Raising Children: Concepts I’d Like to Instill

Raising Children: Seven Concepts I’d Like to Instill

I’ve always had ideas of what I would like to teach my children once they entered the world. “Golf is the greatest sport of all time” or “Math is so easy” are two examples, but now that my son is finally here I’ve found myself thinking about things I want him to learn that hold so much more relevance and importance to life. I want him and his future siblings to be the very best humans, friends, and all around people that they can be. I’ve learned many lessons throughout my life, but I think the next seven concepts will help in raising my children, and I also think these ideas will help my children traverse this crazy world all that much easier.

Relaxing Without Technology

To me, this is the most important thing that I want to instill while my children are young. I don’t want them to be reliant on a phone, tablet, or computer to relax or settle themselves down. I’m sure there will be a time and a place when my significant other and I will use technology to soothe our children, but I would like those times and places to be very few and far between. There are so many other things that can be used to calm that fussing, and many of those also offer tangible benefits to development and brain activity. I’m sure there are countless individuals right now saying something along the lines of, “But Dusty, introducing children to technology at a young age helps them better understand it as they grow.” I can see your point with that statement, but I also think you can teach your children about technology without allowing them to glue their faces to a screen in order to stay calm.

I want my children to be as unplugged as possible. In fact, I want this to carry over into their adult lives as well. I’ll admit, I’m no saint when it comes to screen time. I’m a huge gamer so if I have any free time away from work you will more than likely find me plopped right in front of my TV grinding away at whatever game I’m currently playing. Clearly, I’m also a blogger (and I happen to be working on a novel as well), so you can see how I have a requirement to use technology there as well. But the thing is, I can distinguish when I need to set my phone or controller down to spend time with those around me. Nothing bothers me more than when I’m surrounded by friends or family and every single person is on their phone. I hope that by raising children to soothe themselves without technology they will also learn the social cues that will help them avoid becoming a nomophobe later in life.

Reading is Awesome

I don’t think there will be any problem instilling this within my children. I love to read, especially if it is anything within the realm of fantasy. Granted, working full time, blogging on the side, and writing a book doesn’t leave much time for me to read much outside of my own work, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. My significant other is an English and Reading teacher as well, so she constantly has her nose in books too. On top of that, I am a firm believer that reading grows one’s creativity exponentially, and I can say that I wouldn’t be as creative as I am today without the countless books I’ve read throughout my life. Ideally, I’d like to tie this directly into tech-less soothing and have my children remain relaxed via reading. It’s been proven time and time again that reading helps so many people deal with high levels of stress or anxiety, so why can’t it be used to calm down or relax a child?

Education Over Everything

This also ties into the previous concept since reading is such an integral aspect of education. When I was growing up, school always came first. The second I was home I sat at my desk and pumped out all of my homework before doing anything else. This not only taught me valuable time management skills that I still use to this day, but it also taught me how to prioritize the things that are most important, and to plan for things that are on the horizon. A good education can also bring a child much needed scholarship and grant money if they’re planning on going to college. Some people may argue that education may be important but athletic scholarships are more important. While I don’t completely disagree with that, what happens when your star athlete child is injured and can no longer play? They need that education as a fail-safe for any and all unfortunate occurrences, which is why I will try to instill in my children that their education stands well above anything else.

Be Outside During Daylight Hours

This was something that I wish I would’ve adhered to a little more when I was younger. As I mentioned previously, I am a huge gamer and have been ever since my dad bought me my first Game Boy back in ’98. The second I finished my homework I dove into video games until I went to bed. On Saturday mornings you would find me up at the crack of dawn watching cartoons, and I wouldn’t move from that couch until I was told to. Both of these things led to me being a pretty obese child, which is something I think could have easily been avoided if I had been an outside more.

Other than the clear increase in exercise or activity, there are many other additional benefits that we receive from being outside. The vitamin D our bodies absorb from the sun is a key ingredient in developing strong bones and immune systems. Their creativity and ingenuity levels have a strong chance of developing as they try to keep themselves entertained with new games and activities. It can also teach children important social skills that will help them socialize with other children their age.

Practice Makes Perfect

I know, what a cliché, but it is 100% true. I learned this very early on in life from my father, who believe it or not, bought me a multiplication book that changed how I did math for the rest of my life. That may sound extremely lame, but I am dead serious when I say practice does actually make perfect. I was probably six or seven when he bought me that book and I tore through it once he showed me how to do a few problems. From there I started doing math in my head whenever I had the chance. I was that weird child who would calculate tax out at dinner or figure out the cash back at the grocery store before the teller input the amounts into the computer. I still to this day am the friend in my friend group who everyone looks to when they need any sort of math done.

