Connecting with Kids at Home

The pressure of raising successful children for parents

As an educator, I know exactly what expectations wait for my daughter when she enters the classroom – still a few years away. I know the journey through school, the pressure to carry on beyond those foundational years into the great halls of universities and colleges, to boardrooms and beyond.

The pressure to succeed – the pressure to have your child succeed; it’s terrifying.

I think back to my own pressure growing up. Of wondering what success would be for me (more on that here), wondering what role I was supposed to play in my community, what job would take me from Monday to Friday, what books I should read to get me there.

It was exhausting. It placed me into a tiny space of checklists and due dates and grey walls.

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How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener
A Spirited Child on the Path to Success.

That first flicker of my daughter’s eyes looking up at me the night she was born changed my perspective. A fire already in her, keeping her awake while every other baby in playgroup slept soundly in its mother’s arms. I trusted her.

I trusted that she would figure it out, with my support. I trusted that if I let her crawl around the corner she would learn that I was nearby. I trusted that when she took her first steps and fell, she would be motivated enough to give it another shot.

I want so much for my daughter. To open our front door and for the world to welcome her with open arms. If only it was that friendly beyond our adorable neighborhood.

I want to give my daughter everything under the sun. I want her to have everything, to laugh always and to only carry the best memories with her.

But I’m also realistic.

How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener
How can you raise a happy and successful child? It’s time to take the pressure off of being a mom and realize you have the tools you need at home with you while you are connecting with your child. Click here to read how a simple activity empowers you child to learn a wealth of information. #momguilt #learning #tips #life #toddlers #preschooler #kindergartener

Magic in the Mundane

I also have to do the things that normal families do. I have to clean up after supper, to sweep the floor, to change that light bulb, to move the laundry into the dryer.

These can be my moments too. To invite her to take part in acts communities long before her took part in. I welcome her to join me, a smile on my face as we lift the heavy wet pants and socks from one machine and put them into the next.

A conversation begins.

First about hippos, then about texture, and counting, and colors.

To the untrained eye this is all random. And it is – she’s in the lead and I have no idea what we are going to talk about next. It’s taking longer than it should. I could have finished this task in seconds, not the many minutes that have already passed.

But it’s also my magical moment with her. So there’s no rush.

While we lift the wet clothes my daughter uses her whole body – every muscle in her being for they weigh nearly as much as her. How does the laundry feel? How do you feel when you help Mommy? I’m so happy to have you here, helping me.

She solves the issue of reaching to the back of the machine by finding a stool to stand on; problem-solving beyond her years.

She talks of hippos; sharing the knowledge we learned together in a book the day before. I encourage her to tell me more. How big is a hippo? What color? Paws or feet? Two legs or four?

Her language grows each time she shares with me. Her words more descriptive than the last time I heard her express her love for story. She feels that I am engaged and listening and it encourages her creativity. She adds a wild twist, I’ve not heard before, smiling from ear to ear with excitement.

We count socks. Talk about colors, textures and size.

The drum of the machine – which way does it spin? Why are there holes on the side? The science nerd in me thrilled that she noticed the details.

We begin to close the door. What’s written here? Can this sticker come off?

No time to answer.

SLAM! Music to her ears. Pride on her face that part of the job is done. What else makes noise around us?

Turn the dial. Click. Click. Click. Agonizingly slow to some. Satisfying slow to her.

Press the button in (a whole hand needed) and it pops back out. Processes and routine.

Why this, then that? It makes it go!

Listen to that? Tumble, rumble, mumble.

I didn’t have time today to show her the world.

Instead, I prepared her for it.

Doing such a simple task we learned: language and literacy, the beauty of storytelling, cognition and early mathematics, science, discovery, fine and gross motor skills, large muscle movement, social and emotional development, spatial awareness, depth perception, problem solving. Love.

How do you raise a successful and happy child?

Be present.


You are doing enough.

You are enough.

You are exactly who your child needs.

