Posted on November 18, 2022
My grandad always said, "look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves".
I'll admit that I would roll my eyes when he said this because, as a child, it didn't make much sense to me, but the older I get and the more I learn, I'm beginning to understand what he meant. Keeping an eye on the small, seemingly insignificant things adds to surprising, often delightful outcomes.
We all want to have good relationships with our children in which they feel loved, valued and respected. We also want to instil good values, such as the importance of family, kindness, respect and independence. But do we know the small daily acts that are needed for us to do this?
Every day our children learn from the things we do and say. We are often so busy rushing through the day that we forget the importance of all the little moments and how they contribute to our bigger long-term goal. Do you tell them that you love and appreciate them each day? Do you spend time with them alone or as a family? Do you put your phone down when they are telling you something important? Do you take their views on board when making any family decisions? Do you respect their choices even when you disagree with them, like letting them pick their clothes?
Treating children with the same respect and kindness that we would expect as adults on a regular basis is key to ensuring positive lasting relationships with your children.
One small thing we do each week in our house is family movie night on Thursday. Yes, on a school night, but this makes it much more exciting, and everyone goes to bed much better after it.
The rules of movie night are;
Everyone needs to be at movie night.
No phones or other distractions are allowed.
Each person gets a turn to be the cinema' owner'. This means they pick the film, sell tickets, set the living room up like a cinema and get snacks for everyone.
This simple, accessible weekly activity teaches our children so much.
It shows them that we value family time together.
It teaches them respect (Even if you don't like the film choice, you have to respect each person's film pick).
It teaches responsibility in setting up the cinema and ensuring the film starts on time.
It gives us a shared experience as a family – we often talk about the movie for days afterwards, laughing about our favourite parts.
Taking turns as the 'cinema owner' promotes their self-esteem and confidence. They learn that they are each an essential family member and that their choices are important.
Making each other's snack bowls promotes kindness, and it helps them to consider the likes and dislikes of other people and understand that everyone is different.
Finally, it feels like a night off from the more demanding aspects of parenting for my husband and me. As a nice bonus, we get to revisit some of our favourite childhood movies and share them with our little ones.…when it's our pick, of course.
It's not about the 'big' things we do; it's about taking it back to basics and having fun in seemingly inconspicuous moments. When we focus on the small things we do, the more significant lessons can look after themselves.
ARTICLE BY Shannon HollywoodShannon Hollywood is a behaviour consultant and qualified social worker working with Action for Children for over ten years. In this role, she helps children, young people and their parents with everyday challenges. During this time, she has helped families through many difficulties, including parental separation/divorce, youth homelessness, risk-taking and challenging behaviour, bullying, grief and mental health issues, to name but a few.