Becoming the Best Parent
Wow! You have just become a parent. Now, what do you do? How do you interact with this new little miracle you hold in your arms? Will you know when to feed him/her? How will you know what the different cries mean? Of all the things we do in our lives, most come with an instruction manual. However, children don’t.
Here are the top 10 tips for being the best parent to your child:
Talk to your child
When they are very young, your voice is soothing to them and lets them know that they are protected and loved. As they grow older, they will feel more comfortable talking to you about things that tend to be uncomfortable. When they become teens this is especially important as those years bring on a whole new set of challenges.
Read to your child
Start before they are born, and continue until they are no longer a resident in your home. Why so long? This builds a bond and time for both of you to let your hair down and dream together. Fantasy is where you allow yourself to escape into another world. Even older children like to still feel like a kid from time to time. Some of the most memorable moments of their childhood will be of the memories you make together. Why not make them positive ones?!
Let your children talk to you
Of course, at first all they will do is cry or coo, but this will eventually turn into words. Be sure you don’t shut them out or make them think that their opinion doesn’t matter. This crushes them and makes them think that they don’t matter in your world. By allowing them to express themselves by sharing their thoughts with you, they don’t have to act out to get your attention. This can save much heartache down the road in the teen years and beyond if they feel they have somewhere to turn to when they need to be heard.
Set boundaries and rules
The most important part of this is to not cave when they look up at you with those big baby blues and say please. Rules and boundaries follow us throughout our lives and the sooner children realize rules are to be followed not broken, their lives will become much easier down the road. Be sure these rules, however, are realistic and can be easily followed for the age that they are. Rules need to continue to enter the household as their age progresses. They can be more responsible for their actions as they grow. This will not only help them in their home life but in their school life as well.
Share quality time with your child
What is quality time? Is it five minutes of talking, five minutes of reading, and five minutes of rule setting? No. It means that when you are with your child make them feel special. Set aside some time from your busy schedule that they know is theirs and theirs alone. This is time for playing together, going for a walk together, or just hanging out together talking about the day… laughing, crying, and making memories.
Having a way to lay your child on the floor where you can get down to their level is a great way to interact with them. Squishy Mats provide a safe and comfortable place for your child to play. Aside from your child playing on it, it also makes it comfortable for parents to be on the floor with them.
Squishy Mats are exactly like their name… squishy! Using the Squishy Mat gives parents a way to be comfortable with the child which ties in comfort, security, as well as safety. The interaction between parents and child is so very important when you have little ones. Having one on one attention from mom and dad gives children the security they need to help build their emotional foundation in life!
Love, love, love them
We have all heard the commercial for Puppy Chow that says that puppies need “love, love, and Puppy Chow…” Well, your children need love more than any puppy ever would. Make a lasting bond with them. Include them in everything you can in your life. It is when you leave your children with the sitter that they begin to feel like “so-and-so” is mommy or daddy instead of you. It can be heartbreaking to hear your child calling someone else “mommy,” because they are with them more than they are with you. This is not to say don’t work or do what you have to do to provide for your family, but always keep your priorities straight, and realize time with your child will not come again. Absorb as much of it as you can, while you can.
Decide on a religion and introduce it at an early age
This is very important to the balance of your child emotionally. To believe in something grander than them helps them find their way in the world when they think there is no one else that will listen to them. They will be able to turn to their faith and draw strength from that. Don’t only introduce this to them and not practice the faith yourself. Become involved yourself to teach your child that being a part of something is important, and giving of yourself should not be taken lightly. It is an honor to help your fellow man through life, as someday someone will also give help in return.
Teach charity, honesty, and leadership by example
Teach your child to be a doer and not a follower. This is the number one way to help them succeed in anything they set their mind to. The best way to do this is to lead and do by example. If you say to do something, be sure you can or have done the thing first. Just barking orders on how someone should live is one thing, but living life before your children will do much more toward creating morals than dictating them. It shows that higher standards can be met because you are meeting them and proving that it can be done. Be honest with each other and with others around you. Take the rougher road when you know it will lead to a better outcome instead of the easy way to just get it done. Charity was covered in number seven but bears repeating. If we aren’t here to help each other, and love each other, then why are we here?
Teach financial balance to your children
Most people send their children to school hoping that the school system will teach their children about finances and money. That’s what it’s there for, right? Wrong. It is there to give basic mathematic skills, and that is about it. Teaching children how money really works is up to the parents. When a child gets old enough to leave home, they should have a good knowledge of how to budget, how to save for their future, and how to live within their means without going into debt more than they are capable of handling.
Teach your children about relationships and how to have proper etiquette in public
This doesn’t necessarily mean speak only when spoken to, but more how to respect other people. Children want to not be thought of as the “brat” or the “bad kid” in the family. If there is a lack of manners this will be how they are branded. However, it must start at a young age so the etiquette doesn’t seem like something foreign they are learning. If you wait until they are older to begin teaching this, it will be like teaching them a new language… difficult! And frustrating to both you and the child.
With a good support system, good morals, leadership skills, financial knowledge, kindness, and politeness your child may think you are an “old fogey” but they will go into the world a better-balanced human being for your efforts. The bond and memories will last forever because they will tell their children of the experiences and memories they made with you when they were a child.