1. Listen – If we don’t listen now to the small things, they won’t be willing to share the big things with us later.  Let them talk to you all about their favourite sandwich, or why they love bubbles so much, or why they think Elsa from frozen is the greatest.  Not with one eye on your phone and a half ear.  Fully.  Listening. This is what children need.

2.  Ask them questions – this not only stirs their imagination but gets them really thinking.  At bedtime I like to ask these questions;  What was your favourite part about today?  What did you do today that was fun?  What do you think we should do tomorrow?  What did you eat today that was yummy?

3.  Pray – Pray with your kids often and faithfully.  Now I will hear my girls pray for “safety for papa” or protection for “auntie a” all on their own.  Setting this example is so important not only early on but through their whole lives.

4. Play – Sit down on the floor with them.  Playing with the dollhouse for the 16th time in a row is not always my favourite thing to do.  Heck, I would rather be cleaning up the house, or scrolling my Instagram feed, but nothing brings your child more joy than sitting down with them, giving undivided attention and playing at their level.

5.  Exercise – I fondly remember working out to Cher step tapes with my mom in the basement. We would get our exercise shorts on and down we would go.  Now I like to do the same with my girls – although its Jillian Micheals, not Cher.

6. Go to the Park – Weather permitting we hit the park every day if not twice a day.  It’s free and enjoyable.  They learn many skills, from climbing, to friend making, and what mom doesn’t enjoy their child’s happy squeals when they are swinging though the air.  Also as they get a bit older, they don’t need much assistance so that means you get to park your butt on that bench, and drink up that coffee. Win/Win!

7. Baking/Cooking – My girls get so excited, every time we pull out the stand mixer and start pulling the ingredients out of the cupboard.  Pouring, mixing, stirring and learning measurements are all valuable skills for the future.  Bonus a yummy end result!

8. Teach them Chores -At 4 and  2, the girls are capable of cleaning their rooms, clearing the table, wiping down the bathroom sink, and helping to sweep and vacuum. One of our favourites is dishes – they love to play in the water and I get to get some work done without feeling like I am ignoring them. This is what children need.

9. Art – Get messy!  Paint, glue, scissors. There really is no excuse now due to pinterest! Grab an idea from there and get creative!

10. Volunteer and show kindness – Whether officially or unofficially, volunteer to do things and be the example to them.  Pick up garbage at the park, get involved in an organization where the whole family can help out. Do this while they are young.  Not only does it help from children developing such a sense of entitlement which is so present in our society, but it paves the way for their future of being of service to others. This is what children need.

11. Read to them. Most kids love to read, it is a special time to connect with your child. Not only do their brains need it to grow and develop but the closeness and cuddles are the most precious moments of my day. Reading is what children need.

I think just really being present with your kids is so important.  In the world we live in, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and gadgets.  Give them the ipad and have “you time”.  I think it is very easy for kids to be ignored, not intentionally but it happens.  Its happening right now as I write this post out for you.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not harping on the use of technology as a baby sitter! Ha sometimes that is so needed but just a gentle reminder for it not to be your go to thing.  

Get down on their level, be connected, be present, and be the best parent you can be. Be intentional about your parenting.