Savoring Childhood

Childhood happens fast, and the toddler years to fly by even faster. One day I was blog hopping and stumbled upon this list over at Hands Free Mama. Apparently, a teacher named Erin Kurt asked her students what they liked/wanted their parents to do with them the most. After sixteen years of answers, she compiled this Top 10 list.

Top 10 Things Kids Wish Their Parents Would Do With Them

1.) Come into their bedroom at night, tuck them in, and sing them a song or tell them a story.
 2.) Give them hugs and kisses, sit with them and just talk to them. 
 3.) Spend quality time with just them. No siblings or distractions. 
 4.)Give them nutritious food so they grow up strong. 
 5.) At dinner, talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
 6.) At night, talk to me about anything. 7.) Let me play outside a lot. 
 8.) Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite show/movie together.
 9.) Disciple me. It makes me feel like you care. 
 10.) Leave special messages in my desk, lunch, wherever for me to find. 
  I implore all of you to take a moment and to read How to Miss a Childhood over at Hands Free Mama. A woman who has raised children since 1977 wrote an email to her detailing the tragedy of this uber-connected, modern world. Every parent needs to read this!
  "I can recall a time when you were out with your children and you were rally with them. You engaged in a back and forth dialog, even if it was pre-verbal. 'look at that bus, see the doggie?, etc' Now I see you on the phone, pushing your kids on the swing while distracted by your devices. You think you are spending time with them, but you are not present really. When I see you pick your kids up from daycare while on your phone, it breaks my heart.... What is the message they are receiving? I am not important."  

 As someone with toddlers, it's easy to get wrapped up on the day-to-day whirl. It's even easier to forget that these little tornadoes won't stay that way for long. Sometimes that's an awesome thing - read, tornadoes. Especially when you gave one screaming, one down right hysterical, dogs barking, and something sticky flying through the air. Other times, it sucks. With all of the tantrums, boogers, tears, are bed time stories, butterfly kisses, and so many more things. A while back, there were so many things that my little ones were no longer doing that I stopped and made a list of the mundane everyday things that we take for granted. MANY of these things have changed and with each one that passes, I am that much more grateful that I made that list. Here is a collection of things to do before those toddler years slip away
  • Play Play Play!!! Dress up, peek-a-boo, hide and seek, dolls, cars, blocks... The list is endless. Take advantage, because anyone with older kids can tell you that soon they won't want to hang out with mom and dad.
  • Explore! Go outside and see what you can discover. Walk in the rain, feed the ducks, pick fall leaves and treasure (we all remember those treasures of rocks and sticks), play in the snow - or sand if your where we are.
  • Go visit petting zoos (please remember to make sure they are more concerned with animal welfare rather than road side attraction). Better yet, take them to rescue/rehabilitation centers! Check out children's museums, library story times, community events, and gardens.
  • Sensory Play! Toddlers LOVE sensory play, and it's fantastic for them! Play with play dough, dried beans, rice, beads, and anything messy! Build sand castles, make water stations with buckets and cups, and just about any arts and crafts activity.
  • Songs and Stories! Toddlers love to sing and dance. Take advantage of this and sing everything. Have random dance parties. Read books and tell stories.
  • Daily To-Do's! My daughter loves to help with everything. She is particularly fond of dusting, sweeping, and helping in the kitchen.
  • Be curious! Ask them questions about what they are doing, what they want to do, what they think about things. This is a great way to bond. Not only are you engaging with them, but you are also actively showing them that you approve of what they are doing.
  • ALWAYS tickle, hug, and snuggle.
Truth is, you know your little one better than anyone. You know what they like and what they don't. Just go with it. Follow their lead.