Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pro parenting tips from a pro non-parent

There’s nothing quite like reading tips someone posts about a topic they have no direct experience with. This is one of those posts.

The topic of babies comes up quite frequently among a group of my friends. They are at that stage in life we're they're expecting their second (and some their third!) child, and it's great. 

It’s with that excited spirit I share some ways of raising children, in a half-joking and half-please-please-let's sort of way. In no particular order:

No Toys until the age of five. I'm not suggesting that the kid's going to be bored out of his mind at first, but I think finding ways to stimulate the mind will be great. I'm thinking instead of toys, why not cardboard boxes? It's a huge money saver, but more importantly it opens their creative minds to think up all the radical things they can make. A battle ship, a castle, talk show set, the list can go on of what they can create.

Jurassic Park before bed each night. I don't mean play them the movie; that may scar them early and stop them from ever seeing it. No, what I'm going to do is have them play me Jurassic Park to sleep. It really serves three great purposes: helps them with whatever musical instrument they wish to play, they hear great music and their father gets the proper rest he needs to raise them. Win-win-win.

Overseas trip before age seven. We're not talking your typical Disneyland adventure, all-inclusive resorts or five-star dining experiences. I'm thinking sending them to a third-world nation to do or see some humanitarian good in action. The intention is to keep them humble and generous in their North American home, or wherever in the world we may be living.

Bring basics back. Maybe this is related to the no toys thing, but maybe what we need is less dependence on technology and a higher focus on prime necessities. When I say technology I don’t mean simply whether a five-year-old is playing with an iPhone; I mean, do we really need a super-powered stroller that takes up more space on a bus than a classroom full of children? A plain thrift store stroller may suffice. Lord knows the generations before us managed.

Who knows whether these ideas will stick? Maybe I will end up doing none of them and instead look back and laugh at my own naivety. Either way, here are some ideas from people who are really nailing this parenting thing.

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