They grow up so fast!

they grow up so fast

As a mum of a teen and tween I have started using the dreaded cliché “they grow up so fast”. I can be out somewhere and see a toddler messily devouring a rapidly melting ice cream and I have a vague flashback to when my two were little and think “they grow up so fast.” Sometimes it can be triggered by something as simple as my 11 year old using a complex word and hubby and I recall that cute phase when she would say “nicnic” instead of “picnic”.

Avoid having “they grow up so fast” regrets!

Well, I know most parents of young kids are knee deep in nappies and parenting advice overload as you navigate the terrible twos, threes, fours and more – but here are a few tips to avoid having “they grow up so fast” regrets:

1. Pictures of daily life with you

We’re the home-based paparazzi – documenting the momentous and super-cute milestones of our kids – first roll, crawling, walking, first day of school. That’s great, but every once in a while take a video or pic of your little one just having a normal day and doing normal stuff like gurgling and drinking their bedtime bottle of milk or chatting with dad or following their older sibling around. Believe me, as they grow, some memories tend to fade a bit and the little videos are great reminders plus the kids love seeing themselves as toddlers.

Also, ask someone to take pics of yourself with your kids or take selfies with them. A lot of parents document their child’s life meticulously but when looking back on it, their parent-person hardly features in the pics and videos. (NB. Save the videos and pics on an external hard drive or on your FB account and make it private so that you can have a back-up in case you lose the pics/videos.)

2. Take “about me” videos annually

Remember that time you envisioned yourself keeping a detailed memory box for your child documenting their life highlights – first tooth that fell out, first lock of hair cut, preschool graduation certificate….and then somehow they’re suddenly 10-years-old and you have no idea where that customised memory box is after last seeing it a year after your angel was born.

Take “about me” videos annually (you can make it a December holiday tradition) – you are their biggest fan after all!  Start doing it from the time they can speak (even if it’s going to sound like gibberish the first 2 years). Ask questions about their favourites : food, colour, game, friend, tv show, toy – and throw in a few random questions like:

  • “what is your least favourite thing to do?”,
  • “What was the best place you’ve been to this year”,
  • “What do you love about mum/dad/granny?”.

Give them time to expand on their answers so that their personalities come through. Looking back on my kids’ videos, I love seeing how they have grown and how their personalities were already in full force even in toddlerhood.

3. Make a height ruler

Make or buy a height ruler – put a 6 monthly reminder on your phone to measure their height and remember to include the date and their age on the ruler/chart. It’s especially fun for siblings to compare heights at the same age and the look of glee on their faces as they catch-up to mum/dad’s height. My 13-year-old is a full 15cm taller than me.

Also, as they outgrow clothing at super flash-like rates,  save that tiny, cute onesie and pair of socks or that cute, tattered blankie that accompanied your child everywhere at one stage.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Finally, it’s so important to practice mindfulness when you’re with your kids. When you pick them up from school or crèche, turn the radio off as you drive, press pause on thoughts of the terrible day you had at work, or how much laundry you still have to sort out or what you’re going to cook for supper. Just give your little one your undivided attention.

These little pockets of time mean so much and creates an invaluable connection with your kids which helps prevent a disconnect as they enter that inevitable, scary, hormonal, teen angst stage of life. If you take time to speak with them now, they will want to speak with you later.

Related Useful Articles:

  1. Is there a superior parenting style? Read here
  2. Review of Tech-Savvy Parenting: A Guide to Raising Safe Children in a Digital World. Read here

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Author

Sholain Govender-Bateman

Sholain Govender-Bateman

Sholain Govender-Bateman – New Media journalism lecturer and editor who worked for newspapers & edited magazines. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, wife to Barry Bateman. Visit her on Twitter @sholain

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