Cute doesn’t Cut it…
Believe me. I am the first to melt when I see a little girl with ruffles on her tush… or a handsome young preschooler with a Cincinnati Reds jersey to match his MLB hat. I simply love to find a good deal on great clothes for kids, and my own children know when it comes to a photo opt… cute clothes matter to their mom. With back to school around the corner, I don’t have to tell you how expensive it can be to ensure your kid is the cutest kid to walk in the door of his classroom. The children’s clothing market is hot. There are options all over the web for parents to find great outfits for great prices, and then shower their kids with designer labels.
The other day I was at a restaurant and saw the most darling curly haired child dressed in the sharpest duds. His seer-sucker shorts and designer green polo shirt were so sweet. His shoes may have cost more than my weekly grocery bill, and his monogrammed belt were one of a kind. Mom and Dad had obviously spent time, money and energy addressing this little guy’s style. There is no doubt about it… He was adorable, but his poor choices and out of control behavior were all I could see. If only his demeanor were as enchanting as his appearance. He was spitting his food out, yelling words like “YUCK”, and “I Hate This” . He was running around the dining area screaming with glee as Mom and Dad sipped wine and smiled at him, “Isn’t he sooo cute?”
I say simply… CUTE doesn’t CUT it!
I would love to see a world where parents invest in resources that support positive behavior. It’s time for parents to spend less time surfacing the web for great deals on ribbons and bows and more time finding ideas on how to get their child to pay attention to the rules of their home. I would like to see more facebook posts where parents recognize and share their child’s good choices instead of their adorable Easter Bunny photo shoot.
I say… dig deep into your parenting approaches and decide what matters most to you and your spouse. Then, set up house rules that mirror what you expect. Instead of focusing on how great your child looks in the mirror, make sure their behavior mirrors your family expectations. Are they a friend to the neighbor kids? Are they accepting of people who are different from them? Do they help around the house and wait patiently for their turn to talk or play? Can you take them to a restaurant without getting dirty looks from other customers?
How cute everyone’s child would be if they could all: sit quietly and attend to a task, use kind words, share their things, and listen on the first time.
It is easy to be “caught up in cute”. The world around us is telling parents that being cute is the most important thing, but Child in Bloom Parents know the difference. Cute only goes so far, and when parents and their children bloom… The sky’s the limit.
By the way… here are some quick tips for dining with your little ones…
- Set up a visual storyline before going to the restaurant that tells your child what to expect, how we behave politely, and what the consequences will be if rules are not followed.
- Practice these same rules at your own dinner table and when playing pretend restaurant with your child at home. Practice and remind your child of these expectations over and over again.
- Follow through on the first time if your child doesn’t follow the plan.
- Find ways to make dining developmentally appropriate… Your child’s attention matches directly to their age and so bring more than enough stuff to keep them entertained.
- Ask for a table that is remote and far away from diners who want to have a quiet evening away.
- Boothes are always a good choice for spreading out and giving your child the room they need to wiggle and giggle.
- Order your child’s food in advance and let your waiter know you might need to leave in a hurry when the child has lost their steam.
- Bring food and drinks to offer while you wait.
- Have an exit plan that involves getting up to peek at the restaurant’s fish tank, or walk to the parking lot to get a breather. Never let your child roam a restaurant freely.
- Pay attention to your child and put your phones to the side as you focus on this special time with your family.