National Parent Engagement Month

I know I'm late in the month for this but November is National Parent Engagement Month! This conversation comes from  It brings awareness to the importance of parent engagement.

We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy, successful adults, but sometimes it's hard to figure out how to do that. This month YOU parent is focusing on how to be an engaged parent. We shared some love earlier in the week on our personal Facebook pages with this signed pledge.

Most importantly, we want to make everyday a pledge. YOU parent's website provides great tips for helping and encouraging parents with young children to grow into a happy lifestyle.

As parents, one of our main jobs is to build up our home and our children, not tear them down. And if you have toddlers, they need you to encourage them as they are in their most tender, mold-able stage of life. 

Which leads me into Cyclocross. A new sub-culture of awesomeness introduced by our neighbors. It's a progressive biking sport for cyclists. There are different age groups with actual biking licenses. Austin will be hosting the 2015 Cyclocross Nationals!

A Kids Cyclocross Project was developed for youth and juniors who want to participate in the 2015 Nationals. To learn more click here.

What I love about this Cyclocross Project and their ambassadors is it helps develop principles, values, good sportsmanship, attitude and teamwork among participants. It also promotes a lifestyle of fitness and exercise to build a healthy environment for families (which indeed, was the first parental behavior in our pledge).

We introduced the sport to our three year old son who LOVES biking. We registered him in a race to see if he would dig it. Wow did he ever! It was the first time, I witnessed true bravery in his eyes. He wanted to bike with the big kids! 

Our conversation went something like this right before the race...

Mommy: "Vincent what are you today and everyday?"
Vincent shouts: "A LEADER!"
Mommy: "And what else are you?"
Vincent shouts: "A CHAMPION!"
Mommy: "Yes you are honey"

So he participated. Although he didn't win, he had fun and quite the experience. 

Parents, if you are need of some inspiration on how to encourage your little ones throughout the day, everyday, try practicing these 5 ways we've discovered along the way in our "toddler" life. You and your toddler will be happier and peaceful.


1. Set goals for your little one.
Are you making dinner or breakfast soon? Ask your toddler to help set the table or help in the kitchen if time and messes allow. Do you make their bed in the morning? Ask your little one to help you make the bed. By giving toddlers responsibility you are letting them know they have an importance place in the family. When a child successfully completes a goal, like chores, he begins to develop security and an "I can do!" attitude. It is my three-year-old son's task to open the door for me and his sister at school and for visitors after they leave our home. He enjoys it so much and not only receives praise and thanks from us, but also from others he helps.

2. Be present in your toddler's life.
Don't push your munchkin away when you are answering an email. Instead take a few moments and address his/her needs or wants. Take time to play with your toddler every day. Make tents together, color pictures, go on walks, bake together or whatever your child enjoys doing - do it! My son loves to build train sets, "play" cars and build tunnels with the couch pillows.  I try to make a "date" with him everyday for this special time. Try not to go through everyday motions with children. They will grow up fast - connect with them now!

3. Make the boundaries clear
Define boundaries help a child understand what is acceptable in your home and what is not. If he does not know the rules, he can become paranoid and insecure of messing up. Make your rules reasonable and make sure you stick to them. If rules are not enforced, it's a deal breaker. 

Examples of acceptable rules for my toddler:

"No whining"
"Don't hit your sister"
"Pick up toys after you play"

By establishing clear boundaries, you are promoting even more security for your toddler

4. Offer loads of praise Criticism and negativity come from everywhere in the outside world. Create a haven in your home by praising your toddler for jobs well-done, good attitudes or any positive characteristics you observe. Never hesitate to give them honor. Your child needs to know you like them and are proud.

5. Make eye contact When praising or correcting, get down on their eye level and speak one-one together. You are letting him know he is the focus of your thoughts and energy. For example, if your child asks for a drink, squat and ask him if would like water, milk or juice (if appropriate). Take these special short conversations to interact with your child in order to build his confidence in your unbiased love.

If you are offering your tiny tots lots of love, time, praise and encouragement, you are well on your way to encouraging your toddler. Keep taking the time to let him know he matters, he's unique and he's special.

Soon those little feet will be in some big shoes. Toddler years go by quickly and it's the age where they get the foundations to their life. It's up to us to make it strong or weak. The love you impart to them now will help your parent-child relationship in the future as they begin to become more independent. Prepare your kids for a more secure future as you build them up today.

No comments: