But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that often we can’t even know what tomorrow will bring, let alone 20 years down the line. How can we possibly prepare our kids for the future when in reality, we’re struggling to prepare for next week?
If this sounds like you, the good news is, you’re not alone. Pretty much every parent out there feels the same, which is why Kidspot and Biostime Nutrition teamed up to present Parenting the Future, a special virtual event full of advice, wisdom and solidarity for Aussie mums and dads, exploring what the future holds for our kids, and how we can get them ready for it.
Future proofing your kids, today
Kidspot Editor Melissa Wilson was joined by special guest and BiostimeNutrition Ambassador Miranda Kerr who, in a pre-recorded interview, zoomed in from her home in the US to tell us how she thinks the most important lessons we can teach our kids are how to be kind and self-sufficient.
Miranda believes it’s never too early to teach your children responsibility and independence, saying her son, Flynn (nine) was putting his things away and buttering his own toast by the time he was three years old. “Whatever they’re capable of doing themselves, they should do from a young age,” she said.
Along with Miranda, Mel was joined by a live panel of parents and Biostime Nutrition Ambassadors including entrepreneur, TV personality and mum-of-two Lorinska Merrington; journalist, mum and cancer survivor Elle Halliwell; and Renee Zigic, founder of Incy Wincy Fingers, a business that creates fine motor and sensory play experiences for children. Renee believes that one of the most important things we can do for our kids is to simply let them play. “Sensory play has magical benefits,” She said. “Kids use their five senses to explore their world. It encourages explanation and language development and gross and fine motor skills and not only that, sensory play has a significant impact on reducing stress and anxiety.”
Filling your child’s cup
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, often what your kids need more than anything else is just you.
“We spend 10 minutes one-on-one, non-negotiable time with our son, Tor,” Elle Halliwell told the panel. “No phones, no TV and he gets to choose the activity.” It’s a way for him to know that every day he gets special time with each of his parents. “It fills his cup,” she said, “We’ve really seen him blossom from that.” She wants to continue this into his adolescence as a way to keep connected, so that whatever happens, he will know his parents will always make time for him, every day.
While you can’t wrap your kids in cotton wool, simply letting them know that you are there for them, being present, can be enough. “I think it’s not always what you say to your child but the energy you put out,” Elle said, “And it’s that sensory feeling, too. Like sensory play, I think kids need touch to feel comfort.” Something as simple as a few extra hugs a day can make a huge difference.
Take their lead
Kids might not always know what is best for them, but they usually know what they like and what they don’t. One of the biggest parenting lessons Lorinska said she has learnt is that it’s her kids’ life, not hers. She revealed her excitement about getting her daughter Penelope into ballet classes, only to realise Penelope wasn’t so keen. “She just didn’t like it,” Lorinska admits. “I was so devastated, but I had to give it away.” Lorinska said Penelope instead decided to take up horse riding, which she loves. “You’ve got to find a balance… You’ve got to give your kids security but then you’ve got to let them let their own little person out, too.”
Miranda Kerr also believes that children deserve to feel like they are being taken seriously. “When I’m speaking to them, I like to physically get down on their level,” she said, “I like to look into their eyes and I feel that builds that confidence and connection.” She believes it’s important that parents are considerate of their kids. “Miranda says we should be mindful of what they want and what they need. “You think they don’t understand,” she said, “But they’re learning and observing all the time.”
It takes a village
Just like dropping in on your own personal mother’s group, the lively chat tackled everything from nutrition and toilet training to managing screen time and grappling with new technology.
But along with sharing their advice for raising kids, the panel were keen to remind parents that one of the best things you can actually do for them, is go easy on yourself. “Parenting is messier and harder than I’d ever envisioned,” Lorinska admits, “but I get up every day and give it my best shot and I think that’s all you can do.”
Mel Wilson shared an analogy she’d heard recently, “You’re juggling all these balls in the air, but you have to imagine that some balls are made of glass and others are made of plastic. And it’s OK to drop some of them, some of the time.”
It’s also OK to ask for help. At the end of the day, there are no easy answers, but we’re all in this together. It really does take a village, and sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is reach out to that village for help.
Kidspot and Biostime Nutrition teamed up to present Parenting the Future, a special live virtual event exploring what the future holds for Australian children, and how you can help prepare them for it. Discover more parenting resources on Biostime Nutrition’s Next Generation Parenting hub.