We think the Sandy Hook School motto,
"Think You Can, Work Hard, Get Smart, Be Kind, Have Fun",
is a good lesson for parents as well as for children.
Think You Can- Have confidence in your ability to parent. Most parents have good instincts. Often times just being there goes a long way when raising a child. Be mindful of the big picture. We all make mistakes and that is how we learn. Believe that Love really is the answer. Know when to ask for help and utilize all of the resources in your community.
Work Hard-Parenting is hard work with immeasurable rewards. It is the most important job you have in life, and it takes courage to do the right thing. Children need guidance and the security of limits and consistent rules. You are your child's role model and you lead by example. Get your sleep. Eat good food and exercise. Teach your children the value of hard work and discipline. Work hard and play hard. Quality time where you are totally present and listening to your child matters most. Be the parent and make the hard decisions that will pay off later in life.
Get Smart-Educate yourself through reputable resources. Protect your children as best you can. Vaccinate! Understand that the very real benefits of vaccines far outweigh any theoretical risks. Learn about the morbidity/mortality of the diseases vaccines protect against. Understand when antibiotics are warranted and why they aren't always needed or effective. Follow the developmentally appropriate guidelines for safety. Know who your child's friends are and what they are doing/learning when they are not in your care. Understand the technology they are using and make sure they navigate the cyber world safely. Help them to understand their changing bodies and how to form habits that will keep them healthy as adults. Advocate for your children like no one else can, but teach them personal responsibility.
Be Kind- A lesson learned and relearned throughout life. Our children became everyone's children on 12/14. We relearned the value of a hug. We felt our interconnectedness. We decided we wouldn't be defined by what happened to our community, but by how we responded. The response of Love was overwhelming. Teach your children to pass on that kindness. To do a good deed for those in need. Teach your children to understand their feelings so they can better control their actions. Help them realize they have the strength and resilience within themselves to overcome their own hardships so they can help others. Our children can make a real difference in this world by truly caring about one another and by being involved in our community.
Have Fun-Let your children remind you how to have fun. Laugh a lot. Find joy in the simple things. Be physically active with your children. Fall down and get back up. Be Mindful of the love and laughter in your home and savor the moments of pure joy that come with Parenting.