How To Be A Better Parent: 6 Things To Try Today
How To Be A Good Parent
Do you love being a parent? I do!
Most of the time.
Ever think about how to be a better parent? I know I definitely do! A LOT!
Being a parent really is something that is hard to explain. It can be magical and soul-crushing all in the same day. The same hour. Heck, the same minute.
Some nights you go to bed with a smile. Proud of how the day went. Maybe even a little impressed with yourself. Get it, girl.
The next night could be the complete opposite. You lay in bed thinking this day whooped your butt! No, like REALLY whooped your butt. Crying is definitely on the agenda.
Parenting is a journey with no set destination. There is always room to grow. You make the mistake of thinking you got some things figured out and then boom. Our kids will sense this confidence and throw us a curveball.
You thought wrong, mommy. You know nothing. My child can’t be the only one that says these exact words with just a look and a smirk!
At the end of the day, you do the best you can. Your best will not be the same every day. There are no blueprints to look at.
Parenting 101. Every day is different. The truth is you can have an arsenal full of tools and some days that won’t make much of a difference.
The important thing is to keep trying. Trying over and over and over. Oh, and then trying some more.
Good parents try.
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Here Are 6 Tips on How to Be a Better Parent
1) Be Consistent
This seems so simple. Stick to what you say.
Consistency is just plain tough, though. It takes a lot of time and effort.
You are talking to the queen of second and third chances right here. I am guilty of giving in to my daughter at times because it is easier for me.
I want to avoid a tantrum at the store. Please, not another meltdown in front of friends. I want to watch Law & Order in peace. Yes, take a cheese stick to bed with you. I know you’re not starving but dang I need to be left alone.
This is obviously not helping her in any way. Kids need to be able to predict the outcome of situations. Ideally, the outcome should be the same every time. Try to avoid being wishy-washy.
In every parenting book, this topic comes up. I am constantly working on this. Some days are better than others. Some days I fail miserably. Other days I jump for joy when I feel like I partially nailed it.
By partially, I, of course, mean that I got one thing right and there are still 22 other problems I didn’t even touch today. One behavior at a time. Slow and steady just like the turtle. He did win the race, right?
This book right here is the best of the best and should be read by every parent! I actually read this at least once a year to brush up on all the amazing and relatable advice written on every dang page.
2) Point Out The Good Things
How often do we only notice the bad things? Whether it is in our partner, in people we know or don’t know, and especially in our kids.
When my husband calls me on his way home from work he always asks how our daughter was that day. Do you know what usually comes out of my mouth?
All the things that happened that made me angry or frustrated. She threw a tantrum over a cookie. She made a huge mess. The dinner I made was barely touched.
Do you know what this makes me think? These are the things I pointed out to her. Did I say anything positive to her? Queue the guilt tears.
I don’t think any parent wants to spend their days complaining. Yes, tantrums are frustrating. Kids know how to push our buttons. Venting to another adult is absolutely needed.
But I have really been making an effort to find the good in my little girl and everywhere else.
For the record, though, I will always be annoyed when she doesn’t eat the dinner I made. (I remind myself ALL THE TIME that it is my job to offer her food and her job to choose what she eats)
3) Validate Your Child’s Feelings
This has been a game-changer in my house. Doing this has drastically changed the way my daughter reacts during tough situations.
How do you feel when someone tells you to calm down? You feel instantly calm and thank them for that piece of advice. NO WAY!
Shoes not fitting anymore isn’t going to turn our day upside down. But it could to a 5-year-old. Simply by validating their emotions, we can (try to) keep a situation from escalating. Saying, “You must feel pretty upset. You really liked those shoes.”
What a difference this can make!
When kids start throwing a tantrum about something we think is completely absurd, it can be tempting to tell them to knock it off. This mama right here is guilty as charged.
What they really need is our help in learning how to deal with emotions. Their emotional navigation system is basically the opposite of advanced.
Before you react, it can help to take a breath. Think about what emotion your child is experiencing and what they need from you.
And I just want to remind you again that this is really hard. None of us will get this right every time.
It is one of those things that we will most likely be practicing for the foreseeable future. At least we are all in this together!
4) Be Mindful
In this day in age, it seems like there are always a million things going on.
What if you just took a breath and focused on one thing? Multitasking is great and completely necessary at times. Mindfulness and multitasking are not a perfect pair, though.
Picture how excited kids are to go on a walk. My daughter could spend 5 minutes looking at one leaf.
Meanwhile, I am thinking about what to make for dinner and that load of laundry I left in the washer. Stinky clothes really are the worst!
We have all heard it a million times. Kids grow up so fast! The thing is, they really do.
So look at the dang leaf. Slow down a little. I know we all have busy lives.
Let’s not forget that our kids are a huge part of that busy life.
5) Give Them Your Undivided Attention
“Mommy get off your phone.”
Have you heard that one before? How about, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” Our kids should not have to beg for our attention.
Not everyone has hours a day to devote solely to their kids. And that is okay. Every family and every situation is different.
Sometimes it is surprising how little time will actually fill kids up. If I devoted 10 or 20 or 30 solid minutes to my kiddo, she would be happy. Quality over quantity.
Now, this is not the case every day. Sometimes she wants to play with barbies for 6 hours straight. What can you do?
So, here is the takeaway. No matter what is going on in your day, try to carve out a chunk of time to dedicate completely to your kids.
Small pockets of time are powerful!
6) Have Fun
We should be doing this every day, right? There will always be a to-do list. Groceries need to be bought. Laundry needs to be done. There are dentist appointments, birthday parties, and an endless amount of things that fill our time.
Does it ever feel like you are just going through the motions?
Did you have some fun today? I really hope so. (Check out these easy ways to have more fun every single day)
Put a value on this. That doesn’t mean there is no value in making sure there are clean clothes. Having food is also kind of a no-brainer.
But we can all embrace the silly. Appreciate the crazy. And have some dang FUN. Now go have some right now! Later is fine too if you’re busy.
You got this!
Have any thoughts on how to be a better parent?
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