Becoming a parent is without a doubt, very exciting. It can, however, be overwhelming considering all the things you as a new parent is most likely trying to figure out, such as how to be a good parent, how to care for and entertain your child, how to childproof your home and so on. Not forgetting all the varying and sometimes contradictory parenting advice coming your way. It can all be a bit too much. So, with this in mind, here is a simple compilation of tips and tricks, parenting 101 to help you get started on your journey into parenthood.
1. Be Present and Live in The Moment.
There are certain things better than checking things off your to-do lists or being on the phone, and that includes being present at the moment spending time with your child, bonding and creating beautiful memories.
2. Do Not Stress Too Much About Toddler Meals.
This is easier said than done but try not to get stressed over your child’s odd eating habits. Just offer a healthy variety and trust that your child will eat when hungry. However, as with all things, check with your child’s pediatrician if you are very concerned, but do not panic. Stay cool, calm and collected so your child does not pick up on your stress or anxiety and join you in getting stressed around mealtimes.
3. Have an Early Bedtime Routine.
You cannot go wrong with an early bedtime routine for your kids. It is not only good for them but is also great for you. So, you get a couple of hours in the evening for yourself whilst your kids are in bed getting their much-needed sleep.
4. It Is Okay to Say No to Your Child.
As a mom saying no to your child when it is in your child’s best interest becomes an art form. It is best to avoid having to constantly say the word “no” but instead use different phrases to turn down requests. You could say something like, “you cannot have that right now”, and then try to offer a better alternative or alternatives that are okay with your child having irrespective of the option they choose.
5. Answer The Eternal “Why” Questions.
The endless why questions have the potential to drive you nuts but although easier said than done, try to be patient with your child and answer the eternal questions. Children are generally curious and learn from literally everything, including how you respond to their why questions. If you stop answering your child’s questions, there is a chance your child will learn to stop asking you questions, and you certainly do not want that.
6. Start to Create Little Family Traditions With Your Child.
These traditions you create will be some of the incredible memories your child will have to look back out in adulthood and possibly pass on to future generations. So, create a special handshake for you and your child, have a birthday, Christmas, and other holiday traditions unique to your family. Make special meals for special occasions, bake the cake with child, there is a whole variety of things you could do, and they do not have a whole lot if anything at all.
7. Be Prepared For Sick Days.
You do not want to have run out to get medication for your child in the middle of the night, except perhaps it is a situation you cannot handle and need to go to the hospital. For minor things, after consultation with your child’s pediatrician, you need to stock up on certain medications and always have them at home or take them with you on trips just in case.
8. Every Child Is Unique, Know Yours.
As every child is different and unique, you need to know your child’s strengths and challenges are and respond to your child accordingly. For instance, one technique used to teach one child may not work to teach another.
9. Identify with Your Crew.
You need to identify your support system or crew, family and or friends who will always have a listening ear and give you advice when you ask for it; and who will also know when not to say anything but be there for you, and you for them.
10. You Are A Role Model.
Your child is watching your every move even when you think they are not; they are. And when you least expect it, they will model the behaviour they have seen you do, be it good or something you would instead they not copy. So be mindful that you are now a role model and do what I say and not what I will not work.
11. Let Your Partner Take Over.
Let your partner share in the responsibility of physically caring for your child. It is an excellent way for them to bond as it gives you a little breather—some great bonding activities including cuddlings, baths, play, reading bedtime stories etc.
12. Talk About Money Decisions To Your Child.
Talk to your child about your money decisions, so they understand the value of money. For instance, it is an excellent idea to let your child know your thought process when you buy a less expensive item in the store, which is equally as good as a more expensive version of the same item.
13. Humblebrag Parent Alert.
Be aware that humblebrag parents exist; just take how wonderful and extraordinarily talented they say their children are with a pinch of salt, for they are either over-exaggerating or flat out lying. Every child, including yours, is unique and special and generally develop at their own pace.
14. Read To Your Child Every Single Day.
Help your child form healthy reading habits and boost your child’s imagination by reading to your child every day. Reading to your child as part of their bedtime routine is a great way to start. However, it is also good practice to have time during the day to read to a child to your child and or have them describe what they see in the pictures.
15. Make Big Changes Gradually.
Big changes such as the transition from a crib to a bed, or perhaps if you had been rocking your child to sleep and want to transition to putting your child down when drowsy but still awake, can be very overwhelming and stressful for your child. So, go easy and do rush the process; make the big changes gradually. You could have storytime in your child’s new bed for a while until he or she is comfortable enough for you to make the switch from crib to bed official. And when you put your child down while sleepy but awake, you might have to stay with your child until they fall asleep, and gradually you will be able just to put him or her down to fall asleep without you.
16. Help Your Baby Fall Asleep On His Or Her Own.
Feed your child at the beginning of his or her bedtime routine. After which, give your child a nice warm bath, read a book, and then give cuddles. However, you must ensure you put your child down in his or her crib while your child is still awake but drowsy ready to drift off to sleep. This is important because if you rock or feed your child to sleep, your child will always require you to rock or feed him or her to sleep.
17. Trust Your Instincts.
Trust your fatherly or motherly instincts or gut feelings. If you feel something is not right with your child, even if you are not 100 per cent sure. It is better to err on the side of caution; just go to the pediatrician and have your child checked. Get a second or third opinion if need be.
