When most of us think about having children, prior to having children, it’s all rainbows and butterflies. The baby will be beautiful and healthy and we tend to have the my-kids-won’t-act-like-that attitude.
Then reality sets in the baby doesn’t sleep through the night, the toddler constantly has tantrums,
the Kindergartener gets in trouble for misbehaving at school, and so on. Frustration builds in the household, parents feel isolated and alone, and the child bears all of this tension. These are the times when we, as parents, need to step back and reassess the situation. How are we handling this? What are our feelings? How are we interacting with the child? What messages are we sending to the child/children?
There is hope for less frustration and more positive interactions with your child. However, we, as parents, need to take the first steps toward improving these frustrating and, all too often, overwhelming interactions. Here are a few quick ideas to get started down this path to feeling less overwhelmed and enjoying your child more. For more detailed information, check out my ebook How Many Times do I have to Repeat Myself? Simple Steps to Stress-Free Parenting and More Family Enjoyment
Finding the Positive
Finding something positive about your child each day is important. There cannot be 100% negativity going on all day, every day, 365 days a year. Some days will be easy, such as they brought home an A on an important test, took a nap as scheduled, or didn’t hit their sibling with a book. Other days will be more challenging. If you can’t find something positive easily, then think outside the box.
For example, the teacher did not call or email about bad behavior today, the child didn’t throw food at supper time, or the child did not scream when you put his/her shoes on. Part of making life easier is finding the positive side and then focusing on the positives when possible.
One on one time with each child is also extremely important. Five to fifteen minutes per day is great. It can be difficult at times, but it is possible. I had seven children in the home at one time when they were younger and we still found a way for this to work most days. One solution would be to modify the bedtime routine so that you have the time to share a few minutes alone with each child at bedtime. This should be something as simple as reading a bedtime story or asking about the child’s day.
One of my favorites at bedtime has always been asking two prompting questions: What did you like about today? What did you not like about today? The prompting questions can be anything, but these are just two open-ended questions that worked well when my children were younger. It allows for open communication, your full attention, and focuses on that child’s day. It does not have to be an intriguing conversation or conversation that turns into stalling at bedtime. Just your one-on-one attention and attention they can count on every day or most days. It also helps to strengthen your bond with your child and provide neutral, if not positive, interaction with your child.
Additionally, parents must make sure to take time for themselves, both alone and with their partner, to help them deal with the stresses of life and parenting. Weeklong tropical vacations are fantastic, but not possible for most people to have on a weekly basis.
This means we have to focus on reality. Maybe this downtime or alone time can simply be watching your favorite show with her partner after the kids are in bed or having lunch with a friend. Maybe it’s reading a book by your favorite author, taking a bath alone, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. The goal is to spend time relaxing and doing what you enjoy alone or with people other than your children. You love your children, but it’s also appropriate and important to spend time on yourself too. It leads to feeling refreshed and better able to handle the next conflict or problem that arises.
Making time for your family is also about teaching your children to make time for the family too! The picture above shows my grandson with my son…his wonderful teenage uncle. This is as important for the preschooler as it is for the teenager, this bonding time. We are teaching our children to be good humans, good spouses, and good parents. I am very thankful that my son allows himself to have the opportunity to practice those skills with his young nieces and nephews!
Only One Chance
We only live once. Parenting isn’t easy and it’s only one stage in our lives. We and our partners and children benefit from making as many good memories as possible. Big memories like going to Disney World are fantastic, but life is made up of all the small memories. One on one time each day, sharing a favorite holiday tradition, or reading books together builds lasting memories. Sharing whatever you enjoy with your child and family makes the best memories because it comes easily, and you already know it will be fun and enjoyable!
- Find one positive thing about your child each day. It can be as simple as you like the way they stacked the blocks they were playing with or you are proud they got a good grade on a test. Then tell it to your child!
- If you can’t find something positive at first find something you like that your child did not do, such as my child did not bite me today or I did not get a call from my child’s teacher about his/her behavior. You can also find something positive to relate to your child, such as your password to your favorite webpage or having your favorite snack after successfully putting your child to bed at night.
- Make sure to have one on one time with your child. This can be through date nights, parent/child outings, or taking ten minutes at bedtime just to talk or read a story. If you are stuck on ideas, try our free download of 106 Things to do when your child says I’m bored”
- You also need to take time for yourself. Parents have to care for themselves to decrease stress so they can better handle the stress that parenting brings. Plus doing things you enjoy is fun and parents get to have fun too!
These are just a few quick ideas to help lessen your stress and increase enjoyment with your family.
For more detailed information check out my ebook: How Many Times do I have to Repeat Myself? Simple Steps to Stress-Free Parenting and More Family Enjoyment