By Brendan O’Connor Webster, Founder and Board President of Yikes Tikes!
This year was Yikes Tikes 3rd official graduating class and I wish to congratulate them for this first graduation milestone. May there be many others, with some of these delightful children being the first of their families to graduate from high-school in the US, and others commemorate graduation from colleges and universities. I commend you parents for partaking in Yikes Tikes and sharing the experience of early learning with your children. Congratulations to you as well.
I have a parting message for you, Yikes Tikes! parents of graduating kids. My message has five ingredients for successful parenting.
Y is for Yes, being a “yes” to your child
How? By seeing them as powerful, rich and strong. By seeing them as interested in the world and able to know what they want. By giving them choices and helping them to attain them.
I is for Inclusion
That they will be in a community of people from all over the world, with different abilities, gender preferences, genetic make up, and economic backgrounds. We all want the same thing: food, water, shelter, an education, self-sufficiency and peace.
K is for Kids
Which means they grow up. They don’t start out as little adults, they have to go through many developmental steps to attain adulthood. If you can determine your child’s developmental levels in communication, cognition, social, self-help and motor, you will be able to engage them in activities which will be meaningful to them. Check out CSLOT’s website for developmental milestones in these areas. The most meaningful part of the engagement, however, is not the activity, it’s being with you.
E is for Esteem
Self-esteem is everything to a child. A child who feels good about herself will have success, and realize her potential. The confident child will have parents who have been a “yes” to her.
S is for safety
It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe. We can’t expect them to know about the dangers of the world, and we don’t want them to know until they have reached the developmental level that allows them to understand it.
We take their hand when we cross the street with them, and hold it in busy places. We watch them at the park and we go into public restrooms with them. We put latches on our cupboards that contain sharp instruments and toxins. We don’t tell them that the world is scary because we have made it safe for them.
This goes back to being a yes to them. We let them know we are there for them. Instead of “you can’t,” “it’s too hard,” and “no,” we tell them “sure,” “why not?” and “yes”.
If you are a “yes” to your kids, they will be a “yes” to you.