If you're like me, then it's probably been a while since you've thought about how to be a better parent. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of life with kids, and before you know it, they're all grown up! But now that they’re starting to grow up, it's time to get more intentional about your parenting skills. Here are five ways I'm improving my parenting skills this year.
Put down the phone
One of the most important ways I'm improving my parenting skills this year is that I'm putting down my phone. Putting down the phone allowed me to create a routine for Anna at bedtime. We started reading together and then we turn out the lights and say goodnight. This has been so helpful for both of us because it's helped her feel more comfortable with going to bed. Now, when it's time for bed, she runs into her room, grabs a book from one of her shelves and gets in bed excitedly waiting for me to read.
Being a parent is tough work, and it's very important to take care of yourself. One way that I've been trying to do this is by saying no. When my kids are asking me for something, I would say yes out of the blue even if I didn't have time to do whatever request they were making. Saying "no" was hard for me because I never wanted my kids to feel like they weren't loved or cared about. But now, when one of my kids asks for something, I tell them that if it does not involve spending time with them then the answer is no. If they ask for breakfast cereal before lunchtime, I say no. If they ask if we can watch another show before bedtime, I say no. It may be hard at first but it will help both you and your child in the long run.
Stop worrying about your children’s future
One of the best things about being a parent is watching your kids grow up and make their own decisions. It's not really up to you in the end, but you can certainly be influential in their life. One way to do that is by worrying less about what your children will be like ten or twenty years from now and instead focus on who they are now.
Give them more responsibility
One way I'm improving my parenting skills this year is by giving my kids more responsibility. As they've gotten older, I've been allowing them to do more things for themselves. One of the first areas I started with was having them make their own lunches instead of me making them. They seemed to appreciate the independence and responsibility, and it has prevented me from feeling like a short-order cook every day.
Another thing I’ve done is have my kids help clean up after dinner when it's their turn to set the table. They don't always feel like doing it, but at least they're doing something and not just sitting there watching TV or playing on the phone while the dishes pile up.
Make it a family affair
Parenting is a whole family affair. The skillsets of the parents are just as important as the skills of the child. In order to be an effective parent, it's important for both mom and dad to be involved in the process. This can help your child see themselves as competent and competent adults.