Raising children can be a wild roller coaster ride, expect to spend eighteen years of your life experiencing the bliss of the highs and the frustrations of the lows but know that it will never be dull. To bring your children up to be happy, healthy and to lead productive lives, there are habits that you can form as soon as you take your first steps into parenthood that will make life much easier for you and your children as you go forward.
Things You Will Need
Love, common sense, patience and a sense of humor.
Be vigilant about your child's safety, they cannot be replaced. Educate and keep yourself updated about the latest advances in regards to healthcare and car seats. Childproof your house properly. Keep a close eye on children around swimming pools and in the bath tub. Make sure they wear the correct safety equipment when cycling and skateboarding and that they are wearing them properly. Accidents will happen frequently throughout your child's life, don't make it an accident that could have been easily avoided; you will be guilty for a very long time.
Develop good eating habits early on by serving a balanced and nutritious wide variety of foods. Encourage them to taste the foods but don't force them to eat something they really don't want to eat. Continue to serve a little of the food often until they begin to accept it. Don't fight food battles with your child; it can set up issues with food for the child later on in life.
Take charge and be the parent, you are your child's parent and not their best friend. Be sure to set limits and establish boundaries. Always follow through on them by being consistent every time. A child will stop being obedient if they are used to listening to hollow threats and know that there will be no consequences for their actions.
Keep your children moving by exercising daily and no, they don't do even close to enough PE in school so unless they are in extra curricular sports they need to be encouraged to run around outside, ride their bikes, go to the park or go swimming. Turn off the TV and the video games and instill a love of activity that will last a lifetime.
Make time to play and interact with your children often. Sit on the floor with them, play games and make memories. Let them choose what they want to play and who cares if they don't follow the rules, so long as everyone is having fun. These are the times that your children will remember when they are grown and look back. It doesn't need to be an expensive activity; a walk on the beach, playing ball and enjoying board games together all bring a family together.
As often as possible make time to eat dinner together as a family. Table manners should be encouraged but not obsessed over as the point is to enjoy a relaxing family meal together were everyone gets a turn to talk and share something about their day.
Encourage independence in your child as soon as they are able; have them accomplish tasks such as dressing and clearing their place at the table by themselves. Giving a child responsibility for self care and chores around the house instills a sense of accomplishment and pride and helps to develop their self esteem.
Read to your child every day from a very early age to encourage their vocabulary and instill a love of reading. Continue reading to them and with them as they grow older. We love to read our books together right before bed as a way to help our children wind down for the evening. This routine is very soothing for a child and can make going to bed much easier. Model reading to your children by letting them see you read a variety of books, magazines and newspapers.
Model behavior to your children that you would like to see reflected in them. Your children are watching every move you make and won't go for the 'do as I say not as I do' cliche. Be considerate and respectful to those around you but most of all work on your relationship with your spouse. Make your relationship the best it can be, again you are modeling behavior for your children's future choices in life and how you treat each other will reflect in what they will see as the norm for them and what they will expect in their own relationships.
Care for the environment by recycling, wasting less, reusing and conserving energy wherever you can. You will be teaching an important lesson about respecting the earth we live on to your children which will have a huge impact on them and others their age as they become adults.
Do not allow your child to hurt or be disrespectful to others. Always call them out on their poor choices if another person is made to feel bad. Teach them that there are consequences for poor behavior and follow through with them.
Most of us, as parents want to do the best we can for our children but let's face it we will all have days were we are less than proud of our parenting skills. Don't feel bad about it, learn from it and move on. Parenting can be hard work and we have so many other things to deal with in our daily lives that get in the way of doing a stellar job all the time. Give yourself a break and don't beat yourself up about mistakes; relax, have fun with your kids and don't sweat the small stuff!
Tips & Warnings
When dealing with problems or issues with your child, trust your instincts as a parent. If something does not feel right, it probably isn't. It's better to be safe than sorry, even if it means annoying your Dr and getting a second opinion for another medical professional. You are your child's advocate and know him or her better than anyone else. Trust your instincts.