nerdfatherOne of the hardest things about being a single parent is being able to do the things you want and/or need to do. This is especially true if the kids find what you want or need to do boring. Any single parent could tell you that it is a hard life. Now imagine me with four children, trying to start up a website, write fiction, and plan out films while also mediating sibling spats, preparing meals, and answering all of their silly questions! Even I’m surprised that I haven’t taken a trip to the local loony bin yet. What’s my trick, my method for getting it all done? Inclusion.

Including your children in the things you do makes them excited about it, thus avoiding the perils of boredom. Every parent knows them – the sighs, the fidgeting, the is it almost time questions, and everything else that can drive a parent madder than a hatter. The trick then becomes getting your child to want to be included in whatever it is you’re doing. And, of course, you should keep in mind that they are not going to want to be included in everything – especially if they are things that you don’t want to be included in (waiting at the doctor’s office, balancing the checkbook, Aunt Petunia’s vacation slide show, etc). With some practice though, you can get them to want to be included. Here are my tips accompanied with examples from the creation of the new website.

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1. BE EXCITED!!!

Children want to be included in things others are excited about. If you are not excited about doing something you might as well not bother trying to get them excited about it. If you are excited about it, then don’t be afraid to show that excitement to the kids. When I started talking to the children about Psyborg TV, I made sure my excitement about the project showed through. I used an enthusiastic voice, smiled whenever I talked to the kids about it, and let them know I was really happy working on it. As a result, they became excited. Why? Because excitement is contagious, especially among children. Any parent that has had their child around an excited child can tell you that.

2. INVOLVEMENT

If all you’re doing is talking about the project to the children they will eventually lose interest in it. Listen to the conversation between children once and you’ll find out why. They easily change from talking about what happened in school to what kind of birthday party they want in 10 months. Getting the children involved and doing something in regards to the project helps keep them interested. When I told my daughter she was going to star opposite me in the first short film, she was overjoyed. My two youngest sons were just as happy to hear that they were going to be extras in the film. You may be thinking “sure, it’s easy for a child to get excited about being in a film”, but my eldest son was just as happy and excited when I told him he’d be working as a gopher behind the camera. It’s the involvement that excites them.

3. LEAVE OUT THE GROWN-UP LANGUAGE

A child will quickly lose interest if they don’t understand what is going on. This means you need to leave out the terms and information they don’t need to be excited. Instead, share with them the stuff that will excite them. Today, while I was promoting the new site on Twitter, I didn’t try to explain to the children that I am trying to network in order to increase readership and raise start-up capital. Instead, I let them know how many people were following Psyborg TV on Twitter. There faces lit up with excitement when I told them a NASA scientist or a Grammy-winning writer had followed the project.

4. DON’T FORGET TO DO KID THINGS TOO

If all you did with them was this grown up thing that you had managed to get them excited about they would eventually lose interest no matter how excited you are, how involved they are, or how much interesting stuff happens. They are, after all, children and their minds jump from one thing to the next with wreckless abandon. It is important to still let them do kid things and to do kid things with them. After a long day of networking and planning, I sat down with them for a family movie night before sending them off to bed. At the end of the night, they remained just as excited about Psyborg TV as I am.

I hope this posts helps other parents out there, single or otherwise. Raising children is a hard full time job. And it is best for us adults to form strong symbiotic relationships with them.

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