This week’s simple tips are going to help us with the hardest job we’ve ever had – parenting.
Being a parent is the most amazing thing I have ever done, it is magical, wonderful, and it has made me a better person all round. Being a parent also breaks my heart, it makes me question everything I thought I knew, it wears me down and it is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Sometimes parenting is an uphill battle, so I’m working on some simple tips to make those hard days a little easier.
Simple Parenting Tips
Set Yourself Up For Success.
Sometimes, when everything feels like it’s going wrong, when I am sure I am the worst parent in the world, I realise that half my troubles are caused by self sabotage. Maybe we are way too busy, maybe I am behind on the laundry, maybe the house is a disaster zone, maybe my thinking is all doom and gloom… whatever it is, if I can stop and take a little while to set myself, and my kids, up for success parenting gets a lot easier.
- Look after yourself – when I am stressed, or run down, or feeling low I know that flows on to the rest of the family. I set the tone for my family, so I need to look after myself. I need to do my ‘three for me‘ each day, take a ‘rest day‘ when I can and stop putting myself last.
- Set up your home to work with you not against you – this is especially useful when your kids are small. Set up an area of your home that is child-friendly. Take away breakables, put locks on things you don’t want your kids to get into, remove things that the kids always seem to go wild with. Create a safe space, where you are not constantly telling the kids ‘no’ ‘stop’ ‘put it back’, and were you know your can leave your kids for a few minutes without danger or disaster. For us this meant removing the coffee table for years so my toddlers wouldn’t climb on it!
- Look for a reason behind the behaviour – when kids are struggling, being difficult, or misbehaving, they are trying to tell us something. If we can figure out what they need to tell us, what the real reason behind the behaviour is then we have a much better chance of meeting that need and dealing with the behavior effectively.
- Plan ahead – You meal plan, you plan your weeks, you might even plan your cleaning and you can also plan your parenting. Ok so you can’t plan for every thing that crops up, but think about what things you are struggling with at the moment, what crops up again and again and plan how to deal with it.
- Connect, connect, connect! – I can’t say this enough, the more connected you are with your kids the easier things will be. They will listen better, they will accept limits easier, they will be willing to talk about things and willing to help. Spend time one on one with your kids, talk to them, reconnect after a bad patch, work on it with your tweens, be silly… just spend some time connecting.
- Slow down – plan a slow day here and there, let yourself and your kids have time and space to enjoy life without rushing.
In the Moment
It’s easy to be a great parent when you have lots of time to think about how you will manage things, but it’s when you are ‘in the moment’, when all your buttons are being pushed, and you are stretched to your limits, that’s when things get tricky.
How can you be a better parent then?
- ‘Pick your battles’ or ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ – practice taking a moment to really think about whether this is something you need to stand your ground on, something you can negotiate about, or something you can just let go.
- Use a ‘positive first response‘ to buy yourself some time to take a breath, to think, and to try to calm yourself before responding. I use “Give me a moment to think about it” and “Let’s talk about it calmly” often at the moment.
- Laugh and be silly – tell a fart joke, sing like an opera singer, turn up the music and dance… doing something silly can lighten even the darkest moments.
- Use a mantra… or three – when I’m feeling frustrated, or worried, or low I try and focus on something positive and having a positive mantra to repeat to myself helps. When my kids were little it was ‘This too shall pass’, now they are older I have a new mantra, and I like these mantras too.
- Look for the good in every moment – it may be only a tiny bit of good surrounded by a whole lot of crap, but looking for the good helps you stay positive and gives you hope!
- Remember – it’s not personal!
- Let go of the guilt, forgive your mistakes, and move on – easier said than done, but so important!
Parenting is not easy, but hopefully trying some of these things might make it easier, at least occasionally.
I’d love to hear your tips and ideas for being a better parent.
What simple things do you do to make parenting easier?
If you are looking for more simple cleaning and organising ideas you can check out the Keep It Simple series where we share our best simple tips for everything from laundry, cleaning, meals, kids and parenting.
And check out my ‘Clean and Organise Everything’ board on pinterest too.