18. Give Your Child Age-Appropriate Chores.
Get your child into the habit of helping you around the house with little things like helping you pack up their toys after playing, taking their plates to the kitchen after meals, putting their shoes where they’re supposed to be when they get in the house etc. This way, as your child gets older, especially into the teenage years, your child would already know he or she is supposed to help around the house, and you would not have to clean up after your adolescent child. Also, allowing your child to help you out with household chores aids in building self-esteem because you trust your child to do the chore.
19. Apologize When You Are Wrong.
Not only is it the right thing for you to do for yourself, to own up to your mistakes and apologize when you are wrong, but it is also the right thing for you to do for the sake of your child. This is so because your child is watching and learning, not just from what you say but more especially from how you behave. So, to have a well-mannered child who can own up to their mistakes and apologize, you must model that behaviour and apologize to your child or partner when you are in the wrong, even for very little things.
20. Have Some Structure and Stay Consistent with Your Rules.
Children thrive on routines and structure as it helps them know what to expect next. So, have rules that are fair and stay consistent in enforcing your rules, as children are constantly testing boundaries to see if you will cave in or see how much they can get away with in having their way instead of following set rules. No pressure, though, as it is perfectly normal and all path of the learning and development process of your child.
If you do not stay consistent in enforcing your rules, then the rules you set will have less meaning to your child, and he or she will be likely to take them seriously.
21. Time-outs Are Not Just for Kids.
You are less likely to respond to your child helpfully when you are upset or angry. At such a time, give yourself a break or time-out to cool off and think things through, as you do not need to respond to your child immediately, especially when you are upset or angry.
22. Encourage sibling bonding.
To encourage your children to look for the positives in their sibling, you could have them take turns saying what they enjoyed doing with their sibling that day.
23. Have Conversations Daily with Your Child.
This might seem obvious, but with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, chores, to-do lists, work, school runs and so on, it is essential to make a conscious effort to have conversations with your child, get to know what they are thinking and feeling, how their day was at school etc. You could start a gratitude practice with your child and talk about what the best part of their day was and what they are most grateful for, for that day. This will help build a bond with your child and also helps in fostering happiness and optimism in your child.
24. Open Windows Safely.
For safety reasons, depending on where you live and what type of windows you have, it best to open your windows from top to bottom if you can, and not put low furniture or stools under windows as that would tempt your child to climb on. If you live in a high-rise building, take extra care with open windows, and best leave them closed to avoid accidents.
25. Be Prepared.
Always have a first aid kit handy at home or in your car, and never leave your house without some snacks, a water bottle, a change of clothes and some entertainment for your child, depending on where you are going and how long the outing will take.
26. Put down your phone.
What your child values more than anything are your love and attention. So, when spending time with your child, please put down your phone, put the tv off, put your laptop away and give your child your undivided attention, for it means the world to your child; quality one on one time.
27. Act Silly and Have Your Child Giggling
Run around and play with your child. Make your child giggle and laugh with tickles and silly faces. Play hide and seek, peek-a-boo etc. Life can be too serious, so remember to take a step back and have some fun with your child.
28. Remember You Are Parent First, Before A Friend to Your Child.
Being a parent is not a popularity contest. At times your child may not like you, especially when you are enforcing rules or saying no to things for their best interest. Do not take such moments so heart, for deep down your child, loves you no matter what and knows you are only doing what is best for them.
29. Show Your Affection.
Be affectionate with your child and let your child know just how much he or she means to you. Express your love for your child through your words and actions, letting them know how special they are to you.
30. Go for Walks.
Go for walks with your child to get some fresh air, enjoy the sunshine. Instead of driving to a store, for instance, you walk and talk or play with your child as you go.
There are numerous benefits to spending time outside, so make time to have outdoor time every day. Amongst other reasons, spending time outside is a great escape from sedentary activities and screens.
31. Make Learning Fun.
Make learning fun for your child as children learn a lot from fun activities and play. So seize opportunities whenever you can and count the apples and other groceries as you pick them out in the store. You could also ask your child questions such as which water bottle bigger? What is the shape of an egg? And so on.
32. Just Dance.
Let loose, turn up some music and dance with your child. You are guaranteed a good time watching your child dance and have a break from the endless questions and demands.
33. Back Up Your Videos and Pictures.
In this digital age, we constantly take pictures on our phones, tablets, iPads, cameras and hardly ever develop them, except for a few that get printed to be framed and hung up. It would be heartbreaking to lose such precious, invaluable, and irreplaceable memories.
In order words, pictures and videos you take of your child and the whole family are treasures to be guarded. It would surprise you how much we remember of what we have done in our life only because we have the pictures and videos to remind us. So, endeavour to invest in a good cloud service or hard drive to back up your precious memories for you, your child, and your future generations to enjoy.
34. Show Your Kid How To Greet People.
Children are constantly observing the environment around them and absorbing everything like a sponge. So, your child will pick up on how to greet people by emulating what they see you do, making eye contact, smiling and so on. However, it is still a good practice to give your child a helping hand and teach them how to greet people in different settings. A great way to do this is with pretend play or role-playing, as children learn a lot through play.