I love having a big family. We’ve always been a tight-knit group in the Schaffer fam, but all of us became even closer over the last two years of the pandemic. That said, it doesn’t mean my kids don’t get into it from time to time. There are times I definitely want to pull my hair out, I haven’t put on makeup in days, and most of my time is spent listening to my kids blasting music and screaming. But truly, at its core, I know these past couple of years have made us all stronger and closer. Even on the craziest of days, there is my family, reminding me to pause, be grateful for what we have and embrace our time together. Here’s how I teach my kids to support, uplift, and cheer on one other!
Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.—Diana, Princess of Wales
Supporting Our Children As a Family
I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in awe of my kids. Watching them play together, be kind to one another, embracing each other’s interests—it’s truly a remarkable thing. Sometimes I look at Bobby and want to just give him a high-five and be like “we did it”!
It was always incredibly important to us that not only Bobby and me, but our kids as well, supported the individuality of each other. Raising our kids to support each other is the key to solving some of society’s greatest downfalls—yeah, I said it! As parents, we’re all raising future movers and shakers, and it starts with teaching our kids to be supportive and thoughtful of each other right here at home.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his first piece of published music at five years old.
Everyone’s Got a Unique Passion
I can’t tell you how different my kids are. Each one of them is so vastly different than the other in terms of their passions and interests. And yet, they are so alike in how they approach life and the things they are passionate about. While one loves lacrosse and another loves dance, they each have the same drive and tenacity to achieve their goals.
Figure out what your kids are passionate about and make it a family affair. When it’s time for Jackson’s games, we’re all there on the sidelines cheering him on. When Dylan has a dance competition, you better believe we’re all counting down the minutes until her team goes on.
Make sure each kid’s passion is well known and talked about among everyone in the family.
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Music has been proven to boost learning in children. Singing, listening to, and playing music improves spatial orientation and mathematical thinking.
Get Everyone Invested In That Passion
I don’t need to tell you that Jackson and Roman could be the least interested in dance, but to see them rooting for Brody when he’s dancing his heart out is such a parenting win. I think it’s important to have everyone involved as much as possible.
Just the other day, Jackson and Bobby set up an obstacle course in our yard that involved a little bit of everything that makes my kids excited—from dancing challenges to a lacrosse goal at the end. It’s in these types of activities that you start to see those bonds strengthen. While Brody’s dancing is his own thing, everyone in our house is supportive and interested.
Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.—John F. Kennedy
Watch Everyone Succeed
The truth is that the kids want to be there for each other. And it makes my heart sing when they participate in each other’s activities. Not long ago we had all four children dancing together in Brody’s class! And he loves having his siblings with him in the dance studio.
Whether it’s a Sunday morning spent in the ballet studio or an afternoon out in the yard playing catch, each activity should be a family affair.
Encourage your kids to show interest in each other’s passions, to practice listening skills instead of turning the conversation on themselves and to support each other through every hardship and success in life. And remember nothing is perfect…instead of being so hard on ourselves when we fail, we teach our kids to pick each other up.
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In the U.S., the average baby starts watching TV at five months old. Before seventh grade, 82 percent of children are online.