Before getting pregnant for the first time, my husband and I agreed that we would raise our children to make their own choices, to experience things both good and bad and learn from their mistakes. We feel it is the best way to define yourself as an individual, as it can be just as important to find out what you don’t like in life as it is to discover your passions.
Our daughter has already shown an affinity for dance, sports and all things mechanical. She loves her weekly ballet class and spends the days between showcasing her newly-learned moves to anybody she runs into. She loves soccer, and is looking forward to playing again this summer. On her “team” last year, you can tell which children were into it and wanting to participate, and the ones that were, let’s say, indifferent. She is among the former.
Likely due to the conversations with her Daddy, her love for planes, trains and automobiles (any machine or vehicle, really) shines through. To wit, when it comes to screen time, by far her favourite show is Paw Patrol, featuring puppies operating high-tech rescue vehicles.
As long as she continues to show a passion for these things, we’ll continue to support her. Sports and tech are easy things for us to support, and though dance is a new one for my husband and I, we love how much of a positive impact it has had on her already.
Though my husband and I consider ourselves to be fans of music, neither of us play an instrument. That said, if our daughter came to us wanting to learn an instrument, we’d absolutely do everything we could to support her.
There are some things that we won’t budge on in terms of development. First and foremost, reading is a big part of our daughter’s life. Every night before bed, she gets two books read to her, and at various times throughout the day we’ll read to her. We’ll promote reading once she begins school, and will continue to ensure she develops her communication skills. Good communication skills are crucial as both a person and professional.
Another thing we will not be variable on is time spent outdoors. We grew up camping, playing in the woods and spending time under the stars at the family cottage. Our daughter will spend time doing the same. She won’t be a child that spends all of her time inside. Luckily for us, to this point she’s shown a love for the outdoors, and as she gets older we’re excited about the thought of things like canoe trips, orienteering and other such adventures.
We very much want our daughter, and any other future children, to be their own people. It’s important for them to have unique personalities and to be unafraid to embrace and express their passions in life. We’ll be behind them no matter what, and though we’ll be staunch on communication skills and the outdoors, our children will be able to choose their own path hopefully knowing who they are as a person, and knowing their mom and dad love them and are there for them through it all.
How do you nurture independence in your kids?