A Graphic Reminder to Be Kind to My Child


It’s not often that my professional work inspires me to be a better parent – if, in fact, it ever has. That changed while working on a recent design project. The assignment was to turn a popular blog post — “100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child” — into a poster.

The article had been made into a poster before, but the author was looking for something more than just a pretty list. The goal was to capture (and keep) the viewer’s attention, not overwhelm them with the onslaught of text, and still give equal attention to all 100 Ways. Not an easy task, but one I was excited to take on.

After presenting some concepts in sketch form, an infographic style was chosen. I went through my normal routines of choosing a color palette, gathering a family of fonts, brainstorming and sketching icons to accompany the sections the text was grouped into. The job ended up spanning several months, so I was able to give this intricate word puzzle the attention it warranted. I found that as I revisited the layout to add another icon, make a text edit, or rearrange elements to improve the flow, the words began to have their desired effect. My design was inspiring and reminding me how to be kind to my child.

Being kind to your child may sound like the most basic of parenting tenets. Yet any honest parent will tell you that stress, frustration, fear of failure, and innumerable uncontrollable circumstances can take a toll on our emotions and render us impatient, angry, and yes, unkind.

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Here are a few of the 100 Ways that resonated most with me:

#11. Share the story of their birth or adoption.
As one of the two people who love and care for him the most, I’ll be telling Jon his story his whole life. Telling him, even though – and because – it’s not an easy one to tell.

#22. Play hopscotch.
Every afternoon at preschool pick up, Jon and I exit through the playground. It’s been a struggle at times to keep him from sneaking a few moments on the slide before heading to the car — a struggle I’ve often lost, setting a miserable tone for the ride home, sometimes spilling over into the rest of the evening. But one day he asked to do hopscotch, as there’s one painted onto the asphalt on our short path to the car. I obliged, and he hopped his wobbly, not-quite-perfect hop from one big kid-sized square to the next. He got to the end, spun around and yelled, “Now you, Daddy!” I powered through the course with the grace of a wooly mammoth, yet visibly impressing my son. And it has become tradition ever since — a last drop of fun squeezed from the day before heading home to the mundanity of nighttime routine.

#33. Pretend that you are explorers in the amazing world of your own backyard.
Jon is always ready to play some form of make-believe. This is awesome, in theory. It’s why we bought a house with a big backyard. It’s why I indoctrinated him in all things superhero. Yet it’s so often a struggle to get off my tired, aging ass and actually go be engaged. To enter his domain, spar and frolic and be epic in his imagination.

#49. Read when the afternoon is starting to go astray.
An inspiration to think outside the box, and the confines of the bedtime story.

#57. Listen one second longer than you think you have the patience for.
Especially when it’s about Power Rangers. And it’s always about Power Rangers.

#71. Show affection to your spouse.
I’ve never thought of this as being kind to my child. But as I considered it, I realized how it models love and tenderness for Jon. It adds strength to the foundation of our family. And it makes us feel all warm and cuddly.

#75. Take time to walk places together.
The rare moments he’s not running too far ahead are the best moments we share. He feels free and appreciated, I feel close and can still watch over him.

#81. Trust that you are the right parent for your child.
I know many parents have thoughts of “I have no business being a parent!” However, as an adoptive parent, this hits extra close to home.

#91. Let go of how you thought it was going to be.
An excellent reminder. Because it changes/exceeds/falls short of my expectations on a daily hourly basis.

#92. Let go of your need to be right.
I need to have this one tattooed on the back of my hand… or the inside of my eyelids. Not every battle has to be won. Not every thing has to be a battle.

#100 asks you to choose one of your own.

What special ways have you found to be kind to your child? Share them in the comments.

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Please visit Bounceback Parenting to read the full list and more of author Alissa Marquess’ insights on how to be kind to your child. While you’re there, buy a poster – and tell her Designer Daddy sent you!


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