Carrie Lupoli may have a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, a Masters of Art in Special Education, and a Masters of Education in School Administration and Leadership, but all this does not, she says, make her a parenting expert. “I was talking to my husband, and I was telling him that I was gonna meet with some mommy bloggers, and I was gonna share my worst parenting moment, and so I said, ‘What do you think it should be?’ He says, ‘There's just so many! I don't think I can name them all!’” she says, laughing.

With two daughters of her own, the founder of Live and Learn in Singapore and “Chief Mum” for Mattel Fisher-Price knows firsthand just how challenging raising children could be, but like many amazing moms out there, she instinctively does a spectacular job of it. In fact, we couldn’t help but recite something she told one of her daughters when they were just moving into their new home.

“One day you're going to take a box, filled with all the things I've taught you, and thought about for you, and modeled for you, and you're going to go off on your own, you're going to unpack that box, and you're going to use all the things I’ve taught you,” says Carrie. “Some of the things I've taught you will be really awful and you can be unpacking those things in your box or they could be really wonderful and I'm going to try to give you all the wonderful things that you need to be successful in life.”

Here, several lessons parents could take from Carrie’s box:

1. Begin with the end in mind.
Whenever you conduct a meeting or a workshop, don't you always have a goal you mean to achieve? Why not do the same for your kids? Having an end goal can drastically change the way you raise them. “Our end goal, I think, is actually all the same,” says Carrie. “Our goal is for our kids not to actually need us, right? [Our] goal is to be a parent so that eventually one day, they can live an independent life as successfully and as positively and as happily as possible.”

“When we parent with that goal in mind, I think we have a much better way to make good decisions for our kids, and keep asking ourselves, is what we're doing actually going to lead me closer to my goal?”

2. The first five years are the most important.
“The brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth,” says Carrie. It eventually stabilizes when the kids turn six, but until then, parents would do well to teach their children as much as they can.

3. The kids already know what to do.
Learning through play is an effective way to teach children how to handle difficult situations and sort their feelings. However, Carrie says, “The kids lead us and guide us, our children, our little ones, they're playing on the floor, they can make a fun time out of this table or they can have a really fun time with the toys. They know what to do. I think Play IQ has a lot to do about us figuring out what we need to do and what's best.”

4. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have different ways of playing.
Infants may be less than a year old, but they still have ways of playing and learning. For them, listening to your voice, studying your facial expressions, and cuddling together is fun. Toddlers, on the other hand, are natural born explorers. They love playing pretend and they learn from repetition. Preschoolers have more time for imagination and discovery.

5. IQ is not a predictor of success in life.
“I think we have really high expectations of our kids, and we want to do what's best for them, but we think that them doing really, really well in school, for example, will be the key to their being successful, so if we just do what they do in school earlier, then we'll be all set. And then our kids will be set up for success,” says Carrie. However, IQ is not a predictor of success. Parents should focus more on honing their kids’ social emotional understanding, especially since the number one predictor of success later in life is grit. The other six include: optimism, gratitude, curiosity, self-control, social intelligence, and zest.

(Photos courtesy of Fisher-Price)



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