Let’s be honest, parenting can be hectic. There is a lot that goes into managing a family and it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day chaos. It can be helpful to step back sometimes and think about the big picture so that you feel intentional in your parenting actions: • It all starts with you – The best parenting advice I’ve ever heard (and I’m a child psychologist, so I’ve heard a lot) is to be the person you want your kids to be. This doesn’t mean be a doctor so your kids become a doctor. What I mean, is be honest, compassionate and hard-working if those are the values you want to pass on to your children. Show integrity. Put your phone down and connect face-to-face. Your kids are watching you and the example you set is so influential. • Think about long term goals- Almost everyone agrees that they want to raise their child to be a healthy and productive adult. Yet some of our day to day decisions made out of convenience or guilt do not steer our kids in that direction. Give them chores, hold them accountable for their behavior and pay attention to their emotional development. No one wants to hang out with an entitled adult, so set limits with your kids. • Make choices aligned with your values – This builds on the last two suggestions. Sit down with your spouse or co-parent and think about the values you want to pass on to your children. Are you currently making choices that are aligned with those values? If spending time with family is a value, but you are a workaholic then you are not living out that value. Kids do not need every material thing their friends have and they do not need over-the-top experiences. A camping vacation will create as much bonding and family memories as a European vacation. A regular bike ride with mom and dad is more valuable than the most expensive gaming system. It’s possible you could work less to give your kids more time and energy (and less stuff). In no way is this intended as a guilt trip for working parents, you can create balance and family time while also working. Having kids is a lot of work. At the same time, it is one of the most meaningful experiences for many people. The media might tell us we need to be wealthy or famous to be happy, but science tells us that what we actually need to be happy is meaningful relationships. So, develop the values in your child that will lead them to be the adults you’d want to hang out with!