When we were little, my sister and I would joke that our dad would get a “box of nails” for his birthday. It seemed that every weekend, we were at the hardware store. We didn’t especially like wandering the aisles looking at boring things like faucets and piping. But it was something Dad liked and to this day, I always think about him when I need to head out for some paint or a new tool. Who knew such a simple thing as taking a child to the hardware store would have such a positive impact for kids?
Though we often went as a family, when my dad picked just me to tag along, I felt extra special. On top of that, it prepared me for life as an adult when taking care of my own home would be necessary. My dad helped prepare me for the world in a loving way that has subtly impacted my entire life. It wasn’t hard and we both had fun! Here are 5 little things you can do that will have a positive impact on kids.

1. Take a trip to the store.
I get it. We don’t always want to bring our kids with us. Some peace and quiet is often needed and it’s always quicker to go alone. But sometimes, you may want to pick one of your children to come along and tell him or her you need help picking something out. I guarantee it’ll make your kids feel special when you choose them, and it’ll give them some one-on-one time with you to listen to their thoughts, concerns, or dreams.

2. Teach them to cook or bake.

Even though it’s messier with a kid, invite yours to bake or cook with you every once in a while. My daughter loves the cherry tomato pasta that I make, so recently, I invited her to help me make it. At first, she didn’t want to participate, but as she got involved, stirring the pan and watching the tomatoes burst, she enjoyed it. We chatted about school as we cooked, and my daughter felt very proud when I announced at dinner that she’d made the meal. We have more sweet compliments for kids in this printable list.

3. Ask for their assistance.
Have you ever asked your child for help with something when you knew it would be quicker and easier to do it yourself? Things like changing the batteries in the TV remote, filling the bird feeder, or turning the clocks forward during daylight saving time can all be done with a kid at your side. Showing a child how the little things get done in the house can be empowering to him or her. The more kids believe they can do, the more confidence they have in all aspects of life. And doing it with you, Mom? Sweetens the process.

The more kids believe they can do, the more confidence they have in all aspects of life

4. Take a bigger trip together.
The summer I turned 11, my dad took me to an out-of-town Major League Baseball game. He booked the hotel and bought the tickets and together, we drove the four hours to Cleveland. I remember sitting in the stands next to my dad, my ball glove on my hand, hoping and praying for a foul ball to come my way. We had so much fun on that trip that we went again the next year, and the one after that. It became a tradition for just my dad and me. Later, when it was time to start looking for colleges, my dad and I again went to Cleveland, and it is there that I ended up pursuing my education. My trips with my dad as a kid shaped my future and gave me the confidence to go to college away from home.

5. Volunteer together.
When I was little, my mom often volunteered at our church, washing the pews, and decorating for the holidays. When she brought me along to help, I didn’t always go willingly. What kid wants to give up Saturday morning cartoons? But once we got there, I enjoyed helping my mom beautify our church and I felt useful in unexpected ways. Plus, I enjoyed my time with her and seeing her in a different role.
Some of these activities take very little time while others are more involved. Not every activity has to involve your kids, but working side by side with them now may be something they remember fondly down the road. Little things now = big, positive impact for kids in the future.
What have you done to show your child some extra attention around the house and create memories in the process?

How would you like to spend an afternoon if it were just you and me?

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By Imom

ASK YOUR CHILD... How would you like to spend an afternoon if it were just you and me?

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