Encourage creativity, science and engineering: Make a craft station / work bench for projects. Fill it with all kinds of art supplies, engineering kits, tools, pegboard, etc. Stock safety equipment like goggles and make sure the area has good lighting. Lots of ideas on Pinterest, etc.
Something to remember on those days when the kids are making you nuts and you’re at the end of your parenting rope:
“They love you no matter what.
They always want to be close to you.
Even when you’re screwing up, they still think you’re amazing.
They want to be just like you when they grow up.
You are their hero.
You may be their mom, but they’re constantly reminding you of your worth.”
Toddlers fall... a lot. Most falls are harmless but sometimes bad accidents happen. Head injuries are scary because they bleed and swell. If bleeding doesn't stop within a few minutes or you can see it's a big gash, head to the urgent care. And remember if the swelling goes out (“goose egg”) that’s a good thing: Better out than in.
The biggest mistake I *never* made was in 1997. I was working two jobs: nurse and waitress. I was having an extremely difficult time in the nursing job. I struggled to understand it and made mistakes despite working long hard hours. My waitressing job was hard too, but it was fun! A great group of fun young people, we hung out and bonded. I was crushing hard on the bartender too! I decided to quit my nursing job and wait tables full time. (I had TWO college degrees at the time.) Not sure exactly what made me change my mind, but I didn’t do it. Instead I quit the restaurant (probably because I was heartbroken over the bartender!) and enrolled in graduate school. Kept my nursing job. There I met lifelong friends, and went on to be nursing director. That waitressing job was my escape hatch. The best I could imagine for myself was waiting tables full time! What a small SMALL world view. While I am VERY glad I didn’t quit the nursing job I hated, because that’s how I got you, I wish I had imagined a bigger, better option than waiting tables full time if I felt that I needed to quit nursing. Peace Corps, move to the city, SOMETHING brave and bold and exciting. All this is to say - widen your vision. There’s so much more to life than what is directly in front of you. Be bold. Be brave. I love you.
There are all kinds of ways people end up destroying their lives in an attempt to cope with fear, loneliness, stress, grief, boredom or anxiety, etc.
A few: Drug/alcohol addiction, gambling, shopping/ spending addiction, hoarding, sex addiction, fundamentalism/ extremist politics, workaholics, deadbeats.
Nobody starts out trying to be an addict or a nut. It happens when you continually choose to avoid dealing with the pain or anxiety you’re feeling. Choices become habits. Habits can form addictions.
That’s why it’s SO important to find healthy ways to deal with difficult feelings or situations. What makes you feel better when you’re upset? A shower, a run, music, a game, friends, quiet time, being outdoors ... There are lots of ways to take good care of your spirit. Keep choosing them. Ask for help when you’re not able to make good choices on your own.
Institute “Family Night” a screen-free night of games and fun and togetherness. Can use these times for conversations about things you want to address / teach. Maybe make theme nights and build around a lesson so it’s fun and enjoyable.
Continue through school years.
Porn: I wish I could keep you away from it entirely but at least I will prepare you.
It’s normal to be curious, etc. but like anything else, it can get to be too much and can be very harmful, especially to a very young person. It can disrupt your healthy sexuality, ruin your relationships and even your career (no porn at work!)
Also keep in mind it is a business designed to make money, not to be realistic. That's not the way sex looks. Also the women are NOT enjoying themselves.
So try to avoid it, but at least keep it to a minimum!
Sex: There's no single way to do it "right" but there are lots of ways to do it wrong. Not being respectful and tender towards your partner is usually at the root of "wrong" ways to do it. Also, there is no rush. You may think all your friends are "doing it." They're not. Take your time.
A useful opening line in a conversation (personal, parenting or professional) is “What should I know about ...”. It shows you understand you have something to learn, and it makes people feel valued. “What should I know about what’s going on at football practice?”
Great career advice from tv producer Tara Schuster: Be the best at the worst job. You’re a lowly intern, you’re not gonna get asked to sit down with the boss and strategize. But say the boss likes coffee, and the office coffee machine is unreliable. Fix the machine. Keep it in tip-top condition. Make a contribution to the company in small ways, consistent with your level of ability (which at this age is low low low. NO ONE likes a 20-something who thinks he/ she knows it all. Or knows anything really.) Listen, learn, anticipate needs and surpass expectations doing the little things. Be polite, kind, ethical. Be on time (early.) Yes, compete but also help others look good and succeed. NEVER never trash-talk a colleague, client, boss or subordinate. Don’t suck-up either. Mostly just listen, work, make yourself useful wherever you can. And have fun. You’re gonna do great, bunny.
Be mindful of avoiding the “race to nowhere.”
No sense in stressing over school and work. We get one life!! LIVE it! Work hard at what you love. There will be seasons of busting your butt, and that’s good. Just make sure it’s in pursuit of something you’re passionate about.
And I hope you take seasons of rest, too. Time to recharge, reflect and decide what’s next for you.
Take a CPR class together.
Emphasize importance of staying certified ( or making a habit of watching an online course every year on the same day, like the day after Thanksgiving or something like that.
Take heart. There are lots of terrible things in the world - Poverty, disease, injustice, natural disasters...Thankfully, good FAR outweighs the bad: Love, Faith, Art, friendship, healing, creativity, community, innovation, beauty and renewal to name just a few. Focus on the good. Relish in the countless expressions of goodness. Work hard to preserve, protect, and advance them.
Be appreciative of people’s time. Send thank you notes after interviewing and applying for jobs, scholarships, etc. even if you don’t get picked.
It’s common courtesy and it’s a good way to make a good impression for next time.