Here are our 10 tips to become a better parent, some may or may not be relevant to you. You should, however, be patient with the tips, as parents, we all have room for improvement.
1. Care for yourself
As a parent, your job is to care for your child no matter what but along the line, we forget to look after and care for ourselves, accept peoples help if they want to babysit, put yourself first for once. You might be thinking that having a break is wrong and that thinking of yourself is selfish but it is selfish for you to not be your best self for your kids. Most of us do not get enough sleep and sleep is really important for our health. You can still do everything you wanted, you can still follow your dreams and they can still come true. Pursuing your passion is a huge part of caring for yourself.
2. Put your phone down
I see too many little ones being ignored, not necessarily on purpose but, if I’m out on a bus I notice toddlers in a buggy and their mums and dads aren’t interacting with them, they’re not teaching them any good social skills. The child starts to cry they’re given technology because they think that’s the only way to entertain nowadays. At home, when I’m bored and don’t have anything that needs majorly doing, I let the kids play and go on my phone “GUILTY” I should be down on the floor with them, I can go on my phone once they’re asleep and so should you!
Before we know it they’re grown up with their own babies and we want to give them the best start in life, staring at our phones does not do that.
Don’t feel too bad, we all spend way too much time on our phones, most of the world is guilty of it. But sure, you are free to do what you want to do. After all, it is your mind and body. However, if you have young kids, being on your phone a lot around them is likely to affect their development. The type of developments that it can affect include:
Educational and emotional development
Children need quite a lot from you as a parent as well as their nutrition and water. Whether you like it or not, they need a lot of your attention, more specifically your time. They rely upon you to develop them, teach them new things and are lead by example. If they see you on your phone all day, what do you think this teaches them? I will tell you. It could make them think “my mum or dad cares more about their phone than me or they don’t want to talk to me, or perhaps I wish I had a phone so I could go on it all of the time.”
This obviously is harmful to them as it could lead to low self-esteem, they will also become to think that being on your phone all of the time is normal or even healthy. This is because kids look up to their parents as a role model, so if you want to develop intelligent children who are very successful later on in life, you should probably put the phone down, end your social media procrastination habits’ and prioritize by focussing on what is actually important.
Children need a lot of love and this doesn’t mean just cuddles, and telling them that you love them. Those are just the basics and they need much more. Other forms of love can actually be just giving them your attention, listening to their day at school. In general, just showing interest in them and bonding over some board games or activities.
3. Give them your time
Children as we know, take up a lot of our attention, but if your a busy parent like me (working from home, housework, raising 2 under 4) it’s not easy to give them your complete undivided attention! Before bed, every night, wipe the slate clean. No matter how much bad has happened, no matter how tired you are, kiss and cuddle them good night. Putting your little darlings to bed in a horrible way will cause them to have nightmares, sleep disturbances and overall unhappy children.
Reading to little ones is proven to develop them, grow their minds, creating new folders so read to them as and when you can in the time you have spare from your busy life. Sit on the floor with their toys, pretend to be a customer at their role play shop, dress up as a princess! They love it when parents are involved! You don’t have to give them your whole time in the day just a short few bouts of attention/affection and love! The more time spent with them the better so put down those dishes, the washing basket, it can wait!
4. Plan activities and days out
I am bad at this, every morning I wake up the same way, thinking what on earth am I going to do with them. (especially in the holidays with no nursery.) I like to try my best and go out with them at least 2-3 days out. Out as in swimming, visiting the beach, going to the local park, meeting grandparents or going to soft-play.
It’s hard getting out with 2 under 4 it really is and I dread it every time! But its not so bad seeing the smiles on their faces! Plan fun things to do as a family such as the cinema, bowling, golf, meals out, etc. You create a new adventure for all, everyone tired when they get home and ready for bed it is perfect! The longer you stay out with them the better, you may even have a bonus lay in the next day.
Activities in the home are good to plan for wet, cold, or low money days. My favourite things are baking, painting, building blocks, cornflour, indoor picnic. So grab a pen and paper, when they’ve gone to bed and plan some fun things to do with them! Before you know it they won’t want to be with you they’ll be hanging around with their ‘cool’ friends.
5. Go to baby groups
I know, ‘ugh not those snobby baby groups’ but they really aren’t that bad and I seriously regret not doing them enough! Plenty of people have met mummy/daddy friends for life. Having anxiety caused me not to be confident enough to attend most of the mummy groups.
My babies both missed out on tons of activities because of me, but I shouldn’t have been so selfish. I should have just dealt with the crippling fear of other mothers judging my every move and just go! It really isn’t the worst thing in the world. I have attended 4, and every time I have gone, my children have loved them and I wish I went to others but now they’re at school it’s too late.
Don’t give up! No matter your age, weight, height, job title, we are all parents! We are all going through or have been through the same things like at least one or more other parents in that group, so pack your bags, nappies, bottles and whatever you need to make you the most comfortable and get out there, make new friends. Don’t judge a group by its members. Sit down, have a cuppa and mingle I’m sure if you don’t make a new friend your little one definitely will.
6. Don’t wrap them up in cotton wool
Many children I’ve known have been hidden from the scary things in life. Of course, as a parent, we want to do everything we can to protect our children. But we can’t protect them all of the time. And we can’t protect them if they do not know about the dangers. We must prepare them for their teenage and adult years. So that when we are no longer holding their hand, they can keep themselves safe. Teach them about the danger of strangers.
Teach them not to trust someone offering sweets, especially if they have never seen them in their lives. No parent is perfect, but one thing we can all make sure of is our children’s safety. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Telling them things they might not want to hear, but will in the future help them. Keep up the good work mums and dads you’ll do your children proud!
7. Set some ground rules
Many kids nowadays are so used to eating unhealthy foods and whilst you can’t control every child and parent to get them to stop doing it. You do have control over your own kid and you can put an end to the bad habits to prevent them from entering their adult lives. They may hate you at first for not giving them unhealthy foods but they will love you for it later. Unfortunately, you have to be cruel to be kind.
Try not to spoil them too much, they will get used to it and they will just see you as someone that they can push around to get what they want. Limit your child’s screen time as frankly, it’s not good for them. Even though they probably wont want to, try to get them to be more active.
8. Teach them about the world
The world is a bizarre place and there is a lot that kids have not yet experienced. Teach them about the real stuff. Give them paid chores to help them better understand the concept of money, and some experience of real adult life. Get them into some after school classes. Teach them maths, science, history, and about the things going on such as the homeless. There are so many lessons, open their eyes to what’s going on around them.
9. Give them a structured routine
Even though it may seem like children hate routine, they absolutely need it. Sometimes when children are acting up, it could actually be because of a lack of routine. They like knowing what to expect and desire this type of security. A solid routine structure is very important. Discover how to get your child into a routine.
10. Cuddle them when they cry
When they are crying, it can be easy to get frustrated and shout. Instead, swallow your pride and support them through their emotions. They over feeling overwhelmed and you have the ability to make it all better if you choose too. Even though they are annoying sometimes, they can be your little friend.