Here’s a simple rule:
How would you care for a child?
Do that for yourself.
And, just in case I forget what THAT looks like:
It starts with the basics. Sleep. Food. Protection. Compassion when they’re sad, scared, overwhelmed, or hurt.
Be sure they get plenty of holding and hugs.
Keep them and their environment clean. Dress them up and admire their cuteness, but be sure they’re comfortable, first. Encourage them to move.
Teach them to communicate.
Give them every opportunity you can to explore, learn, discover, connect, and make a difference — even if it’s small.
Feed their creativity. Allow them to play. Treat them occasionally, but remember indulgence isn’t kindness.
If they’re sick, make sure they rest. If they don’t get better quickly, take them to the doctor.
Ensure that they have friends. Teach them to be consistently kind and to have good boundaries. Give them something to believe in. Teach them to love. Teach them how to be loved, too.
Show them the world. Don’t focus on the ugly parts, but don’t hide them either: work to find ways to make things better. Teach them how to appreciate and care for all of life’s gifts.
Expect much. Teach them self discipline, responsibility, hard work, and how use their lives for good. But instill in them that they are loved for who they are, not for their looks or achievements.
When they fail somehow, don’t berate them or sulk over how they’ve let you down. Encourage them to keep trying.
Connect with them. Seek to understand what they’re going through. Take regular time to put down your phone and really, truly, listen to what’s in their hearts. Believe in them. Be proud of them. And hope for their brightest future.