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  1. Samantha | The Vegas Mommy

    I love this. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough for my son to be successful, even at 3. This reminded me that I am with every single thing I explain to him, show him, and have him help me with.

    • jessicacmckenna

      And that makes it so meaningful!! Getting my daughter to help mix foods in a bowl, wash dishes in the sink, put away books and toys, can all be fun and exciting activities with amazing stories shared and questions asked. We made paint this morning and my daughter had more fun making the paint then painting with it!

  2. Jennifer

    I love this! Its so true. You’ve inspired me to do laundry with my daughter today!

    • jessicacmckenna

      Oh yay! It just goes to show that everyday tasks have as much benefit as a fine tuned and organized activity. It’s all about the conversation and taking the time to let them help. It takes wayyyyy longer but is so valuable! Today we walked for the mail (3 mins away at most) and it took us half an hour but we saw and talked about so much!

  3. Kesi's Korner

    This is beautiful! I feel like it’s easy to feel like you are not doing enough especially when it is so easy to look on someone else’s social media page and see all the things they are doing, but like you said all our children need is for us to be present! We are enough and they adore us. Thanks for sharing.

    • jessicacmckenna

      That #momguilt creeps in so easily when you see all the things that other moms are doing – but that quick glimpse into the photo they’ve decided to share doesn’t tell us the story of their entire day. Being a mom is hard – we should be lifting each other up and supporting one another! Being there for our kids is so important and it is the foundation for everything else! Thanks so much for your kind words, Kesi!

  4. ari salas

    Very inspiring. I constantly think if I am preparing my baby for the world. I try to read a lot to her and to have conversations even if she is only 11 months old.

    • jessicacmckenna

      I love this so much! Your time and attention and you showing her that you are passionate about reading with her and spending quality time together, is exactly what she needs. You’ve got this, Mama!

  5. alunderfullife

    I love your quote “instead I prepared her for it.” That is so inspiring. I love reading with my little one and I love even more seeing her reach for books over toys.

    • jessicacmckenna

      Thank you so much! It’s such a heartwarming feeling to see a little one fall in love with reading!

  6. Kelly

    I really love this. I have a little little one but I want to make sure when he’s older we get time like this. I love that you’ve shown how even a simple moment that is usually rushed through (or dreaded, I hate laundry!) can actually turn into a really special time between parents and children.

    • jessicacmckenna

      Thanks so much, Kelly! It’s so true that learning doesn’t have to be complicated to be meaningful! I hate doing laundry too, so it’s nice to have it become something entirely different with a sweet little pair of blue eyes looking up at me. Changes the perspective for sure!

  7. Alex, AlwaysUs.Co

    This is such great insight (and I love the laundry support!). Our little one is just 13 months, but I’m trying to hard to be present with her and help her grow to be happy and stimulated 🙂 Great article!

    • jessicacmckenna

      Thanks so much, Alex! The simplicity of having conversations with children even as young as 13 months is amazing! They are little sponges with amazing learning potential. It’s so fun to watch them learn and explore at this age!

  8. togetherishmom

    This really rings so true for me, and I loved reading the way that you put it. Giving my kids my attention, presence, and the time it takes to truly answer their questions is a gift. <#

    • jessicacmckenna

      You are so right! Even on the toughest of days, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my daughter. Not the “big events” or “photo moments” but these little moments right here. It’s so special to hear her thoughts and feelings come through when it’s just the two of us. Love it.

  9. Kaila

    Yes!!! I say this all the time. Talk to your kids (and hope they listen). And yes – no one know your kid better than you – you are the expert if only in that one thing in life.

    • jessicacmckenna

      YES! I love this so much. Thanks so much, Kaila!

  10. Mandy @ The Joyful Peach

    This was beautiful!!! I never thought that doing something like laundry could be a magical bonding experience if I let it be!

    • jessicacmckenna

      Thanks so much, Mandy!! Simplicity can be so powerful!

  11. MomLifeOptimized

    This was so encouraging and inspiring!! Thank you!

    • jessicacmckenna

      Oh I’m so glad to hear this!


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