- First of all, we all have something to invest, whether it be time, energy, money, or a combination thereof. Sadly, these days, with long work hours, time with our families is precious and scarce. And it is paramount if we are to succeed with our children. But how do we do it? What if we’re struggling ourselves? How can we give energy to our kids if we don’t have any left at the end of the day? What if we don’t have any money? Many people today have suffered job losses which have been financially devastating to their families. What then?
- Take care of yourself. It has been said that we can’t love anyone if we don’t first love ourselves. If we are sick, then we can’t care for our families. So we need to get ourselves on track first by making healthy choices. Of course this is easier said than done, but if we want healthy children, then we must first set the precedence. We need to set the example in our household. We need to have the proper energy somehow, or our families may suffer. Because we are the providers, then we matter!
- Let’s get our priorities straight. How many of us come home and plop down in front of the television set and tune everyone out? While TV can provide some great family togetherness, make sure it does just that: provide togetherness! There are too many things to be done when considering all of the household chores, children’s studies and activities, and anything else on top of the jobs that support the family. Set priorities……connect with one another, whether it be over a meal or before or after school. No television until certain priorities have been met! Homework, household responsibilities, and family time should trump video games and television. After the priorities have been met, then okay!
- Because each child is a unique individual, they will have various interests. Providing each child with the activities and extracurricular lessons of their choice may not be financially feasible for every family, but be sure that each child has something that sets them apart and makes them feel special. For example, if Johnny loves music, you may not be able to afford expensive musical equipment and private lessons, but take advantage of musical instruction at his school or church. If you can afford more, then go for it! If Suzy is active and loves leaping around, sign her up for gymnastics or dance. If there isn’t enough in the budget, then again, take advantage of these and other related activities as provided by her school or even your local communty center. And, it you can afford lessons outside of school, that’s super. We should never be afraid to open our checkbooks and invest in our kids, because the self-esteem and focus they get from these extracurricular activities will continue to be with them throughout the rest of their life, helping them through future studies and even in developing mature relationships.
- Time with friends is important too. But watch them. They don’t always have to know you’re watching, but you need to know what’s going on. Just because little Suzy is now a teenager doesn’t mean she’s old enough to be left on her own. Quite the opposite! This is an age where they can get in a lot of trouble because their brains are not done developing. They are not thinking with their cerebral cortex with way an older person does. Their perception of consequences is not always realistic. Teens tend to think more with thier emotions that with logic. Parents beware! Love these kids with all you’ve got, and keep them closer than they are aware of. This is tricky, but necessary. Each family has their own stories. There is no one-size-fits-all.
- Then, there are the financial investments. Many of us don’t have enough money to make such investments, but even as little as $25 or $50 a month can go toward a fund for our kids. If times are tough now, then maybe in the future we’ll be able to set a little aside. Also, investing in a health insurance plan is important. Most of us contribute to a health insurance plan through our employers, but today, plans are getting more expensive and coverage is decreasing. This is surely an area of concern. Our kids need to see doctors, even if they’re well most of the time. If they’re not, then doctor’s bills can be devastating without insurance. There are many options, and it is well worth our while as parents to check them out if we don’t already have a plan.
So remember: Get ourselves healthy so we have energy to raise our children, and set a good example for them. Get our priorities straight. Time is scarce, make the most of it! Provide time with friends, and always know what’s going on. Invest financially when possible.
These are obviously only a few ideas of how to invest in our children. There are countless other ways! So let’s get investing!
Could you use some parenting help?
One tool that we’ve used is Total Transformation by James Lehman. It’s given us a lot of solid, common sense ideas for parenting our challenging children.