I’ve used Mia’s article and given it a New Zealand flavour ….
12 Habits of a Highly Effective Mother
1. Praise positive behaviour …
Catch your children doing something right. Work harder at promoting (and verbalising) positive behaviour.
2. Find time for yourself — spiritually, physically, and emotionally … You always have time for what you put first. Set aside time to do something that builds your spirit, whether it’s praying, reading a book, doing some stretching exercises, or calling a friend. You’ll be a better mother when you are able to nurture the nurturer a little.
3. When the going gets tough, step away from it all … How tragic is a bowl of spilled cereal and milk on the floor? Distance yourself for a brief time. Respond to the incident, rather than react to it — big difference!
4. Stay in synch with your husband, and speak only with respect to and about each other … When making decisions together that involve your children, show unity. The united front will demonstrate to your children your respect for each other and your desire to give them a solid foundation on which to build their own values and character.
5. Make special time for your children … Watch how your children respond to you when you’ve taken an hour to read to them, play cards, have snuggles, push them on the swing set – offering 100% of your attention to them for that hour. They need it, and it shows in their behaviour. When they act up and get obnoxious, ask: How much direct time have I spent with them today? This time is above and beyond the usual wiping their faces, helping them pick up their toys, and bathing them. This is direct contact doing something fun and maybe even educational.
6. Keep current with the news … Keeping in contact with the outside world will allow you to talk with other adults. Sign up with an e-mail news organisation, like www.stuff.co.nz [for NZ and world news].
7. Speak to your children on a level slightly higher than their own … Do this, and your children will be gently coerced into pulling their own vocabularies along. If spoken to intelligently, your child will be at a much greater advantage than the child who is spoken down to or with the use of baby talk.
8. Remember the good things your mum did, and do them … Take a little stroll down Memory Lane and try to remember something special that your mum did for you, something that you really enjoyed or made you feel special. Is it something that you can do for your children too? If done repeatedly, would it create a lasting, fond memory for them? Traditions can be started at the same time!
9. Let your children hear you say only good things about others … We are our children’s first role models, so we better be good ones! If all they hear is us being kind and charitable when discussing others, it stands to reason that they will do the same.
10. Read to your children daily … Studies strongly show that children to whom books are read daily are more likely to read successfully themselves and to read for pleasure as they get older. When they can hear and learn the words that go along with the pictures, the stories come to life and allow their imaginations to soar. Better than that, though, it means special time for you and your children. They need this kind of interaction with the special adults in their lives!
11. Foster a hobby or interest or two … A hobby for just you allows you some time to pursue something that you enjoy and that stimulates your senses, doing the daily crossword puzzle, tending to plants, paper-folding, needlework. This keeps you interesting and shows your children about interests that can be lifelong pastimes.
12. Start early teaching your children … Prayer – Children need to understand that, as much as you love them, there is a God who loves them even more. Prayer builds that relationship and, when started early, can lead to a life that will guide them through the tough and the great times.
13. Money management – wise spending and savings.
14. Virtues, fables, parables; honesty, integrity, character – Aesop’s Fables and Bennett’s The Book of Virtues are great stories for children to learn the less tangible things in life that give us character.
15. Etiquette – Mealtime manners,, respect for adults, saying thank you, sorry, please and excuse me, and writing thank you notes. Start as we intend to continue.
16. To think of others’ feelings, sometimes before our own –
17. Physical activity and exercise – Let’s teach our children to explore, be creative, and get active at an early age.
18. Moderation – Do we teach our children to be self-indulgent and possessive? Delayed gratification and at times going without is in reality good for our children – and us.