Now, this obviously doesn’t only apply to math. It can apply to sports, reading, playing an instrument, or even something as simple as riding a bike, and that is what I want my children to know. They will fail at some point, but getting back up, dusting themselves off, and trying again will lead to better results. Along with all of this my children will hopefully realize that all of that practice also instills other key life skills: drive, dedication, a solid work ethic, and how to have fun just to name a few.

You Can be Anything You Want To Be

This is something that most children probably hear from their parents at some point in their lives, but I don’t think many kids realize how true that statement actually is. I want my children to know that they can be anything they want to be, but that sometimes, you won’t actually know what that thing is until later in life. For example, when I was growing up I told everyone I could that I wanted to be an architect. Funny thing is, I got to high school and my architect teacher told me that I would be a better engineer because I was good with math and science. So I went to college to be an engineer… and hated it so much that by my second semester I switched to economics. From there, I changed my mind three more times before settling back into finance which is what I do today. But I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was two years removed from college! It’s hard to find something in this world that you are truly passionate about and can enjoy doing for work, so I will urge my children as they age to cast their net wide in the hopes of finding what they truly want to be.

Be Confident in Yourself

As an obese child, confidence was something I severely lacked. As I aged, I gained little chunks of confidence here and there, but nothing ever really helped. However, by my junior year of college I finally became comfortable and confident with myself, and since then I’ve felt like a completely different person. I was no longer afraid to be in large groups of people. I no longer afraid of getting called on during class. That confidence even carried into my career and has helped me become a better analyst. I no longer fear what could happen if I make a wrong assumption with my work. I’m not afraid to ask a tough question if I know the answer will better me or the company. Like I said earlier, sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed, and as someone with little to no confidence you may be afraid to fail. That fear of wondering what may happen if you fail can eat away at you, and that is why I want to be sure my children are confident with everything they do at a young age. I don’t want them to worry about standing in front of people to read, perform, et cetera.

While all the above are important, the one concept we want our children to adhere to day in and day out is to be kind. That goes above simply “treating others the way you want to be treated”. We want our children to know what it means to be a good friend or a good partner. This means our children will be willing to be helpers as well as listeners, they will stand up for what is right even if that means they will stand alone, and they will not pass any judgements on others. Kindness is something this world needs more of and the best place to start in creating more is raising our children with it.

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Five Must Buys for Newborns

Five Must Buys for Your Newborn

Taking care of a newborn can seem like quite the daunting task. Constant diaper changes and the fear of doing something your child won’t like loom around every baby-proofed corner of your home, but it doesn’t have to all be so difficult. This list includes five must buys for newborns that have made my life as a first time parent so much easier, and I bet they can make yours easier too!

#1 – A Great Stroller

Must Buy for Newborns

This might seem obvious, but a good stroller goes a long way. As a finance guy, when the stroller research began I immediately took note of how expensive they were. Even for a generic, run-of-the-mill stroller you’re probably going to spend close to $200. Before we pulled trig on buying one we decided to run up to the local target to test out a few of the ones we had read good reviews about online. I knew within about five minutes of testing though that we wouldn’t be going with any of the basic strollers. They were all clunky feeling, and none of them were that easy to fold down. That was a big concern of mine because I didn’t want my significant other to have to struggle with a stroller once I went back to work. On top of that, none of them were all that aesthetically pleasing, which I know sounds ridiculous, but I just want my kid to look incredible in whatever he’s rolling around in (LOL).

Ultimately, we decided to get the Nuna TAVO. It’s definitely a borderline luxury stroller, but after testing out the others and comparing prices, it just didn’t make sense to be unhappy with something our child would be in on such a regular basis. The TAVO will typically run you $399, but if you grab it while Nuna is having a sale you can save a decent chunk of change! We were also fortunate enough to have some pottery barn gift cards left over from our baby shower, so we actually ended up paying even less than what we would have if we just bought a basic stroller. And let me just say, I am absolutely in love with this stroller. It has a simple one click folding mechanism with zero effort needed to fold down, it’s super lightweight yet also very durable, it has all sorts of angles for your child to lay and also comes with multiple areas where you can peel back certain areas for better ventilation. It is the Rolls-Royce of baby strollers and I would highly suggest going down a path like this if you’re planning on having multiple children. This stroller looks like it will last us our entire lives!

