April 25, 2007

parenting tips

I'm not a Mom but I have a 2 adorable rambunctious nephews so I do feel Mommiehood knocking on my door now and then. Being a parent and knowing the right things to do for your kids is not an easy job. I learn that from watching my little sister these past 12+ years. She's an incredible young Mom. I don't know how she does it!

So for all the parents out there (including my sister), I found these wonderful "Parenting Tips" from Susan & Bill Belfiore, parents of 5 children, in an old issue of Real Simple (February 2002). Enjoy!


Parenting Tips
  • RESIST OVERSCHEDULING. Give peace, family time, and good old hanging out their due. The Belfiore children (5 in all) ride, swim, play hockey, and more, but they spend their weekends at home together.
  • SIT DOWN FOR MEALS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY. "We get Bill when we can, but the rest of us always eat dinner together," Susan says.
  • ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE. "The more routine I gave them, the more secure they'd feel," Susan says. So the Belfiores now have breakfast and dinner at the same time each day, do their homework immediately after school, then have a bath and dinner. They get things ready for the next day, then hang out.
  • TEACH THEM TO LEAN ON ONE ANOTHER. When they get hurt, they'll want to come to a parent for comfort, but encourage them not to pass up a brother or sister on the way.
  • APPOINT AN ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR. That would be Bill Belfiore, responsible for planning trips, coming through with *NSYNC tickets, and rounding everyone up to attend theater or hockey games or to stay overnight at a nearby Marriott and pile into the pool. "It's a simple thing to do," says Susan, "but it's so much fun."
  • CREATE MEMORY BANKS. Make a conscious effort to capture memories together. At their last dinner of the summer this year, the Belfiores reminisced about the season. The children had taken lifeguard training, so it became "the lifeguard summer."
  • HOLD FAMILY MEETINGS. The Belfiores call a meeting whenever any family member thinks one is needed. Everyone has to stop everything and shopw up, no matter what. Meetings have been called for matters as profound as Bill's father's death and as routine as sibling squabbles.
  • DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN IN ADVANCE. Last-minute rushing leads to short tempers, so the Belfiores make lunches, lay out clothing, sort and label vitamins and medications, and pack for trips ahead of time.
  • ACCEPT SUPPORT. It's hard to meet every child's emotional needs. If a friend or relative can take someone out for some fun, welcome the help.
  • EVERYBODY CONTRIBUTES. Since the age of six, the Belfiore children have each had chores, now posted in the kitchen, with individualized notes. ("Ionel: Remember to bring your books home!")
  • USE AFFIRMATIONS. If there's family difficulty, say to yourself, "We're getting along in a peaceful way." Even if it isn't true at that moment, you can always hope.

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