It takes a village, or so they say, to raise kids. But what does that even mean. Having a village builds a sense of community within your little network of friends. Parenting can be hard and overwhelming sometimes that you just need some extra help or that added support. Recently, I witnessed a friend of mine receive a tremendous amount of support from her village and I was inspired. Not only to continue to nourish my little village but to encourage parents to find a village of their own. Here are five reasons why it is so important to have your own village….
1) Builds a sense of community
A village gives children the sense that they are part of a team. Children who have a strong sense of community know they belong to something bigger than themselves. A strong sense of community also helps children develop resilience when faced with obstacles in life.
2) Teach kids to respect other adults
Having other parents around and caring for your child will teach your kids to respect other house rules. This teaches understanding and tolerance of different opinions. This is such an important life lesson.
3) Big support system
Parenting is hard! Parents and children can benefit from having a bigger support system. Sometimes you just need a break, a date night, or just some time for self-care. Its so important to have time for yourself and spouse. Having a family you can switch babysitting nights with is a life saver.
Also, when you build relationships with other parents from your village, you gain access to a plethora of important information that is happening in the school and/or community. This was almost a revelation for me. There is always that ONE mom at school that knows everything.
4) Different perspective
There are people in our lives who are just better at some things than others. I am stubborn and independent so having to turn to other people for advice or help is a struggle. I feel almost like a failure, but as much as we like to think, we don’t know everything. Having friends who are in different fields can give an interesting perspective or approach to certain situations. You can gain access to a wider perspective of opinions and attitudes. Maybe offering new ways to deal with a sleepless infant or toddler tantrums. Your kids may also learn new skills and try new activities they normally would not at home.
5) Other people love your kid(s)
Its always a good idea for your kids to learn there are other people in this world other than their parents or immediate family that love them and support them. People who just genuinely enjoy having your kid around.
So how do I find my village?
An easy way to find your own little village is to seek friendship with other parents at the playground, school, after school activities (sports, dance, etc), and your neighbors. Nourish those friendships by organizing a get-together among a small group of parents. You will thank me later.