When we become parents, the world seems to bombard us with advice on just about everything.
It can be very overwhelming but I have found that it is a great idea to listen to it all but only take on board the things that you feel will work well for you.
The following are my 10 favourite bits of advice.
Choose your battles
This is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. Is it really worth the battle? if not let it go. The more often you tell children not to do something or that what they have done is wrong, the more likely they are to become defensive and try to challenge you. Standing your ground only when necessary is more productive as the child is more likely to listen when you need them to.
Put down the books and read your child instead
Reading books about routines, developmental milestones and behaviour guidance can be really helpful but the most reliable source of information is the child themselves. Each child is different and has different needs and responds in different ways so reading your child is the best way to understand them and what they need or want.
Do what feels right for you and your child
Most parents know what is best for their child and family unit so if it feels right then it probably is right for you and your child.
There are no bad habits if it works for you
I breastfed my three children to sleep and then put them into bed which I knew was against professional advice. When I told my MCHN, she kindly reminded me that it if worked for me then it wasn’t a bad habit and that it would only become a bad habit if it no longer worked for us.
Give your child as much independence as possible
Children crave independence. If they are given loads of choices such as what to wear and what to eat (with healthy options of course) and are given opportunities to help around the house, prepare meals etc they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and feel more in control of their lives. This creates happy and confident children.
Consequences for actions are far better life lessons than being told not to do something
This one kind of goes hand in hand with choosing your battles.
If you tell a child that it’s raining outside and they need to wear a jacket and they refuse, then explain to them that if they don’t put on a jacket they will get wet. If they still resist, then calmly tell them that you have explained what will happen and if they don’t listen, then they are going to get wet. If they go out in the rain and then complain about being wet it is a great opportunity to talk to them about how you explained this already and that it’s why they need to listen to you.
Trust that your child knows their own needs
If you tell your child to put on a jumper because it’s cold and they tell you that they are hot, they probably actually are. Just because you are cold, doesn’t mean that they are. Just have a jumper handy for when they need it.
Not only allow your child to take risks but encourage them to
Risk taking is such an important part of children’s development. It helps children to make decisions whilst learning right from wrong.
Allowing a child to work through their own issues, whether it be on climbing equipment or how to get themselves out of a tricky situation, helps to build problem-solving skills which they will need for their entire life.
A dirty child is the sign of a good childhood
Allow your child to get dirty. When it comes to mealtimes, exploring food through touch is an important way for children to learn about the foods they are being offered. This can sometimes end in head to toe food explosions but I can pretty much guarantee that your child had fun doing it.
Also, allow them to get down and dirty in the garden, it is not only a great sensory experience but can help to build the immune system.
Be organized, it will make your life so much easier
Packing bags and putting out clothes the night before always helps when getting ready to leave the house in a hurry.
Also doing cook ups and freezing meals come in handy on those busy weeknights when you have too much on and don’t have time to cook a healthy meal.
So there you have it. These were my top 10 favourite bits of advice, I’d love to hear yours?
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