Raising a healthy, happy, responsible and loving child requires more than relying on your instincts.

Like any job, learning new strategies and skills will increase your effectiveness, as well as your enjoyment.

The following posts will help illustrate how to Keep Your Kids Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Cozy.

There is no one who will love you the way a sibling loves you. Your siblings are your first, and often times your last play mates in life. They are the people closest to you as you learn to crawl, walk, and talk. They’ve seen you at your best and your worst, and in spite of it all, they forgive you when your worst is mean and hurtful. The love and acceptance you show your siblings grows in importance as you age and grow. Your siblings need to know you care– even when the responsibilities of raising your own family are great. As families come together this weekend, celebrate your siblings. Laugh about your childhood. The love you share is like no other

Teachers are heroes. They are your most treasured partners as you raise your kids. The amazing ones nurture, guide, and love your kids at all costs. Whether it’s showing extra compassion and patience for learning or shielding children from on-coming bullets or from a tornado, your kids’ teachers do more than teach–they save. Yes, there are more skilled teachers than others, yet when push comes to shove each is doing their best with the gifts given to them. What more can we as parents ask of another human being? Honor and celebrate the teachers in your family’s life. They have earned it.

Don’t label your kids. “She is the smart one,” or “He is our athlete,” or, even worse–”She is the pretty one.” When you do this, you limit your kids. By “naming” them, you are limiting their potential and defining their self worth based on one interest, one skill, or as horrifying as it sounds, their appearance. Instead of labeling your kids, praise their interests and passions, their drive to work hard, and their ability to persevere. It’s the process and work ethic that you need to encourage and praise, not the end result. Your kids will achieve amazing things. Don’t hold them back.

The greatest gift you can give to a friend is to care about her/his kids. Show interest and follow their progress though life. When the time comes, be there to celebrate them or console them–just be there. Tell them how proud you are of their courage, hard work, and accomplishments. Recognize their gifts and cheer for them. That is what friends do for each other. I am so proud of the kids that my friends are raising. Let your friends know you are, too. Make it a great weekend!

Work really hard to be the mother who doesn’t criticize other mothers. None of us walk in each other’s shoes. We all know life is hard, why rub each other’s noses in it? Remember, when you criticize, your kids hear you. They are watching and learning how to treat others. Raise your kids to be supportive and lead by a strong example. “We don’t compare, we only support.” Is a great family and life motto to help you and your kids live a life rich in building others, not tearing them down. Say this motto to your kids to encourages strength and discourages criticizing and comparing within your home and outside of it. Build a world where support is the norm. Praise it in your home and your kids will carry it out into the community. You can absolutely do it!

Your job as a parent doesn’t end with your kids–it can’t. No parent can be everywhere at all times to insure their son or daughter is making healthy and safe choices; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Don’t be afraid to respectfully step up and step in. It takes courage and a caring heart to confidentially go to another Mom or Dad and share information you would want to know if it were your child. Don’t be the parent who looks the other way; thinking, “Kids will be kids.” It’s those kids who one day may never reach adulthood because no one ever cared enough to step in. Be the parent that other parents can count on. You can absolutely do it!