We all parent in different ways, yet we all want to be a “better” parent. Fortunately there is always room for improvement – for everyone.
I find it is so easy to be distracted and consumed in this high-speed, internet driven, mobile World in which we live. Sometimes it is important to just take a deep breath, step back and realize what really is most important.
This weekend try these tips to be a better parent:
1. Listen. Have you ever talked to a child about something really important? Something you really wanted them to understand? Remember how you leaned down low so that you could be on their level and insisted they look you in the eyes so that there were no distractions?
Next time your little one wants to talk to you, try this same thing. Stand or sit in a place where you can really connect, get down to their level. Look them in the eyes and stop everything else you are doing. Allow for no distractions. Yes, that means put down your cell phone.
After all, this is someone who is really important. Someone you really want to understand. And someone you want to know feels understood.
2. Encourage. It is easy to point out mistakes and poor choices of behavior. Make a point to acknowledge the good things. Tell your little one you are proud of them for something they have accomplished, acknowledge how hard they worked on achieving a certain goal, recognize their efforts in a time when you see that they did their best, even if unsuccessful.
When our children know we see their choices and behavior this not only builds them up when we recognize, it encourages appropriate actions and reactions in the future.
3. Give hugs. Never forget to hug your child. Now, I know of a certain 8 year old who is way too cool to get a hug from his mom, but even he likes a pat on the back or high five ever so often. Maybe just sit close to, or be more intentional about tucking them in. Don’t be hands off, no matter what the age. Definitely be aware of their comfort level with affection as they get older, but never stop giving hugs.
These ideas are pretty basic, but things so easily taken for granted and overlooked. Give it a try this weekend!