Frustration is a good thing. Let your child experience it. That’s how one truly develop coping skills.
Patience is a virtue. Teaching children to wait for dinner, for a parent’s attention, or for a teacher to answer a question helps them to tolerate delays without indignation or anxiety.
Adult time is valid and necessary and does not have to be justified. It helps show kids that Mom and Dad have a life outside their beloved offspring’s constant demands. All of which teaches them about balancing needs (refer to number 1 and 2).
Don’t cover for your kids. If they forget their gym clothes or the permission trip for the museum outing, tough cookies. Ditto on a bad grade, don’t contact the teacher even if the mark was harsh. Once they suffer the consequences of the little mishaps, they’ll think twice before forgetting or overlooking something more important. And it helps them get used to “real life”.
Get out the bike, scooter, skateboard or sneakers and get your kids moving on their own. Walk to school, the supermarket, and sport practices. There is no such thing as a soccer mom in the Hexagon.
On that note, stop involving your child in so many extra-curricular activities that he or she has no breathing space! French parents don’t tend to overschedule their children since they believe in time off and keeping family dinner times sacred. Equally important, they refuse to be slave to a child’s schedule and spend their free time in a minivan.
Involve your children in household management. Taking out the trash, setting the table, and even planning meals are all part of a French kid’s repertoire. They are part of the family and can contribute.
Family time is important. Even if family dinners every evening are not possible, schedule at least a few every week. On the weekends, even when kids are off to birthday parties or soccer practice, make sure to schedule a family dinner or lunch followed by a walk, bike ride, or time at the park.
Speaking of family time, if you have several children, teach them to help each other out. Let older kids walk younger kids to school, serve them a snack at the table, or even help out with homework if that’s possible. It serves to solidify sibling relationships, ease up demands on the parents, but also make the kids more self-sufficient.
The French are big on manners, being bien élevé is pretty much what every parent wants. Kids, whether they are shy or not, are expected to introduce themselves, say hello, goodbye, thank you, and basically behave at the table, even when surrounded by their friends.
And although they’re expected to keep it together in class and at the dinner table, kids usually get a lot of quality time outdoors. Let kids have down time running around outside, at the park, for a family walk. It’s good for their health, their happiness, and their minds.
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