New Year. New goals. What about some new inspiration for raising your kids?
I love New Years because it lets us reset the clock and start fresh. Parenting can get overwhelming and even mundane if we don’t take a step back and re-evaluate the approaches we are using and figure out if they are even working.
How To Raise Great Kids: 101 Fun & Easy Ideas by Jim Gromer is a parenting book that is the perfect antidote to your parenting burnout. Take the time as we enter a new year to read each of the creative, effective suggestions outlined in this book. It will give you so many ideas for changing things up with your kids so that your entire family will be happier and calmer.
Parenting Tips Galore
This book is all about learning the little things that can make a huge difference in our relationship with our children. Realizing that most parents prefer short, practical, and insightful advice on how to raise terrific kids, Jim Gromer compiled his favorite tools to teach valuable life lessons and to help raise hard-working, respectful, and joyful children.
So many of the areas addressed in this book fit perfectly into Happy Science Mom’s toolkit for raising happy, balanced children. Here are a few highlights:
- Give your kids a freebie. Sometimes our kids want to talk to us about something but are afraid we will get mad and punish them. In order to ensure that our kids keep an open line of communication with us, we need to allow them a freebie once in awhile to have the freedom to tell us anything without consequences. Instead of freaking out, work together with your child to come up with a solution to their problem, if one exists.
- Give them the power. Teach your children that when someone makes fun of them or insults them that they should try to not let it bother them too much because then they are giving the instigator the power. Of course, if serious bullying occurs, then it is important that we speak to a teacher or parent when appropriate.
- Encourage a spending/saving/charity plan. In order to teach children about helping others and managing money, we can establish a system in which they divide their gifts and allowance up into three buckets: spending, saving, and charity. You can work together to decide what percent goes to each. Buying or creating your own giving boxes helps to make this ritual extra meaningful.
- Simple is better. When it comes to sparking creativity, take a minimalist attitude. Jim Gromer talks about how he loves to put an empty cardboard box in front of his kids to see what they can create with it. If we give our kids extensive art kits with overwhelming instructions then we take away their freedom to think out-of-the-box and let their creative juices really flow.
- Be a good role model and make it fun. Jim asks parents to work on their own health to lead by example. It is so much easier to raise active kids if mom and dad are also playing sports and going to the gym. He also suggests that we try to make fitness fun by trying new types of sports and playing creative exercise games, such as the indoor color races his family loves when the weather isn’t cooperating.
- A positive attitude is everything. Teach your children the importance of keeping an upbeat view on life even when they face challenges and disappointments. One way to instill this sense of optimism is to keep the language in your home positive, not negative. As your kids face obstacles, ask them to find something positive in that experience.
Fun and Laughter
- Playdates are a critical part of growth. Jim points out that some parents have become so over-protective of their children that they prevent them from playing freely with their friends. Setting up play dates is so important for our kids because it gives them a chance to interact and be creative with their peers.
- Humor builds confidence and social skills. The Gromer family puts an emphasis on teaching their kids jokes that they can then recite to family and friends at social gatherings. They find that children gain confidence and can successfully communicate with all types of people if they are able to make them laugh with a few harmless jokes.
- You don’t need to spend money to have a wonderful time. Many parents feel pressured to spend a lot of money on fancy experiences like a vacation to Disney World, thinking that is the only way they can have fun as a family. This is not the case. There are so many free ways that we can have a blast with our kids. Spending time together in public outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, nature centers, lakes, and beaches are not only fun but provide so many health benefits as we connect with nature.
How To Raise Great Kids: 101 Fun & Easy Ideas provides so many amazing ideas for raising our children. Using it as a guide, I decided what my main parenting resolution will be for this coming year. In chapter 83, Jim talks about how his family has a “book time for screen time” policy. One hour of reading equals an hour of computer or television time. How clever!
Tackling the time spent on technology–for both my kids and myself–is at the top of my New Years resolution list. I often catch myself looking at my phone and working even after my kids get home from school. I intend to try to put my phone down more often and focus directly on my children. I want to play with them more and engage in conversation with them more. I want to enjoy the moment and to show my children that what they say and do is important—more important than everything on my phone. By spending less time on my phone around them, I will be modeling better behavior so that they will spend less time staring at screens, too.
About The Author
Born in Denver, Colorado, Jim Gromer works as a television producer, screenwriter, and author. He served as a Search and Rescue Swimmer in the U.S. Navy during the Somalia and Persian Gulf conflicts before beginning his career in television in 1995. Jim was nominated for three Emmy Awards and took home the honor in 2009. He hosted the extreme sports TV series “Rocky Mountain Adventurer,” where the author introduced viewers to skydiving, kayaking, paragliding, ice climbing, and other dangerous pleasures. Jim lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife Rachel and their four children. To learn more about Jim Gromer’s work, visit www.greatkids101.com.