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Raising an Only Child Successfully






     Growing up as an only child was hard for me at times. I used to get so bored and had to make my own creative play without anyone else. I would gather my stuffed animals and play "school" or make mud pies outside alone. As I got a bit older, I decided I would definitely have three kids so they would always have a playmate.

In 2002 I had my daughter and then went through a divorce shortly afterward. Being a single mom with only one kid was definitely easier than having three, but it still brought up my feelings of my childhood and always longing for a brother or sister. I wanted my daughter to have more than I did and felt I had failed by being a single mom with her so young. The last thing I needed, or wanted, at that point was another child. So I embraced the fact that my three-kid dreams were over and that I would be absolutely content with just this one awesome daughter.

Here are the tips that have made life fun for my daughter:

1. Always have friends over. Since my daughter was little, I always had my friends over and as she grew older, her friends. I set up playdates all the time for her so she could play board games with someone besides me. One mom can only take so many games of Candy Land before they want to set it on fire. Now that she is going to middle school, we have kids in and out of the house all day, every day. I absolutely love it. They bring so much life into the house and it's a great way for me to really know my daughter on a deeper level.

2. Take time to be fully present with your child. The worst thing you can do is turn on the TV as a baby-sitter. While this works great sometimes, it's not a good solution daily. Go get frozen yogurt or window-shopping at the mall. Turn your phone off and just be with your child. You will find this leads to deeper conversations as they get older and you will cherish these times together.

3. Keep busy in the community. I always check the newspaper for local things such as farmer's markets, craft fairs, dinosaur exhibits at the park, etc. Anything that was free (or cheap) we would head out and make a day of it. Staying home with just the two of us was sure to cause tension and boredom that I just didn't have the energy for.

4. Hang out with other families. Since my parents both died, we were left short in the grandparent department. We would do Thanksgiving and Christmas with my friends and their families. Luckily I have some amazing friends who took us in as their own.

5. Let the child help you as much as possible. I would get home from work just exhausted, but found if I let my daughter "help" with dinner, she loved it. I got her a stool so she could reach the sink and even wash dishes.

6. Have a movie night in your adult bed and let them sleep with you. We would make quiet Friday nights fun by having popcorn while watching Dumbo for the 20th time. My daughter loved it and it was something special we shared together.

7. Pick an activity and sign you child up. My suggestion is only one at a time so you don't run yourself ragged trying to keep up with everything. For my daughter, we started with dance then moved onto gymnastics. Then she tried tennis and even golf lessons. One fall when she was 6 I signed her up for volleyball at our local rec center. After the first season, she knew without a doubt that she wanted to continue and loved it more than anything else she had tried. She is now 11 and plays with girls that are 2 years older than her. She has made some amazing friends through volleyball that she wouldn't otherwise have known.

8. Now that my daughter is 11, we bring one or two of her friends with us when we go out to do fun things. I love hearing them sing in the backseat of the car and this is a great way to keep up with what is going on in their life. Having a friend is sometimes more fun than "just mom", especially when going places like a waterpark. It lets me relax a bit while the kids have a blast.

These are all things that have worked for me in raising a healthy, happy and well-rounded pre-teen. While I wish I could have had more kids, for us, our little family is filled with amazing friends and lots of laughter.




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Michelle Bland is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and owner of Glowing Wellness, where she helps people live a life of prevention and overall wellness. Connect with Michelle: www.GlowingWellness.com. www.facebook.com/michellehealthcoach Michelle offers individual and group coaching and specializes in cleanses and detoxes.


Posted on 2013-07-01, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,


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