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Life changes

Life is full of changes. With change comes growth and independence. This past weekend we moved our daughter into her first college apartment. My son had a full week of high school cross country practice as a freshman. Extended family also welcomed a new bundle of joy, sweetly name Evelyn. I was quickly reminded that the life of a child is full of changes and growth.

Trust me when I say the next 18 years will go FAST. Whether your child is just starting to explore the world, or ready to explore the world on their own…take time to cherish these life changes as they grow and learn. Here’s how.

• If you are feeling well-rested yourself, take time to watch your child sleep. Take joy in knowing that they are well cared for.

• Take time to read, play, sing and dance. Explore their world and their learning. Be goofy and laugh often.

• Pick the child up from school and take them on an adventure to a park, for a sweet treat or to go shopping.

• Cuddle every chance you can get. Children, at any age, need to feel loved.

• Occasionally break your own rules. Have dessert before dinner, stay out after dark and catch fireflies or stay up late to watch a family movie. You will never regret the extra time spent with each other.

• Share at least one meal a day together as a family. It doesn’t matter which meal, just do it. Don’t forget to put the cell phone down or hide the remote.

• Ask about their day, what they learned, or problems they solved. Actively listen and look at them in the eye, as if they’re telling you the most important details in the world. The more you engage, the more you learn about your child. You get to soak in the sweet and silly parts of their personality as they tell you about their day.

• Don’t rush through each stage. Whether your child is going through a good or bad stage, remember that “this too shall pass.” Each stage is creating a “road map” of connections that will pave the way to who they will become as an adult.

• Capture the everyday moments with video and photos. When your children leave your home, it’s the everyday things you’ll miss most. Make photo albums of your child or special trips so you will always have something to reflect on.

• Pray together. Have a time where you pray with your whole heart for them and with them. Let them see you pray for them too. Let them know that even you need God’s help in raising them and in everyday life. Our family also set a rule that if someone eats before the table prayer is said together, that they must say an extra prayer…of any kind.

• Begin and end each day with, “I love you.”

Children are one of life’s greatest blessings. With each child will come a life full of changes and unexpected memories. Cherish every moment with your child to the fullest. To quote Gloria’s character in the movie, Grown Ups, “Life can be difficult sometimes, it gets bumpy. What with family and kids and things not going exactly like you planned. But that’s what makes it interesting. In life, the first act is always exciting. The second act… that is where the depth comes in.”

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Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley

Early Childhood Area Board.

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