Appreciate yourself, your family and your children. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day life that sometimes we forget to stop and let the ones we love know how much we appreciate them. Not only that we forget to appreciate ourselves. If we cannot appreciate ourselves we will always have a hard time focusing in a positive manner. I find myself slipping and getting into that “I am just a mom” role and that puts me in a downward spiral sometimes, not allowing me to be my true positive self. Then everything else spirals with it and no appreciation is shown just frustration and that feeling of being constantly overwhelmed.
Balance is hard. What does it even mean? I used to be able to figure it all out and manage everything smoothly but that was after just the first child. Now having three I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. I think as working parents or even if you stay home finding that balance between working, household duties and spending time with your family is tough. I know I am guilty of balancing my life equally but when you can sit down and try to find that balance your mental health will be better as will your families. Find a way to do what you need to do at home earlier in the day that way you can go about your day whether it’s working or school or errands that way you can spend the evening stress free with your children and family.
Celebrate little victories.
As adults we tend to expect so much from ourselves and the ones we love. It’s natural to want your children to accomplish all of the things and they will but remember they will accomplish things at their own pace, no matter the age. To us the little accomplishments don’t really mean much because we tend to expect more from ourselves. But our children everything they do should be celebrated. I am super guilty of brushing things off “oh yeah that is cool good job” when to them hearing how great of a job they did is uplifting to them. If we want them to accomplish the huge things in life, we need to lift them and cheer them on throughout the small victories as well. A great job can go a very long way to a child or even a teenager.
Don’t go to bed upset.
Trust me. I get it. Sometimes we argue with our children even if it’s small and petty to them it may be a lot more. They may have skipped school, talked back, done something really dumb or even something really bad. It doesn’t matter what they do because at the end of the day we are still their parents and showing them love especially before bed is important. Think about before we go to work. We are in a great mood and then someone says something that upsets us, that’s all we think about for the rest of the day! It is the same thing as before bed. If we argue or get upset with someone in our family talk about it before bed and clear the air. That way when they go to bed even though the arguement or talk is on their minds, they feel more at ease and will likely wake up happy.
Every child is different.
Let me say it louder for those in the back. EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. Stop comparing. Stop assuming and STOP thinking your child should be or act a certain way because someone else’s child does differently. Every individual is different we all have flaws and we all have a lot of positive things about us as well. We need to accept our children and the other children in our lives for who they are and love them all the same because if we compare and expect things we shouldn’t we will only make them feel bad about themselves. Value every quality your child has and be happy they are all different and help them grow into who they are supposed to be no matter what.
We all make mistakes. Every single one of us. We expect everyone to forgive us for whatever we did wrong but yet we cannot forgive others even though we expect differently. We must forgive our children for the mistakes no matter how big or small in order for them to grow and learn. How can anyone learn without making mistakes? Forgiveness is only part of the process. Not only should we forgive our children we must forgive each other when we are around our children. We argue and we fight and to us it may not seem like much but to our children they hold onto that and without showing forgiveness within each other our children won’t think it’s part of the process. I feel like if we fight our children are gathering the information and storing it and when we forgive each other and love each other afterward, they gather that information as well. Then they connect “mistakes lead to forgiveness” vs “mistakes lead to anger” set that example of forgiveness because our little people are absorbing it all.
Give giant hugs.
Who doesn’t love a good hug. I know that I do. Even when I do not want one sometimes I NEED one. I will be in a sour mood and I’ll find my husband approaching me saying that I need a hug and even though I say I am fine, that hug is everything. Think about what a hug can do for a child even if they may not think they need one. I am not saying force a hug because we should always respect our children’s privacy and wishes, but suggest. “It seems like you had a rough day would you like a hug?” their answer may surprise you and even if they say no, they may come around later and say yeah. You know what. I think I do need a hug. MAKE IT THE BEST HUG EVER and leave that impact of love. You don’t even need to talk just show your love for them and leave them with it.
Help them when they need it.
I know that I am guilty of brushing off the kiddos and I think we are all guilty of it from time to time. But I have noticed the older they get the more help they need. Their need for help changes throughout the years from being an infant and you need to help them do everything since they cannot. Then as they become toddlers they are doing more but needing help differently. Then they start to need help with tying shoes, helping with homework and helping with real life problems. Remember it doesn’t matter what stage of life they are in, they will always need you and you should always help them because deep down you know that you need them too. So help each other.
This is something that I am really working on personally as a parent which is including my children more in what I am doing. It doesn’t have to be every single little thing but if you are making dinner - invite them. If you are doing the dishwasher - see if they would like to help. If you are going for a walk - invite them for a chat. Children don’t care for these huge elaborate adventures, they just want your time. So make a point to include them in something each day even if it is something small - to them it may be huge!
I love that my children joke around and laugh. Sometimes their jokes do not make sense but by laughing at their jokes or stories not only makes them feel good but it helps them gain that self confidence as a person. Public speaking is tough for kids hey, it is even tough for me! But I have learned by helping them find humor in conversation not only is a crowd pleaser but it helps aid in that self confidence and makes it easier to converse with others. If you are doing the dishes joke around and play, throwing a ball - make a joke. Help them discover humor and help them out of their shell.
Keep that criticism to yourself.
