Friends of ours recently had a beautiful baby girl, and in our e-mail exchange they asked (jokingly perhaps) what lessons The Traveling Richters might have for them and for their new child.
We responded, and in retrospect, our response seems appropriate to share with everyone, so here goes:
1) Make sure that as she gets old enough to go to school you find one with liberal time-away policies so you can travel to explore the world and show her adventure and culture when it’s convenient for you. If your local schools are too rigid (all too common), contemplate homeschooling (easier said than done, though!).
2) Expose her to multiple languages early on. I’ve heard that having each parent speak a different language to a child helps with multiple language adaptation (assuming the parents can speak multiple languages, of course). We opted for the move to a different country instead to achieve the language exposure.
3) Never be afraid to show her affection, regardless of others around you (it’s always macho to hug your kids, with the occasional kiss on the head). That’s part of what’s kept us Traveling Richters very huggy and close, even as our kids become teenagers.
4) As she grows into her toddler years and beyond, explain things to her and talk to her using real people language (big words), not baby talk (although during the first couple of years, lapses into baby talk are common and acceptable, as they are just too cute to do otherwise with). If you don’t think she understands the meaning of a particular word in context, explain it to her.
5) Give her responsibilities as soon as she’s old enough to comprehend how to fulfill those responsibilities – folding laundry, drying some dishes, feeding pets, etc. Ultimately helps increase maturity earlier on, as well as make your lives easier when she’s old enough to really help out around the house and on trips.
6) Save money to pay for experiences more than saving for material things. And then make sure to spend the money on travel fantasies after you’ve saved a bit.
Do any of you agree? Disagree? Think we missed something?