Personal development is important to me … which I guess is obvious because I run a blog that focuses entirely on personal development and improving yourself. Investing in other people, especially your family, is also a big part of personal development. And as a parent, I feel it’s my responsibility to help my kids with their personal growth.
It’s a pressure I feel often.
I’ve written about this a little in the past when I shared about the nighttime routine I do with my girls. Things have changed, and I’m trying new things, so I wanted to share.
Before I get started, I wanted to share with you why I’m interested in helping my kids with their personal growth. I see personal development as the little hinge that swings the big door to my kids becoming responsible adults who contribute to their community … and live fulfilling lives. If I can accomplish that, then I’ll feel I did my job as a parent.
Here are some of the ways I’ve been trying to fuel my kid’s personal development. And one thing before we jump in….
This blog post is not me trying to position myself as parent of the year. I could just as easily create a blog post about my 5 biggest parenting mistakes. Rather, I really do believe that taking small steps to boost your children’s personal growth is important … so I felt compelled to write this.
So–here we go:
Fuel #1 – Gratitude Practice
Of all the things I’ve done with my girls, gratitude practice is one thing that has really stuck. We’ve been doing gratitude practice every night for a while. It’s easy. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. All I do is ask them what they are grateful for each day, and they answer. As of right now, most nights I am able to ask them without them resisting me, LOL.
The main reason I think it is so important is that gratitude practice rewires your brain to look for the positive. But there are so many more benefits to this habit than that. I wrote a whole post on the science behind gratitude practice. You can check it out here.
Fuel #2 – Sports
It’s no secret that sports are a personal development hack. I’ve seen this unfold in my girls’ lives. Actually … it’s kind of all-consuming with our schedule right now. Do I complain from time to time? Absolutely. But I accept it because it gives us things to do on the weekends with them. And, I believe it fuels their personal growth.
There is something very beneficial about competing against others and winning or losing. Dealing with feelings of failure, disappointment, success, etc. … is imperative to growing up.
Here are a few ways that sports fuel their personal development:
Builds Relationships and Instills Teamwork
Sports also teach them to work with others, develop friendships, and put in a lot of hard work, even if they don’t think others on the team are giving it their all. It’s a precursor to being able to handle a work environment with many different personalities and getting along with others.
Develops a Strong Mindset
Mindset is another important part of sports. As my girls compete harder, and the games become more intense, they need a stronger mindset in order to finish well. It’s especially important when they lose big games and competitions. Sports give them a safe environment where they can lose.
Sports naturally create accountability because you want to show up for your teammates. We joke that if I were to die, my funeral would be planned around my oldest daughter’s dance schedule (I’m 50/50 on this being a joke). But in all seriousness, you can’t miss many practices because practice is key to success.
To be a better player, you have to set goals and work hard to meet them. Once you get a vision of what you can become, it paves the way to get there. We help our girls meet their goals by investing in additional private coaching, putting them in competitive groups, and ensuring their practices are prioritized in our lives.
Fuel #3 – Combat Negative Self-Talk
We’re all guilty of negative self-talk from time to time. I combat this with my girls by encouraging them. One of my daughters has a habit of talking badly about herself. She fights me when I tell her to stop the negative talk. Because I’m encouraging her to put in the reps, I think she’ll eventually understand and get out of the habit.
Another thing I do is say affirmations and life lessons to them every morning before I drop them off at school. I say things such as:
I believe in you.
I love you.
You’re perfect just the way you are.
Work hard today.
Basically, I say these things to them every morning… my hope is that the positive words will stick in their brains.
I bookend this with gratitude practice every night. It’s quick and easy. But the two of these things have a compounding effect over time.
Fuel #4 – Road Trips
One of my favorite things that came out of the pandemic is that we started taking road trips. We’re going on number four this year. It’s always a fun time of family bonding and adventure. Through our travel, we’re continually exposing them to new things.
A lot of coordination is involved for all of us during these trips. We bounce from city to city and have to figure out where we’re going to eat, stay, and what we’ll do. Also, since I work remotely, I find time during the trip to work. If we’re on the road during school, the girls log in remotely and do their assignments.
I believe these road trips build a sense of adventure in them. And a nice layer of resiliency.
Fuel #5 – Encouraging Them to Read
And when I say encourage, I mean bribe….
This one I’m playing around with in the early stages. I read The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews and really loved it. As a result, I was excited to find there’s a kids’ version of the book. It’s edited down and a much faster read. Of course, I really wanted the kids to read this, but I knew it was going to take some bribing. I offered to buy them the book and then pay each $50 for completing it.
My middle daughter took me up on the challenge. I have to remind her to take notes and keep working on it. But that’s OK with me because I feel that this book will really help her, and I’m willing to motivate her to read it.
So, there you have it! This is what I’m (currently) doing to help fuel my kids’ personal development. Have you tried anything that’s been successful? Leave a comment below…. I’d love to hear it and learn from you. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats!
- Encourage your kids and speak affirmations to them.
- Provide your kids with new opportunities and adventures.
- Encourage your children to invest in their own education.
- Do gratitude practice with them every day.
- Put them in sports or something competitive so they can learn to push themselves.