Love, Always

Parents: 10 vital life lessons to teach your kids before they turn 10.

Parenting is not complicated.

Challenging, at times? Certainly.

But ultimately, your job is very simple:

To care for your child, just as you would care for yourself.

To model the kind of behavior that you want your child to adopt.

To teach your child right from wrong.

To keep your child safe from harm.

To love your child unconditionally.

That’s all.

In the spirit of simplicity, here are 10 simple (but vital) life lessons to teach your kids before they turn 10.

1. Being kind is the most important “achievement.” Accomplishing other things — like getting high marks on an exam — is great. But what really matters is how you treat people — including how you treat yourself. What really matters is being loving and kind.

2. There’s more than enough love for everyone. (For an only child: “I can love you and your mom / dad.” For a child with siblings: “I can love you and your brothers / sisters. There’s enough love for all of you — and I love all of you equally.”)

3. Your body — and everything about it — is beautiful. Period.

4. Take good care of your body. Keep it clean. Feed it enough, but not too much. Keep it healthy and strong. Your body is so good to you. Think of all the amazing things it allows you to do — like run, skip, snuggle, hug, even eat dessert!

5. We are all unique. We all have different gifts and talents. You don’t have to be the best at anything. Just do your best.

6. You are never alone. Even when you’re by yourself, like in your room, I’m always thinking of you and loving you.

7. It’s important to share with others. It’s good to share toys, to share ideas, and to teach other kids how to do things that you already know how to do — like how to tie your shoe laces, or how to throw a ball farther across the field. (To teach this particular lesson to your child, model generosity & service, yourself.)

8. It’s also OK to say “No,” sometimes. If there’s a particular toy that you don’t want to share — because it’s special to you, like a gift from grandma — it’s OK to say, “No, I would rather not share.” You don’t have to say “Yes” to everyone, every time. Just be kind when you say “No.”

9. It’s important to respect your parents. Everything we do, we are doing because we love you, we want you to keep you safe, and we want you to grow up and have the best life you can possibly have. (To inspire your child to respect you, lead by example. Treat yourself & others with respect, first.)

10. You are loved, no matter what.