Parenting can be hard, there’s no denying that. But parenting can also be so much fun.
There are days when you will be stressed and want to cry and others when you are laughing like you are a kid again yourself. It’s truly a roller coaster ride like no other.
But how can we make our happy days out-number the stressful ones? How can we enjoy the gift that is parenthood?
There is no set formula and there’s definitely no guide book but by doing the following seven steps every day, I have found that I definitely smile and laugh more than I cry and whinge.
These ideas aren’t a magic cure and they won’t remove all of the stresses we feel when parenting but they do help me see the bigger picture and enjoy the smaller moments – something I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time.
1. Spend one-on-one time with each child. The more kids you have obviously the harder this is, but even five minutes to a child can mean so much. Give them the time they deserve and really listen to them. Ask them about their favourite thing that happened that day or the thing they are most looking forward to tomorrow. Read a book or play a game. Go fish or Snap are favourites with little ones. Watch their face as they take in your time together and before long you’ll be waiting for these precious moments each day.
2. Do something silly and laugh with your kids. No one is perfect. Most of us aren’t perfect singers or dancers but I’ll tell you something, kids love doing that stuff. Jump around like crazy. Belt out their favourite tune. Make silly sounds or ridiculous knock knock jokes. Some of the silliest times with your kids are the best memories of all.
3. Take time out (even just 5 minutes) to be alone. We all love our kids but there is no shame is taking time out to be alone. Whether it’s five minutes in your bedroom or an hour at the gym. Alone time every day is important. It is said four-year-olds asks over 400 questions a day, no one will have a problem with you only answering 399 as you take five minutes solace for the day.
4. Say a positive phrase to your children. I have no doubt you will tell your children you love them every day but this is so much more than that. Tell them they did a great job on their school project or they kicked a great goal at soccer. Children notice the small things and you will bring them delight when you show them that you notice them too.
5. Show emotion. Mum and dad don’t always have to be happy and bubbly. If you are upset don’t hide it from your child. Part of parenting is teaching our children how to handle their emotions appropriately and the best way they can learn is by watching you. Within an age appropriate setting explain what is bothering you and how you plan on dealing with it to feel better. You may even find talking through your feelings with your children to be cathartic.
6. Spend time outside. Hello Spring! Cabin fever is real and with spring well and truly here we finally have the opportunity to get outside together as a family. Take the dogs for a walk, go for bike rides or head to the local park. Even half an hour of an afternoon will brighten you day and let the kids burn any left-over energy before the evening routine.
7. Talk to your children. Really talk to your children. Discuss world events with them, talk about their goals in life and their worries of the day. It doesn’t have to be a long in depth conversation every day; utilise everyday events such as dinner time or the drive home from school. Talk to your children every day, and more importantly, listen to them. As time goes on tweens and teens have a habit of closing the lines of communication with parents. Having an open relationship from an early age is an incredibly important step to help with problems that may arise later.