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One of the biggest challenges as a stay at home mom is ensuring you are getting your child life experiences. It is so easy to drop the ball, allowing kids to watch too much TV and keeping them too insulated from life. Here are some great ways to introduce your kids to a larger world.
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Getting Your Child Life Experiences as a SAHM
In order for your kids to grow into well-rounded adults, it is important for them to gain plenty of life experience while they are young. Successful interpersonal relationships, whether with friends, school-mates, co-workers or romantic partners, depend on each person being mentally and emotionally healthy and socially experienced enough to handle what life may throw at them.
Getting Out Into the World Every Day
One of the biggest dangers with being a SAHM is how easy it can become to insulate from the world. Especially when your kids are babies and toddlers, nesting with them at home feels safe and secure. But it can also be a siren call that seduces you into a sense of security that leads to isolation.
Regular outings are very important, whether it is a trip to the park, a play date, or attending church services and social events. The more exposure your child has to the world, the more at ease they will feel around others.
Chores, Groceries, and other Responsibilities
Teach your child respect for him or herself and for others by assigning responsibilities. Even a young toddler can be taught to put away his or her toys. A child might not appreciate what is required to provide for a family until he experiences it. Learning about and handling some of the tasks associated with basic chores is invaluable.
By 16 months our little guy was already doing some “chores”. These included throwing his diaper in the garbage after each changing, “helping” us sweep and mop the kitchen floor, and attempting to put his toys away. As he grows, we continue to find little ways for him to be responsible for more each day.
Small children can learn to sweep, mop, and wash simple dishes. Older elementary school children can learn to do laundry, mow lawns, rake leaves and more.
Teach your children math and life management by giving them a budget for the grocery store and allowing them to plan one or two meals a week. You can teach them how to cook at the same time, an activity the two of you can enjoy together.
Field Trips and Tours of Local Businesses
Everyone associates the term “field trip” with school, but you can take your kids on field trips too, even if you aren’t homeschooling. Visits to banks, museums, retail stores, and libraries provide great opportunities to teach your kids more about the world around them. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Local government offices are often receptive to children who want to learn. Local courtrooms will usually allow visitors to watch the proceedings as long as they are quiet and respectful. Taking your child to a city council meeting can be an invaluable way to help them understand the system of government. It can also give them an appreciation for the contribution they can make to the process when they become adults.
Older children can be amazingly helpful volunteers at soup kitchens, food banks, animal shelters, and retirement homes. When children are able to see and to help those who are less fortunate, it helps them to develop compassion, empathy, and sensitivity. Take them to the park to collect trash (ensuring they wear gloves and don’t pick up any dead animals – yes, I’ve seen kids do this!), teach them how to crochet sleeping mats for the homeless, or help them choose presents at Christmas for a child on the Angel Tree at the Mall. There are so many ways for your kids to contribute to the world around them, blessing others as well as themselves.
When you’re a stay-at-home-mom, getting your child life experiences may feel a little daunting at first. But it offers you and your kids a chance to develop a tighter bond as you experience the world together. These are just a few suggestions. You and your kids can work together to come up with your own adventures in life experience. When you raise well-rounded adults, everybody wins.
Want even more options? Here are three books to look into:
- Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life by Walker Moore
- Teaching Kids to Manage Their Own Behavior: School Dayz: Engaging Literacy Experiences About Real-Life Issues by Ron Klemp
- Can We Help?: Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities by George Ancona