My husband started reading the books out loud to him at bedtime when he was 5 or 6. I wasn’t into it–Daddy time meant free time for me. But I got hooked toward the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone. Since then we’ve read them all out loud and seen all the movies.
So I experienced the Harry Potter series as a grown up–if you can call a person with their own wooden wand and dress robes “grown up.” The books are wonderful. They have become a delightful part of our family culture and I’ve learned a thing or two about parenting from the series.
Read below for 20 parenting insights I learned from Harry Potter. (Some Spoilers!)
1. Choose good friends. Make sure your kids have good friends. I hate to think what could have happened if Harry had fallen in with a different lot.
2. Make back to school a big deal. With the shops and fun of Diagon Alley to look forward to, who wouldn’t be excited to go back-to-school shopping in the fall?
3. Family is most important. Even if they are as horrible as the Dursleys and you don’t understand–Dumbledore sent you there for a reason. Even the Mafloys found some redemption by keeping their family together.
4. Embrace their quirks. Celebrate, encourage, embrace, and love the quirkiest of their quirks. No one knows this better than the Lovegoods and even Seamus Finnigan’s penchant for fireworks comes in handy in the end.
5. Make them feel like there’s no place like home. My goal is to make my home feel as warm and cozy as The Burrow. It doesn’t take a lot of money–The Weasleys aren’t rich!
6. Warn them about evil in case they encounter if face to face. You have to prepare them. You don’t do them any favors pretending you-know-who isn’t real.
7. Make sure they respect their teachers. You might encounter 1 or 2 bad ones, but most teachers are pulling for your children and can serve as remarkable mentors–Especially against dementors.
8. Go all out for Christmas. Wizards live life and decorate for Christmas with gusto.
9. Encourage your kids to do what they love. Fred and George left Hogwarts to start Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. It was a great success.
10. Do not dabble in the dark arts. PERIOD.
11. Love your children’s friends. Hug them, cook for them, help them shop, give them Christmas presents and good advice. Obliterate any nasty death eaters who lay a hand on them–also knit them sweaters.
12. Some kids are just late bloomers. Remember that, and don’t despair of big ears and crooked teeth.
13. Encourage them to read and do their homework. Knowing things really does come in handy some times–Could even save the world!
14. Treat all living things with kindness and respect. “Dobby is happy to be with his friend. . . Harry Potter.” Giant tear.
15. Sometimes we sort too soon. Dumbledore was right–Sometimes we sort too soon. With a little insight into a person we might think differently about them and, even, name our son after him.
16. The protective power of mother love. The sacrifice and love of your mother can keep you safe for at least 17 years. That’s big mojo. Don’t mess with it.
17. Help will always come to those who deserve it. Maybe life isn’t always fair, but goodness will prevail. Yes. I believe that. So does Godric Gryffindor.
18. Try hard. Try, try, keep trying, even if you’re small or young. Try until it’s over.
19. Be friends first. Like Ron and Hermione. See what happens from there.
20. Marry your equal. It’s OK if she can beat you at quidditch.
Photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News