It Takes a Village

it-takes-a-villageOur daughter’s principal recently wrote in a newsletter his agreement with the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” He mentioned the grandparents, teachers, babysitters, neighbors and friends who all impact the lives of our children.

I’ve been thinking more about this concept.  It’s fun to picture all the different roles this village plays in our children’s lives. As Jeff mentioned in his last blog, grandparents can add stories and a sense of history to their grandchild’s present. Teachers and babysitters combine fun and learning to help minds grow and develop. Neighbors and friends can provide a new environment to explore and play. Our niece adores being invited to a neighbor’s house with a trampoline. My kids had an amazing visit to a friend’s wooded backyard exploring and looking for signs of deer and rabbit.

Our principal went on to point out that a child’s village often changes during the summer months.    Watching our 6-year-old blossom as an elementary school student, I’m learning more and more the importance of providing these different components of her village even as the seasons change. No longer is she content to have a main caregiver be her sole companion. She has become accustomed to the changing environment of recess with various friends, art class with a different teacher and a bus ride home with neighbor children.

As we look ahead to the summer months, I want to be intentional to maintain a village mentality in my children’s lives.  I want this to include playdates with school friends, bike rides with neighborhood friends and a sleepover or 2 at Grandpa and Grandma’s.  I want our kids to experience relationships beyond Mom and Dad. Seeing how other families work and play together, having another adult oversee play, giving the kids an opportunity to make decisions for themselves without Mom or Dad looking over their shoulder; these are all ways that we can help our children grow and develop.

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