Do you inspire your nieces and nephews every day? You probably do without even realising it!
Sometimes it's the little things that can have the biggest impact. Particularly if you can show the kids in your life something they don't see all the time, or give them a new way of looking at the world.
I was lucky to spend quite a lot of time with my nieces and nephews this summer, and they taught me so much - from taking more time to enjoy the little things in life, to trying not to worry so much.
Read more about all the life lessons I took from my five year old niece.
It got me thinking about the ways in which we can inspire and teach our nieces and nephews in return. Sometimes it's the really simple things (possibly even mundane to us) that can have the most lasting effect.
This could be a big difference - maybe you live somewhere more rural than them? Or maybe you're right in the centre of a city, while they live further out? Think about all the little things (maybe even the ones that annoy you a bit) about living where you do. Your nieces and nephews would probably love to learn more about them.
Even if you do live in a similar location, there will definitely be aspects of your everyday life that will seem exciting and inspiring to your nieces and nephews.
Tip: Look at your daily commute. Maybe you have to take a bus or train to work every day - you'll be surprised how much more fun it seems after you have experienced it through a toddler's eyes!
When you're a parent, life is hectic. Most of the time, chores like washing dishes, laundry and cleaning are annoyingly mundane activities that have to fit around the chaos of the rest of life. Of course, even if you're not a parent, these are not the activities most people look forward to!
But what sort of games and activities do little kids like the most? Repetitive, simple tasks that give them a sense of achievement. And what is better than a bit of washing up to tick all those boxes?
The trick is to make the activity into a game, rather than a chore.
When babysitting small children, a single hour can feel like a whole day. Trying to constantly think up new games to keep the little ones entertained (and out of trouble) can be exhausting. Chaining them (metaphorically of course) to the kitchen sink, and giving them an apron, a big pile of dirty plates, and a brush / cloth ensures that once they are into the task you can happily keep an eye on them while the chore actually gets done!
Tip: if they are looking a little sceptical to start, make sure you label this a grownup task, and look a little doubtful about whether they are up to it - they'll be desperate to prove you wrong!
Even if you travel to the same location, a holiday with kids is a very different thing to a holiday without them. While I'm not suggesting that you take the kids on holiday with you (I'm not crazy!), try setting up a shared online photo folder to show them more about the place you are in and the sort of things you are doing.
Don't just send photos of the most exciting parts of your trip either - your nieces and nephews will want to see what your everyday looks like, wherever you are.
Tip: send an actual physical postcard they can put up on the wall, to remind them of their cool auntie / uncle whenever they see it
"Mmmm.. this tastes so good, you should try it!"
This tactic has a limited shelf life for parents, sadly. But as the cool auntie / uncle, just by showing up you already have them wanting to copy your every move.
Even if it seems as though what you are eating is having no effect at all, the likelihood is that you are being constantly studied, whether you like it or not! If you look like you are enjoying a big bowl of salad, or a plate piled high with vegetables, this memory will stick with your nieces and nephews.
Tip: There's no need to make a song and dance about it, but if you just eat whatever food you are trying to encourage and look happy about it - sooner or later, your niece/nephew will want to have a go too.
What sort of things do you do all the time without even thinking about it? From popping to the shops to your favourite hobbies, taking your nieces and nephews along with you will not only help you see the fun in them again, but could create lasting memories that will inspire them to do the same themselves when they grow up.
What sort of everyday activities do you do that could inspire your nieces and nephews? Let me know in the comments!
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