Don't tell them "no" when we could say "yes". This is not about spoiling them or never letting them hear the word "no". This is in the context of when they ask us to read them a story. Or let them finger paint. Or play outside. As busy adults, it's easy to tell them "not now" or "later" or simply "no" for no other reason other than that we'd rather get the dishes done or maybe we're just too tired and don't feel like it. I want to always be willing to tell my kids "yes" when they want to spend time with me. If I am constantly telling them "no" or "later" they will eventually stop asking me.
Give them plenty of hugs, kisses and cuddles. I don't ever want my kids to wonder if I love them or not. There are a million ways to remind my girls that I love them, but one thing I want to make sure of is that they are getting plenty of positive physical contact. Tons of hugs, kisses, cuddles and snuggles every single day.
Never yell. Anything we have to say to them, we can say in a regular tone of voice. I don't like being yelled at, so I am not going to yell at my girls.
Respect them. We think of our girls as tiny people with their own thoughts, personality, and opinions. While we are teaching them, training them, disciplining them, we will keep in mind (and let them know) that what they are thinking and feeling matters to us and their thoughts and opinions are important.
Don't let them cry alone. When our kids are babies, we never let them cry alone. No matter how tired we are or how frustrating it is or how many things we've tried to get them to calm down that have failed, we hold our babies when they cry. Since Mercedes became a toddler, we have always given her the option of having us sit by her when she is having a fit or a meltdown and we hold her when she is sad. Sometimes Mercedes doesn't want us around because she's mad at us, but we always let her know that we are right around the corner and as soon as she is ready for a hug and to talk about it we are right there for her. I do not believe in letting babies cry in their cribs in a room all alone and I do not believe in ignoring a toddler's temper tantrum or meltdown when they need help to work through those emotions.
Encourage creativity. Always, even if it means cleaning up a mess afterwards.
Pray with them. Every night. It is a wonderful time to review the day, let our kids voice their concerns, let our kids hear us pray for them and encourage them to pray to God too.
Tell them they are beautiful at least once a day. I want them to grow up knowing what a wonderful job God did when He created them and never feeling self-conscious about the way they look.
Always ask ourselves "what is best for them?" when making decisions. We research, pray, and ask ourselves "what is the best thing for our girls?" when making a decision. We never compromise our girls' safety or happiness to make our lives more convenient.
Put their needs before our own. Too many parents these days refuse to be inconvenienced by their children. I refuse to let my needs get in the way of what my precious babies need. They come first. Always.
Make learning fun. I am homeschooling my kids. My goal is to make learning exciting for them so they want to learn, and let them learn about what they are interested in. I don't want to teach my kids using boring bookwork and dry curriculum. I want them to thrive on hands-on learning based on what they love and are passionate about.
I'm sure these rules will change and adapt as our girls grow, but this is what we have so far. What are some rules you have made for yourself as a parent?