Whole Parenting Family

Six Things I Try to Do Everyday with Each Child


This little lady. She’s something else.

My three kids are 5 and a half, 3 and three quarters, and 1 and five eighths. I’m making up the fractions, approximately. Don’t sue me. The days at home with them have gotten easier in many ways. When I had three under four, I was really harried and often desperate for any reprieve I could find {blog, sew, blog}. Now that I’m breathing a little more deeply, I am trying to do certain things with each kid throughout the day.

Of course there are all these studies about being present to your children, and what happens when they’re raised in the era of mama having a smartphone. But beyond those potential black holes for guilt, I just want to be mindful of a few things with them. So I’m reading this book by one of my favorite authors and hoping to change somethings into habits.


1) hug and kiss copious times.

My boys are more inclined for physical touch than my little lady–so I have to remind myself to smother her with affection too even when it’s not her first love language. I told them their kisses are stored up in my soul and will be with me forever. Jesus, make that true.

2) laugh with them, even when I’m totally faking it.

I don’t feel like being goofy or entertaining or fun or funny that often. I often wish they would listen the first time and stop squirming. I’m finding that goofing around when they’re being inattentive (not straight up naughty) works so much better. Duh. So I smile when I don’t feel like it. At least four times a day. Smile at my child. Each of them. That’s twelve smiles a day.


3) read a book aloud at them//to them.

Sometimes we all clamor onto a little reading couch in the kitchen in the morning, or migrate to the room we call the Library after breakfast and I read aloud while they watch, follow along, or play. Other days I find myself only reading before naps to the two littles, and then when we do our homeschool lessons with my oldest. I want to read aloud more. So any of the three meals I make & serve: my read aloud time. Lately we’re reading this.

4) make eye contact and ask how they are doing today.

I’m sure you make eye contact constantly with your children. I do too. When I’m making sure they’re listening to my direction or correction. But I’m really working on checking in on their emotional well-being. Great practice for my tot to hit me in the glasses and shout BABA, for the middle gal to say how are YOU doing, mama?, and for my big boy to articulate his latest grievance.

5) end directions and orders with “thank you.”

Manners must come from me to them, right, so that maybe they’ll return the favor someday. Model the behavior we want them internalize. I easily fall into the “do as I say, not as  I do” camp–which is just rotten adulting.


6) demonstrate respect and love to their dad.

I want our marriage to be a really positive influence on their notion of relationships so that none of them ever have a rotten love interest. Okay, I totally cannot control that but man! If I can have any sway in that area, I’m okay with sucking up my pride and being polite even when I think I know better than my spouse.

Remember my 7 kindnesses to show your spouse when raising small kids post? I have to remind myself of it all the time. Oh, and 7 ways to fight better, too. And, of course, 7 phrases not to say to your spouse. Needed that one today.


What are your things you try to do everyday with the kiddos?


  1. Annie on February 15, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Gretchen Rubin is one of my favs too! Loved reading her Happiness Project!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      I just loved that one–have you also read Happier at Home? Really recommend it!!

  2. Colleen on February 15, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Loved these ideas, Nell. It is easy to make ourselves think being intentional with each child is impossible. But putting it this way helps me remember it only takes a small effort to make sure everybody is filled up. And these apply to bigger kids too!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      And they are such simple things that I overlook them!

  3. Kathy H on February 15, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I read Better than Before after Kelly mentioned it! So many good nuggets of wisdom! And that NPR article is good food for thought. Sending it to the hubby!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      I love her other books–have you read any of them? I think you would really love them!

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