Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not Parenting 101

Based off of Jill's post the other day, I thought it would be fun to share some things that I have learned about being a parent. I am not an expert. Trust me. I am definitely not one of those moms who is handing out advice left and right, because I do not feel like that is my place. *See the tip below for dealing with people like this. This is just a little list of things that have helped me and I hope that they can help you...

#1-If you need your house to be messy, let it be messy. Trying to clean with kids is the equivalent of shoveling snow while it is still snowing. Pointless. I am not telling you not to pick up throughout the day but wait until your kids are in bed before you do any major cleaning. I don't know about you, but I would rather play with my kids for fifteen extra minutes then do a sink full of dirty dishes while they hang on my leg the entire time screaming for attention.

#2- Be quick to apologize. I overreact sometimes, like really overreact. One of my kids may spill something and I yell at them (as if they intentionally did it to make me angry). I use times like these to show my kids that even mommy makes mistakes. I tell them that I love them and I am sorry that I treated them in a bad way. This teaches kids that it is okay to make mistakes and how to handle them, when they do.

#3- Give kids choices. For as many things as I can (when time isn't urgent) I like to give my kids choices. It may be silly things like the shirt they want to wear or more important decisions like the main course for lunch. I want them to realize at an early age that they have a say in life. That they can think for themselves.

#4-Don't buy that toy for your kid. Seriously. Put it back on the shelf. I can not tell you how many toys my kids have (thankfully, mostly purchased by other people). The majority of them they don't even play with. What I have done with my kids is I will buy them things we can do together. Sometimes I buy them stuff to make cookies, markers, glitter, glue, paper, and things we can use to create. They enjoy the time together and it becomes a very special, memorable time.

#5-Sometimes it is perfectly acceptable to eat dessert first or throw a party or theme day for no reason. Kids have crazy imaginations and some days they may need to dress as a pirate or princess and eat cupcakes before dinner.

#6-One of the best pieces of advice I got was from my pediatrician. I was really stressed out because I couldn't get my son to eat anything. When my son was a baby he ate anything and everything, so this was extremely frustrating. My pediatrician said, "Give the kid a multivitamin. When he wants to eat, he will eat." I can't tell you how huge that was for me! Trust me, I want my kids to be healthy eaters but I believe it will work itself out. Food fights are not a battle we choose to have in our house anymore. Plus, I sneak spinach into my kids' smoothies :)

#7-So what about those rude people who feel like it is necessary to give unwanted parenting advice? I found that it is helpful to politely say, "Oh my goodness, I didn't realize I was holding your child, I thought this was my kid." It gets the point across quickly! I don't feel like this is the right answer for everyone, but these are for those especially trying people.

#8-Milestones. As we parent, we look to the next step in our child's development and tend to push them towards it. With my second child, I realized I needed to embrace her development and not compare her to other children her age. Each child is so unique and has their own path. Just as we shouldn't compare ourselves to other people, we should not do that with our children.

#9- Develop traditions. Traditions are an awesome way to set expectations with your kid. One of my favorite traditions is our bedtime routine with our son. We read "I'll Love You Forever" every night (which if you don't have that book, you must buy it). After we read, I ask Moses what he wants to say thank you to Jesus for. He always gives one ridiculously silly response and one deep one. It shows me what he values and cares for.

#10-Teaching my kids is important but it is more important to me that they know how to play. I use to get frustrated because my son couldn't remember colors. It seemed like the more we talked about them, the more he forgot what they were. One day, I realized that at some point and time in life he will learn what color is green. It really isn't that big of a deal. Now as we are building blocks he excitedly screams out the colors and I laugh about all the times that I got frustrated.

What are some parenting tips that you practice or have been valuable to you and your family?

1 comment:

  1. GREAT GREAT POST JOSIE! I needed to read so many of these things!