#2 – An Even Better Car Seat

Having a top of the line car seat is very important in my opinion. Think about how much time you spend in the car already… now wouldn’t you want your child’s time in that same car to be as safe as possible? The car is one of the most dangerous places for a child to be, especially if they aren’t in the proper car seat OR if the car seat is not installed correctly. This was another thing that we put a good amount of research into. But, since we were so sold on the Nuna brand already (and because we had already purchased the stroller LOL), we decided to stick with the Nuna car seat too. We ended up with the Nuna PIPA, and in all honesty, this car seat is also a top of the line masterpiece.

The installation was a little difficult in my car, but that was more because of my car being difficult and me not reading instructions rather than the car seat itself being difficult. Once installed though, I couldn’t budge this thing if I wanted to. It truly locks itself into your seats and it even has a neat little support that extends from the base of the seat down to the floor of your car. It is also extremely easy to snap into and remove from the base. Plus, all of that same ease is applied when moving the car seat to the stroller as well. The Nuna brand is very pleasing to the eye as well and comes in a navy blue that is to die for. I can’t imagine parenting with any other brand of stroller or car seat!

#3 – A 4moms mamaRoo Swing

Must buy for Newborn

This little swing, bouncy chair, and pure heavenly contraption has been an absolute lifesaver in my first week of parenting. It has six different motions and a wide array of soothing sounds (plus you can play music from your phone too) that perfectly mimics our movements as parents. When nothing seems to be working to calm down my son, I put him in here on the car ride motion and play the heartbeat sound effect for him. Within seconds, he is fast asleep and those frowns are turned into the cutest little smile. Thankfully, he is not a big crier and I haven’t had to use this too much yet, but it is nice to know that I have something so wonderfully helpful as back up when I need it.

Depending on what site you get this from, you could spend anywhere from $200 to $300. However, many sites now have the Affirm option, which is a simple way to make low payments on items like this over the course of a year or two. I would 1,000% recommend taking advantage of a deal like that if you can, because this swing/chair will be a bigger help than you could ever imagine. This could have easily been my #1 must buy for newborns too, but the stroller/car seat just have a safety factor that moved them to the top of the list.

#4 – Tons of Diapers and Somewhere to Put the Stinky Ones

Coming in at #4 on the “must buy for newborns” list is… diapers! Once again, this may seem like an obvious thing you would buy for your child, but there is more that goes into this purchase than you think. Throughout the entire pregnancy, we were told we were probably going to have a smaller child. Nurses and Doctors both all guessed we would have a baby that ranged from seven to seven and a half pounds. Well, last week when our child finally decided to come, he came out weighing almost nine pounds! “How does that affect my decision to buy diapers?” you might ask. Well, think of it this way: If we hadn’t bought a few different sizes of diapers, we would have ONLY been prepared for a small baby with newborn diapers. That would have been a problem, because our son probably hasn’t been a size where he would’ve fit in newborn diapers for close to a month or so. So then I would have had to run back and buy more diapers, and who wants to do that on day one with their newborn!?

Along with the diapers, you will also need an airtight, stench free zone to put them in. Personally, I like stainless steel the best because it has that sleekness factor that fits just about anywhere in your house. Not to mention, a stainless steel trash can at Target is about half the price of the usual diaper pail. So it seemed like a no-brainer to save that extra money! Another fun tidbit about diapers is that they are exchangeable, so even if you do end up with loads of the wrong size you can easily exchange for the size your ever growing baby may need!

#5 – A Bottle Warmer

As a dad, I think bottle warmers are easily must buys for newborns. I know, technically, you can warm up bottles or milk with warm water from the sink. And breastfeeding or formula are already both at the temperature they need to be at, so you wouldn’t need a warmer then. However, when your newborn wakes up at 3 A.M. and you grab them to let your child’s mother get that well deserved extra few hours of sleep, a bottle warmer will come in so clutch. It’s perfect for one hand use while holding a baby, and they’re extremely simple to use. Ours has five warming options, all with pictures to easily identify what you need. It is definitely much easier than attempting to hold a bottle under warm sink water for 5-10 minutes while your newborn is screaming for some food. On top of their extreme usefulness, they’re also relatively cheap. The Phillips Avent model that I have only cost us $23!

Being a parent is no joke. It comes with loads of stress, countless sleepless nights, and thousands of poopy diapers. But with this guide, I think I can assist in easing some of that stress and allowing you to enjoy more of the little things with your newborn.

Thanks again for the read! Be sure to check out all of my content over at DustyPosts, and be on the lookout for more parenting guides as well!