This week I attended my second ever preschool graduation. The first one was just a few weeks prior, for my goddaughter. This time around, I was asked to cheer the program. Initially, when I agreed to cheer, I was under the impression that it was a Primary School graduation since it was being hosted at a Primary school, so I tailored what I was going to say to that age group. It wasn’t until two days before the graduation was set, was I informed that no, it was for Preschoolers. What on God’s earth (and in heaven) was I going to say to a bunch of four and five-year-old children? My mind went blank and I turned to the internet for advice with little help. There was no turning back because I had already committed to it. How can I possibly back out of it now after saying yes to my aunt and former Preschool teacher who were both teachers at the same school?
I arrived way ahead of schedule with my mind still blank, reviewing the programme line up. Boy, things have surely changed, there was no such thing as graduating from preschool but apparently, that is now a thing. Bless those preschool teacher’s hearts for getting those little ones to sit still (at least partially) for over an hour. I swear teachers, and in particular preschool teachers, were born with a gift to deal with those little ones. It takes a special kind of person and patience to handle them.
Anyhoo, the guest speaker gave some invaluable information to the parents. I was so blown away by the tips, that I wrote them down (yes I took notes during the speech.)
The guest speaker was Ms Terese Millet, a Counseling Psychologist & Life Coach and a Phenomenal woman. I would like to share those tips here so other parents and guardians can impart of the knowledge.
Ten tips to Parents
- Take parenting seriously. Parenting is a sacred responsibility according to Ms Millet which should not be taken lightly. Parents are the shepherds that God created to protect and teach our children. Go full force with that in mind. Of course, you wouldn’t get everything right, we are all humans, plus raising a child is a big learning curve that should be taken very seriously.
- Nurture purpose in your child. Every person born into this word was born with a purpose, there are no mistakes or accidents with the birth of a precious, innocent human being. Parents should observe carefully their child(ren) and guide them the best way they know how in the direction of the child’s purpose.
- Do not compare. We are all unique in our own special way. There are an estimated 7.6 billion people on earth right now, according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) 2018 World Population Data Sheet. Each person has a distinct fingerprint. No two persons in this world (maybe in the next) have the exact same print. How cool is that! If we cannot compare fingerprints, which is seemingly such a simple thing, how can we begin to compare, personalities?
- Teach your child communication skills. Talk to them the way you would like them to talk. Talking to them builds a bond between parent and child and builds the child’s vocabulary. Many miscommunications, mishaps and arguments are a result of a breakdown, lack thereof or complete absence of communication. Communicate, not just to get your information across but in a manner that the listening party can hear and understand. Communication also involves listening, so listen to what the child is saying as well.
- Teach your child(ren) independence. According to Ms Millet, Caribbean parents (especially mothers) need to learn to teach their children and in particular their sons, how to be independent. Learn to let the child go! Children were brought into this world to serve the world and its needs, and not their parents. Parents are nothing more than the vessels through which the child came. They should learn to release them and set them free to live in their purpose.
- Establish routines in the home. A consistent routine teaches the child discipline from an early age and creates structure. Any well-executed activity was built on a structured plan. Discipline children grow up to be disciplined adults and the contrary is true. It can initially be challenging to establish a routine in very small children, but eventually the dots all lineup and it becomes second nature. Will you be thrown out of your routine?, certainly, Life will happen. But as the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
- Know the difference between discipline and punishment. Often times corporal punishment (I’m from the Caribbean, most persons have experienced some form of lashes, we all survived and thrived) is administered and two things can happen. One the child has no idea why they are being given lashes and two, the lashes will not work for every child (so know your child). Punishment (which can be lashes or not) is done to make the parent feel good due to anger or frustration. Discipline is done to let the child(ren) understand the reason they are being punished in the first place. More than likely over time, the child will learn from each discipline action.
- Be a role model for your child(ren). Children learn from what they see the parent(s) (and other adults do, especially those they respect and admire) so do what is right and not just what you want. Remember the child is observing your acts as well as your words. In this case, actions do speak louder than words, so let your actions scream honesty and integrity to the child.
- Spend quality time with your children. It’s easy to get bogged down with life and all of its problems. We sometimes get caught up in the rat race, going about our daily routine and time waits for no man. Children seem to grow up so quickly. Make time, better yet, schedule a particular time or activity you can do with your child. The bonding starts from in the womb and continues for a lifetime. Build a strong bond as early as possible.
- Speak LIFE over and into your child(ren). Be very careful with the words you use around and to describe your child. If a child grows up hearing that he’s ugly, stupid and a failure, he will live up to the words that were spoken to him. But if he grows up hearing that he is beautiful, smart and successful, he will inevitably live up to the words that were breathed into him. Speak life always into your child.