Here’s a list of 10 tried and true tips to being a good parent:
It may not fit your lifestyle if you are used to being more spontaneous and flying by the seat of your pants before you had kids, however it is the number one way to having happier kids. Doing more or less the same things at more or less the same time of day every day will make your children better sleepers, better eaters and better behaved.
2. Eat dinner together as a family
There is study after study about how eating dinner together as a family insulates your children from many societal ills. Be sure to use the “no devices at the table” rule or you won’t benefit from the time together. But this one simple thing will set your child up for life!
The best thing I ever heard as a parent is, “breathe in for a count of 5, breathe out for a count of 5”. Not only does it calm you down, but it is a great model to help your children calm down.
4. Rotate your children’s toys
When your children have fewer toys to play with, they are more engaged and more focused. Clean up is much, much easier and when they are bored with their toys, the ones in storage will feel like new! Get some good storage bins (or even plastic bags) and put about half of your kid’s toys away in the garage or a closet.
5. Don’t force your kids to eat
Take all the stress away from food and eating and your children will be better and healthier eaters. Provide them with three healthy meals a day with fruit for snack in-between meals and as long as there is at least one thing on the plate that they will eat, let them decide how much food they want. It’s OK if they decide not to eat, or just eat the one thing that they are familiar with. Have them take one bite of the new food even if it is a tiny bite. It takes 20 times of trying most foods before children will eat it.
6. Carve out a little time for yourself
If you are burnt out, you won’t be much support for your children. Taking some time for yourself doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a good parent. Whether it is a 5 minute walk around the block, a little meditation in the morning, or watching your favorite show while they are sleeping- just do it!
7. Teach your children problem solving skills
If your children can solve their own problems, then your life will be much easier and your children will have more success in life. Start by identifying the problem (you both want the same toy) and then help them come up with solutions. The more creative, the better!
8. Get outside every single day (even and especially on the worst of days)
One of my favorite quotes is “Nature is cheaper than therapy.” Getting outside is something you can do with or without your children. When you go outside for even a short time, your whole look on life will improve. If you have even more time to get a walk around the block or a get out into nature, your outlook on life will increase ten-fold. And if the weather is super rainy, cold, hot or just uncomfortable, then coming back home will be that much more enjoyable.
9. Get down on the floor (when times are good and when times are bad)
Getting down on the floor does many things:
- It changes your perspective so that you see things from your kids point of view
- It moves your body in ways that you aren’t used to and puts you into a mood to have fun
- If tempers are flaring, it lowers the anxiety level of your children (Seriously. Try this- they immediately calm down)
- It puts you on the same level as your child which increases connection and decreases power imbalance
10. Give your kiddos a hug every single day
This one is a no-brainer, but somehow I still seem to forget!