I vividly remember being invited to a Pampered Chef party at a neighbor’s house. I had 5 children under 6 at the time and was expecting another. I was originally not included in the invitations that went out because my husband was travelling and my neighbor knew I would have to bring my kids, but her guest list was low and she needed another guest. I was reluctantly invited to come and bring my kids.
The evening of the party, I coached my kids on the behavior I expected at someone’s home and to be kind and thoughtful to one another. The party was fun, I enjoyed the other ladies, and my kids played quietly in the playroom. I was one of the last to leave and after my kids cleaned up, we thanked the hostess and headed to the door.
At the door, she said to me that she had not wanted the kids to come to the party in the beginning, but she couldn’t believe how well behaved they were. I was sad to hear her voice the thought that my kids would not be pleasant because we were a bigger family.
I was always very conscious of how we would appear as a big family, what people would think, and how they would judge me. This made me very committed to raising good, thoughtful, kind, well behaved children. This night reinforced this belief in me.
So, how did I ensure that my kids were pleasant to be around? The secret is actively parenting. I had rules that I enforced, I made an effort to never say anything I didn’t mean, and my kids always knew my expectations. Whenever we went somewhere I coached my kids on expected behavior. It was a priority to me to raise good kids, so these are the things I expected of them:
-Be kind to one another and to other kids.
-Clean up your messes.
-Don’t be wild at other people’s houses.
The way I taught them this was to expect these things in my own home. Although they could be wild in the basement or the backyard of our house, I didn’t let them wreck my home. Kindness to siblings was also a top priority and I taught them how I expected them to clean up.
You teach these things by actively parenting when they are little. It was exhausting some days constantly teaching them, and some days were really long. However, what it did was ensure that when they were older, they already knew my expectations and my rules and they didn’t challenge them every day. It made parenting easier in the long run.
The days were long, but the years were short.
If you spend your time teaching your children when they are young, you are then free to take them anywhere without being exhausted by all the little things they should already know. Plus, you are not yelling at kids who aren’t listening all day.
You will raise kids who are a joy to be around for you and for other people.