By Michele Slater

This is what I learned along the way.

  1. Read to your children as much as possible. Studies show this will lead them to academic success.
  2. Order a pizza instead of spending the time at the grocery store and cooking. You can spend that extra time helping with homework, talking about the day or just watching a movie cuddling on the couch. They won't forget it, neither will you.
  3. Do as many puzzles and play as many games as you can stand. This will not only develop their cognitive ability, it will create memories.
  4. Tell them to "suck it up" as much as possible when you are absolutely sure their complaints are just that, just complaining. Learning how to handle adversity and challenges in their lives makes them more resilient; more accepting of curve balls thrown their way. 
  5. Teach them to respect authority but to question what they're told if their instincts are telling them something’s wrong.
  6. Teach them to listen and respect their instincts.
  7. Keeping tabs on friends and activities is imperative. Ask, ask,
    ask. If you're met with a shrug of the shoulders or no commitment as to
    whom they're spending time with, ask again. Keep asking until you get
    an answer, but always with "I love you and care about you that's the
    only reason why I'm asking." Believe it or not, before you know it,
    they're volunteering that information.

    Michele Slater is a single mom living and working in Connecticut.