It’s easy to pick at everything your kids do. Now I am not saying we do it on purpose because we love our children but sometimes we forget they aren’t on the same level of life as us. Their life experiences are a lot different than ours as they are just getting started and we’ve been doing this life dance for a while. As bad as we want to tell them how to do something or why to do something we have to stop and remind ourselves they are learning and discovering on their own. LET THEM do the things. It’s okay. You will cringe and it probably will upset you if they do something a certain way but remember they have to figure things out on their own. Guide them. Do not criticise them.
Love without judgement.
We need to remember our children are all different and no matter who they are, who they love or who/what they believe in should never change the way we love them.
Model by example.
It’s easy to forget that no matter what we say or what we do our children are always watching and learning, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. We need to set a good example by showing our children how to react in the best way possible as well as how to handle certain situations if we want them to do the same. If they see us yelling and screaming at someone they will eventually think that is a normal way to react. If we argue with someone and then makeup and show love they will learn how to forgive after an argument. Set a good example by being the best role model possible because even if we don’t say anything at all, they are still watching us.
We want our children to do things so they can learn how to be self sufficient, responsible and helpful. Sometimes they find it as us being naggy and wanting them to do everything on their own. We want them to have great grades, study hard and pass all of their tests, but they see us as once again - Naggy. What if we were to negotiate privileges and responsibilities and rewarding with the things they enjoy the most. Now, don’t take away their things fully and expect them do to everything 100% in order for them to get their things back. I am saying what works for us and could possibly work for you is to allow them to do the things that they love but if they were to want extra video game time, a little cash for a movie with friends, gas money or to possibly stay up later than normal - negotiate with them. Consider these extras as rewards for studying hard, doing extra chores without complaint, helping a family member. "Hey how about if we see your positive behavior continue or if you can pull your grades up we can chat about you getting some extra video game time".
As a parent, this one is really hard for me to accept. I think we expect our children to want to do the same things as us with just as much enthusiasm when really, they probably have zero interest which is okay! I used to force my children to run to the store with me because in my mind we were spending time together when really, they wanted to just stay home and hang out. Then I would eventually start getting upset because they didn’t want to do anything that I wanted to do and it is selfish of me to be upset because they are their own individuals. So now when I want to spend time as a family I offer up some choices and they can all agree on something together that we do. That way I am not upset by saying “this is what we are doing” then they complain the whole time and my feelings are hurt. Put your feelings aside and make a list of things to do, chores to split or food for dinner and allow them to come together to make the choice themselves.
Sorting out a little bit of time every day to play with your kiddos can mean a lot to them especially if it doesn’t seem like much to you. Go for a walk to the park, play legos, as much as we aren’t a fan of video games if they like it, play games with them. I am guilty of being pretty lazy when it comes to lounging and watching my shows and playing on my phone, who isn’t. But when our kids ask us to play we need to. They are here and they matter. Our phones don’t and I need to work on that myself!
When something gets broken or someone starts crying our first instinct is to start blaming and pointing fingers around the house which not only tenses up the home but upsets everyone involved. Sit down with everyone face to face and address the issue head on in a calm non finger pointing manner. We are likely to get to the bottom of the issue if we go in calmer and less threatening.
Show your children respect at all ages! Show them that you trust them and that they can trust you. If you can show your children respect they are more likely to trust you in those hard moments and times.
One thing that has always been easy for me is to hide my feelings. We grow up and unless someone tries to talk to us about how we are feeling we just tend to bottle it up. All bottling up feelings does is build and build and eventually start to cause self destruction and possibly depression later down the road. Encourage your family to share how they are feeling and why they feel that way. Make a plan on how you can work through the issues so everyone’s feelings are validated and made a priority. We want happy kids and a happy family.
Take time to listen.
It’s easy to brush off our kids when they are telling us about their day because to us it just sounds like they ran around and played and read a few books. But to them, they tackled the world and they want you to know about it. Sit down with them and show that you care about what they have to say by facing them face to face. Make eye contact and ask them questions about their day and how they felt about their day.
Parenting takes a lot of patience and a lot of understanding. Understand that our children will make mistakes just as they understand that we make mistakes. Understand that our day may change because they fall ill or hurt themselves. Understand that just because you are tired and want to be left alone doesn’t mean that they will want to be alone and want your time. Understand that when we have a family everything changes and we must adapt to every change every day.
Value the relationships you have with your child as those are the relationships you will carry in your heart forever.
Wish them happiness every day.
I try to tell my children every morning that I hope they have a positive happy day as they leave the house for school. They remember those morning conversations and carry your words with them throughout the day. By wishing them happiness and love before they leave will remind them throughout the day that you are in their corner, showering them with love even from afar.
Expect changes to happen every day. Expect that their attitudes will be happy and perky one day and probably negative another. They are constantly growing and changing which changes the dynamic of the home. Open up your mind and heart to knowing that at any moment things can change in a positive or negative way.
Yes. You. Don’t forget to take care of you as you are also a priority. If you do not take care of yourself and put yourself first too, the home dynamic will change. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Go grab a coffee, go for a walk, head to a yoga class, do anything you can to relax yourself at least once a day.
Zero in on what is important to you and what isn’t. Don’t get caught up in superficial things you wish you could have instead, get caught up in what you already have. By doing this you are setting a good example for your children on what is important in the world and what isn’t. If we focus on the next best thing all the time, then they will think there is always something better.