There are some days when being a mom seems like one endless test. Your baby is crying when he or she should be napping. Do you wait to see if they will go back to sleep or do you go in and help rock them to sleep? Your older child is disobeying you. What do you do? Do you calmly explain the rules again or give them an immediate discipline? What if you choose the wrong option? Not just to these moments, but to a thousand other dilemmas. Are you scarring your child for life?
Don’t worry, mommy!
These moments in our children’s lives aren’t as important. Take a look at the big picture to being a mom. There are many areas that can make a difference in your child’s life.
Make your children feel capable
It’s important to have pep talks with your children. Praise them when they do something great or accomplish a challenging task. Encourage them when they are struggling.
However, it’s a lot trickier to stand back and let them handle a challenging task on their own. If you see your child struggling to handle a task don’t jump in right away. Instead, show them how to come up with their own solutions. Ask your child what is wrong and how he or she can fix it. Try offering suggestions and let your child try it out for themselves.
Sharing you and your partner’s values with them
What sort of qualities do you want to see your child develop? Kindness, responsibility, honesty, and persistence?
Take the time to sit down with your partner and discuss what sort of values you want your child to develop. Remember talking about them isn’t all the work, you need to live them too! You need to be a role model to your child.
Be careful with your words and tone
Sometimes our patience can really be limited. You might be one of the most patient parents, but can occasionally lose it.
If you are about to lose it with your child, try to remember to speak to them in the same respectful manner you would talk to your friend or coworker. Your child is likely to listen and feel more comfortable coming to you for guidance or help.
Try to see things from your child’s perspective. Your child might be having a meltdown because they cannot find their favorite toy, and you might be annoyed that he or she is overacting. Instead of telling them to calm down, show them that you get how he or she is feeling.
Cultivate your relationships
It’s important to take the time to nurture your own relationships, especially with your partner. Your child might say “Yuck!” when they see you kissing, but often these types of display of affection develop the blueprint for your children’s own healthy relationships later in life.
Make sure you take the time to be with your partner. Even if it’s 15 minutes a day after the kids go to bed. You can even have a biweekly date night. This not only benefits your relationship together, but also sends your children a message that you enjoy each other’s company.
Get a hold of your stress
Often we can become stressed with our lives. It’s part of who we are when we live a busy life. However, we need to remember that our children learn to cope with challenges and disappointments by watching how we do it. The way we deal with pressure or anger will provide a blueprint for our children on how they will handle it. It can also create a home environment that can be stable, predictable, and safe if our stress and anger is handled in a productive way.
Some ways you can handle your own stress is becoming more organized. Look for ways to reduce unnecessary tensions. Some of these can be doing simple tasks that you have been wanting to get done. Maybe there is a cabinet you want to clean out in your kitchen. Maybe there is a décor item you want to replace with a new one. If you are feeling overwhelmed by work or caring for your child consider doing a relaxing activity, such as yoga, meditation, or talking to a friend or professional.
Show your children love
Children who feel cherished by their parents tend to be more secure and even self-confident than those who don’t. We all have a universal need to feel loved, even our children do too. Showing your children acts of love can reassure them.
Say “I love you” every day to your children when they leave for the school bus or when you drop them off at school. Say it to them before they go to bed.
There are plenty of ways you can show you love them too. Spend time with your child by doing their favorite activities or reading a book to them before they go to bed. Slip a note in their lunch box with a special message.