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 life with kids; 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, then turned out the lights and said goodnight. This has been so helpful for both of us because it's helped her feel more comfortable going to bed. 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 challenging, and caring for yourself is very important. One way that I've been trying to do this is by saying no. When my kids ask me for something, I would say yes out of the blue, even if I didn't have time to do whatever request they made. Saying "no" was hard 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 the answer is no if it does not involve spending time with them. If they ask for breakfast cereal before lunchtime, I say no. I say no if they ask if we can watch another show before bedtime. It may be hard at first, but it will help you and your child in the long run.
Isn't That Genius:
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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, 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 focusing on who they are now.
Give them more responsibility.
I'm improving my parenting skills this year by giving my kids more responsibility. I've allowed them to do more for themselves as they age. One of the first areas I started with was having them make their lunches instead of me making them. They seemed to appreciate my 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 parents' skill sets are just as important as the child's skills. To be an effective parent, both mom and dad need to be involved in the process. This can help your child see themselves as competent and competent adults.