There is no simple formula to make parenting easier, as every family is different and has different needs. However, we can at least try to ask our parents, the community, and other experts about WHAT has worked for them. Perhaps, if we combine all their knowledge, we can come up with a good plan that may make parenting a little bit easier. At the end, we will know if we are successful when we see our kids well behaved, confident, and as good individuals in general. That’s the point, at least trying does not hurt, and we can make a positive difference in these little people. Here is a summary of the things that I have heard from my grandparents, parents, teachers and friends:
Be patient – By all means, try to be patient at all times, as my mother reminds me all the time. How? Just remember that our kids do not know any better way sometimes, and we have to guide them the right way. Sometimes, they just need someone to go down to their height and ask simply what is wrong or bothering them. I have discovered that whenever I react patiently and try to ask calmly about their issues, my kids usually calm down and feel better when listened. Sometimes, taking a deep breath to calm down would help a lot before addressing any issues.
Be Creative – Yes, my dad used to tell me that there is usually a quick solution to most problems encountered when trying to raise children. Also, it is just a good practice in general to have a fun “journey” when raising your child and it can make it easier. For example, if the routine is driving you crazy, just break it by doing something fun for everyone. If the child does not stop crying, come up with a quick distraction (make a funny sound, point a toy, etc.) to break the crying. If everything is going wrong that day, just stop and try to laugh at the moment. I remember that last Friday, my daughter came up with an idea to make of our evening a “popcorn pajama party” for us and it worked quite well. Right in the evening, we all dressed up on our pajamas, prepared popcorn and watched a movie. This was probably one of the most fun nights because I listened to my daughter.
Be a good listener and pay attention to details – This is one of the most important points that my grandmother used to teach all the time, and I now understand the reasons behind it. Whenever I listen carefully to my children, I have a clear understanding of what they are trying to communicate. This may sound very logical, but in today’s world, it is getting harder and harder to really listen and pay quality attention to our kids because of time limitations. When we listen to our children, we are creating a better relationship because we make them feel special just by it. When we listen, we can become friends with them and identify how they are “really” doing at school and with the world. When we listen and pay attention to the details, we can prevent serious issues even from arising (such as bullying, low self-esteem, etc.).
Be loving – This is a point that my mom has always tried to teach me. What do I mean? Give them a hug and a kiss for NO reason. Tell them you love them often. And tell them how important they are for you. All these actions should be done without any specific reason, but the act of showing your love towards them just because of it.
Pay attention to their health – My dad used to say, a healthy family is a happy family. I usually give my kids an homeopathic medicine at the first signs of a cold and give multivitamins daily. Also, I try my best to provide healthy meals rich in fruit, vegetables, moderate protein, and nutrients.
Stay Active – Have you noticed that just going to a park makes everyone happier? A simple run or fun exercise game makes a difference in improving moods according to many journals. The weather is too cold or just not good to go out? Try dancing a mix of YouTube Shakira music mix and all of you will feel like having a party.
Follow a good schedule – Many friends advised me on this one before having a kid, and it really has made a big difference in everyone’s life. Remember, you are in charge of molding your kids when they are too little, and later you can accommodate yourself more to their schedule as well. What do I mean? Try to search for sample mom and kids schedule or/and set your own meal and activity schedule. Try to follow it the best you can, as kids like habits.
Be flexible – This advice I get from my husband all the time, and he is so right. While, we may think that we have the best routine or schedule for our kids, things may not work or go as easy for some reason. That is when we should be flexible and adjust to whatever works at that moment. For example, I have tried to set a nap schedule for my one year old son just like I did with my daughter when she was little, but it has not worked that way at all. It looks like he has his own agenda for naps, so I had to adjust and try different things to set a nap schedule or just bypass it if necessary.
Try to be organized – This advice comes from my sister, and her advice came very handy when I needed it the most. Besides having a schedule for meals and activities, try to stay organized with your life, so you set a good standard for your kids. For example, try to keep the house clean, coordinate meals, and run errands timely. It may sound complicated, but it is really simple. Also, you may need to add some time for yourself without the kids and some time for a date with your hubby. Everything could be manageable if you believe it and ask for help when needed.
Be optimistic or enjoy the present, time goes too fast – As my grandma once told me, enjoy the present the best you can and make the best of it. What she meant is that time has to run its course and you might as well enjoy it. For example, how many of us are thinking about calling someone or thinking about our weekend plans while playing with our kids? Perhaps we may be focusing too much on our hectic lives and miss the magic of the present time with your kids. My grandma also highlighted the importance of doing your best you can with anything you may be doing, as things always have a way of working out. I still remember my first time baking butter cookies with my little daughter and preparing all the ingredients together to start our baking job. Just listening to her asking about why to use eggs, sugar and flour was super cute. It was even cuter seeing her little hands trying to knead the flour. We try our best to prepare and bake them well, but we had a blast while doing it. The result was some pretty decent cookies baked by the most fun and amazing daughter life could have given me!
Here is a link that you may enjoy:
Spanish version will be posted tomorrow. La versión en español estará disponible mañana.