Ideal parenting tips are GREAT. But, not always practical or helpful. Parenting should not be idealize. Parenting is not an "end game" where we reach perfection at one point. I believe parenting should be a role we look forward to doing each day and one that results in a positive growth for your child and yourself.
Before I continue, I do want to share this important disclaimer when it comes to being a parent. As a parent we need to do internal work before we can really thrive in our parenting life each day. If you have not done deep awareness and discovery work from your own childhood (and ways that it may be impacting the level of satisfaction you feel as a parent to your child), I invite you to seek help to do so. And I'm happy to start that exploration with you.
I would like to share practical parenting tips that will help you understand your child better and make it possible for your mothering day to be one you look forward to each day.
Ask Your Child to Help You Set their Schedule/Routine for Their Day
Hey. I know what you're thinking, believe me. But, if I do that, my child will say I want to eat only blueberries all day, play on the iPad and go the jumping house whenever I want. Or something along those lines.
Children appreciate and feel pride and joy in demonstrating their own capabilities. Allowing your child to help you with setting up a routine gives them that opportunity, gives you the chance to hear what their preferences are and gifts you both a time to put together a routine that works for you and your child.
Pause Before Reacting
You're human. And so part of being human means that there will be times that your level of tolerance will be tested. Your patience may be running low. That's normal.
Take a breath. Go hang out in the bathroom. Lock yourself in your room. Do what it takes (and you know this for yourself better than any suggestion I can give you) to STOP and pause before reacting.
The way we react to our children's emotions plays a big part in how they regulate their emotions as adults. Pausing and taking a full stop for yourself gives you a moment to ground yourself before communicating with your child. Giving you the chance to respond in a constructive and positive way.
Asking can be so much better than telling. Think about it. When you've been in a work environment, does it not land easier to be asked and given options than being told what to do? Most of us would answer YES. It makes us feel valued, considered and important.
Same for your child.
Children can become overwhelmed with too many options (I know many adults that this is also the case), so I recommend to give limited choices and allow your child to be the decision-maker for what comes first through the choices.
Be in the Moment
As a parent, this one right here is the one I remind myself of the most. Logically, I know this: children absolutely live in the moment.
What is happening at the moment is what they are putting their entire focus on. But, adults do not do that. We are focused on what we are doing, while also keeping in mind what we are doing next or later in the day, tomorrow, while also remembering something else we have coming up, while also....listening to something our kid has to say when we are in the middle of an activity.
Depending on the age, it's OK to ask for a second or a minute, but it is important your child knows that what they have to say matters to you. For that moment, take your focus off what you are doing and place the focus on your child, even if it's to say that you need a minute to be able to listen.
Consistently dismissing your child when we are cooking/working from home/checking social media/picking up the house/talking to a friend/etc teaches your child that everything else matters more than they do.
Remember this...parenting is not a end-game. It's something we get to do each day and a role that we get to enjoy. And I hope these tips help you do that.
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