylemar, each season is unique, with new reasons to celebrate and challenges to figure out.
On the other hand, some things never change. Kids will always want to be loved and valued, and adults will forever be frustrated that “they just don’t listen”.
Fads come and go, and we’re always surprised when some last longer than others. Rubik's cubes, sports trading cards and Crocs have stuck around longer than expected, while the fascination with a counselor’s cell phone has definitely dwindled.
When it comes to working with kids, we learn lessons every day. Over the years we’ve compiled a list of random suggestions that we’re confident are good for the world of parenting. Take ‘em or leave ‘em…
- Play and let him play. The real kind, not virtual. Outside, creatively, traditionally. Can’t think of much good that screens bring to the parenting table.
- Speaking of tables…have dinner together every night when you can. One meal for all, or help yourself to cereal or PB&J. Play “roses & thorns” (name 2 good things and one not so good about the day) or something that gets everyone talking.
- Manners matter. It’s never ok to be disrespectful to anyone including siblings and you.
- Say “no”, “not now” and “let me get back to you”. They’ll still love you; we promise.
- Laugh at your mistakes together...like the time we made lemon chicken and it was too lemony.
- Talk to your kids with the lights out at bedtime. In addition to stories, it’s also a good time for “what if” scenarios for the purpose of building confidence for the day ahead.
- Simple traditions are fun. Appetizer night, a birthday sign, a secret handshake, etc. Celebrate people!
- Remember the double standard -- if you don’t want him on his screen, then put yours away too.
- Two important words that every kid should understand: “unacceptable” and “inappropriate”. Save them for when you really need them.
- Resist the urge to help with homework or projects more than just a tiny bit. He’s the one who’s being educated, and that includes getting it wrong.
- Let them feel bored. Let them not like something. Let them feel bad. Kids need to know how to handle these feelings and what to do about them.
- Do community service together. It’s a wonderful thing to share.
- Kids might believe everything they hear, but that doesn't mean we should believe everything they say.
- Forget about time limits when it comes to correction. If you decide to take something away, give it back when he’s proven that he’s ready, not for a certain amount of time. You decide.
- The 3 steps of an apology: Feel sorry, say you're sorry, do something to show you're sorry.
- Say “I love you” over and over and never give up. That's the easiest of all.