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If You Want To Be A Great Parent, Just Do These 50 Small Things

If You Want To Be A Great Parent, Just Do These 50 Small Things

Parenting is a tough job. Everyone wants to be a great parent, but no-one teaches you how to be a great parent – you have to pick it up yourself. There are lows and highs, and it can be tough to be the perfect parent every day. The main priority is making sure your child is happy, well-fed, loved and safe.

Check out 50 small things you can do to be an amazing parent.

1. Don’t try to fix everything. Often your child will need your help, but don’t run in to help every time without thinking. Sometimes your child will be able to solve their own problems, and letting them do so will teach them to be self-reliant.

2. Pay attention to your child’s interests so that you can help them to develop their interests.

3. Share as many different experiences as you can with your child. From sports to reading to dressing up, these experiences could turn into future talents.

4. Let your child decide what’s for dinner one night of the week.

5. Remember that discipline and punishment are two different things.

6. Read books with your child for at least a quarter of an hour each day. This is a great way to bond with your child.

7. Encourage family time. This gives your child the chance to bond with their extended family.

8. Admit when you are wrong. After a tough day you may snap at your child. Instead of secretly feeling guilty, apologise to your child to teach them about fairness and honesty.

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9. Accept that your partner may have different ideas about parenting and then make a compromise that you are both happy with.

10. Don’t pressure your child to learn. If they complain repeatedly about their violin lessons, don’t force them to go. This is only making your child deal with stress and worry.

11. Have high expectations for your child, but always remain realistic.

12. Praise your child whenever they succeed so that they know they have supportive parents.

13. Ask your child five “you” question every day, such as “Did you enjoy school?” or “Did you like your lunch?”

14. Teach your child responsibilities while they are young. From putting their toys in their toy box to putting their juice carton in the recycling, your child is never too young to become aware of the world around them.

15. Eat one meal as a family together every day. Your child may not remember each individual meal, but they will always remember the tradition.

16. Love your children equally but remember they are unique in different ways.

17. Don’t label your child. Once you do, it can be very difficult for them to grow out of the label.

18. Be silly with your child. Tell your child silly jokes, and encourage them to make up their own jokes to tell you.

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19. Listen to your child without dismissing their thoughts for being young.

20. Give your child open-ended toys like Legos or blocks. These will encourage your child’s creativity.

21. Savor the great moments. Being a parent is a wild ride with highs and lows – let yourself enjoy the amazing moments.

22. Don’t compare your child to others. They are a unique individual and comparing people is often more damaging than it is useful.

23. Encourage your child to think about their future without influencing their decisions.

24. Keep the TV in the living room. This encourages family time and provides your child with fewer distractions when they are supposed to be sleeping.

25. Keep sunscreen next to your child’s toothpaste, and put it on every morning during summer as part of the same routine.

26. Take your child to different places, like the museum, the swimming pool, the library and parks to to expand their interests.

27. Give your child gifts that encourage their interests.

28. Always put anything your child makes for you on display in your home to show you are proud.

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29. Introduce your child to your most interesting friends.

30. Give your child choices to help them to work on their decision-making skills.

31. Set aside part of your home as a play-space for your child.

32. Accept your child for who they are.

33. Tell your child that you love to play with them, and that it is just as fun for you as it is for them.

34. Tell your child stories about them as a baby.

35. Let your child help you while you are cooking to help them to develop an interest in cooking.

36. Hug your child every day.

37. Put down your phone when you are playing or reading with your child.

38. Remember that when they are a teenager, they will be potty-trained, so don’t worry too much about it to early.

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39. Don’t force your child to hug or kiss extended family or your friends if they don’t want to. They know what they are comfortable with and what they don’t want to do.

40. Keep a diary of all of the funny things your child says to show them when they get older.

41. Practise what you preach – follow the rules you teach your child to teach them about fairness.

42. Have a weekly movie night with your child. This is a cheap, easy and fun way for you two to bond.

43. Trust your gut instincts with your child – you know them better than anyone else does.

44. Get involved in your child’s education by always attending Parent’s Evening and helping them with their homework.

45. Take your child for long walks so they can experience the magic of nature while bonding with you.

46. Accept that both you and your child will have flaws.

47. Count to 10 before you react to your child’s anger or sadness.

48. Buy a joke book and tell your child a silly joke every day.

49. Show your child lots of affection. Hold their hand when you walk together and high-five them when they have good news.

50. Speak to your children as equals and respect their opinions.

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Published on December 14, 2018

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

Reference

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