Parenting: Prioritizing

What's Important?

That's the first question one asks as a parent when he/she starts to prioritize in order to make time for self as well as time for all those important parenting needs.

First, basic needs.  It's essential that everyone in a family gets what they need in order to grow as healthy individuals. That means healthy food and healthy activity which means making time each week to stock the fridge and cabinets with healthy food choices, and making time in the schedule for healthy activity including play, reading, sports/exercise, nature, family and adequate sleep.  Creating a weekly routine or schedule that ensures every member gets what they need to be healthy is the first step.

Next, passions and interests.  To grow to be fully human, everyone has to have time to pursue their interests and passions.  That's what makes life interesting.  As a parent, my favorite part of the job is watching my children to see what they really enjoy.  Then I try to boost and nurture their interests by finding and/or creating activities and opportunities that build those skills and provide them with like-minded friends.  It's also important to challenge and introduce your children (and self) to interests that are not their first choice or greatest interest.  That's a natural part of family life since all family members have different interests.  By supporting each other we're introduced to many, different activities and events.

After that, vision and goals. Where is your family headed?  What are your priorities?  What do you hope your family will look like next year at this time, in five years and in ten years?  When a family has shared goals, it's more likely that the goals will become a reality.  Goals such as a nice home, quality education, family vacations and special objects such as a swing set, computers, a desired piece of furniture or a new bike usually require planning and sacrifice, but once the goal is achieved it's a source of pride and pleasure for the entire family.

I always say, "Our children take us down paths we never thought we'd travel."  By caring for our children well and nurturing their interests and passions, we travel new paths in life and experience new learning and challenges.

So, to prioritize means to start with a healthy, weekly routine that ensures all family members are getting their essential needs met.  Then make sure that everyone has some time to grow and develop their interests and passions, and make time to discuss and set goals and vision for your family.

A good way to start that is to work it out on paper or online.  Then make time to talk to others in your family about the plan -- what will work, and what needs to be revised?  Starting with a good plan will help everyone in a family get what they need, and that's essential to positive parenting.

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