Every morning millions of people are greeted by Karla Martinez’ sunny smile when they tune into Univision’s morning show Despierta America. While most of us are waking up, Karla’s already hard at work sharing the latest in news, entertainment and living well. But this professional has made it no secret that family comes first.
This spring, she’s an ambassador of the campaign Champions of Care created by the Johnson & Johnson company that seeks to spotlight people who go to extraordinary lengths to care for people – and encourage people to vote for an inspiring caregiver on CarinoinspiraCarino.com through May 25; the winner will win a trip to this year’s World Cup. She’s partnered with the company to share some of the parenting lessons she’s learned along the way caring for her two little girls.
Her grandmother, who she considers her personal champion of care, also inspires Karla. Her grandmother has made a lasting impression her, and even today she integrates some of the things her grandmother taught her into her relationship with her daughters.
Here are a few of her best tips, in her own words:
- Always make time for children. When children are cared for, loved right and taught well they grow-up to be strong and productive human beings. My grandmother cared for me; she loved me and taught me how to give back to those in need. Making time for your children to teach them well is an important parenting responsibility. These can include simple things like play time, creating a fun art project, taking them out for ice cream, or doing something as simple as baking a dish. I remember cooking with my grandmother and she also taught me how to do piñatas. It’s about quality time. They will remember the simple, but caring things you did with them.
- You lead the way. You are the leader as the parent, and what you do matter. Children want to look up to someone, and they are watching you. Your words and actions are shaping them. I looked up to my grandmother; all she did for others, like feed and clothe the needy, which really impacted me. She taught me that caring for others is a privilege. I know my daughters are learning through my actions.
- Loving them is priceless. You don’t have to worry about giving too much love to children because an abundance of this is exactly what kids need. To raise kids with high self-esteem you must not shy away from showing them love with affection and positive words every day! So as a parent, I want to give love to my family, just as I received as a child. I want my girls to know how amazing they are, how much I love them and believe in them.
- Create a happy family environment. As a mother, I know that a simple smile and huge hugs everyday to my daughters and husband can go a long way. I want to provide a secure and happy place for my children. I want parents to know that materials things are not what will shape a happy family environment – it’s the security and affection that you giveback that will create happiness. Don’t worry about the small things, focus on the caring gestures, thoughtful words, and kind actions that you can give to your family.
- Accept them for who they are. My grandmother says that every minute in life is a gift. So I know that life is precious, and I want my daughters to experience greatness in life. I want them to be who they are supposed to – I support them and will continue to do so everyday. I encourage them to be the best at what interest them, to try new things and always focus on their studies. They know that I respect and admire them and I know they do the same to me.
- Create justice and rules. As a mom, making the rules and sticking to them can be quite a challenge. Focus on making the rules simple and reasonable. Being consistent with your rules and consequences will form good disciplined children, who will grow-up to have good character. This leads me to patience…a virtue.
- Be patient, because it’s really a virtue. It’s difficult, but not impossible. My grandmother has [a lot of patience,] I wish I could be more like her. The key here is not be negative, don’t show your frustrations by yelling at your kids. They are just kids, they are naturally happy and energetic. Let them be kids. Sometimes they are just bored and just need a brief change in their environment so take them out to the backyard, or for a walk to the park or put on some music and join in on the fun! Counting to 10 really helps too, and suddenly the situation looks better.