Keep Calm and Carry On

You try to do your best but sometimes it’s really tough being a parent. While books, films and songs may idealize having children and all the good fun stuff, the reality can be considerably different. Sleepless nights, changing diapers, feeding and cleaning, getting them dressed, getting them to go to bed, are all mini (or major) challenges that have to be overcome each and every day. It can be exhausting as well as a lot of fun.

The hardest thing of all is trying to reason with a baby, infant, toddler, preschooler who has absolutely no idea what reason or logic may actually be. In many instances, they have no conception of what you are trying to say or do. And if they do understand, it’s not necessarily a priority for them. They don’t do things to upset your day; they simply do things that seem to make sense to them.

A few weeks ago, I caught my eldest son Andrew rubbing Jell-O into a wall with his hands. I took the Jell-O from him and asked him as calmly as I could, “Andrew, why are you doing that?” He looked at me with those wonderful hazel eyes of his and said in a matter of fact way “I don’t know”. And therein lies the problem. There is no rhyme or reason to what kids do so trying to rationalize what it is that they do is completely pointless and will lead to untold frustration for our adult minds. The best thing to do is simply go with the flow!

We’re not perfect as parents and we have a lot to learn. But here are the top five parenting tips from a Mommy and Daddy of a 3 and 4 year old.

Tip 1 – Patience is a virtue. The biggest thing you need as a parent is patience. No matter how fast you want to go, kids will do things at their own speed. You can learn to adapt or slowly drive yourself insane. Pre-kids, we’d get our stuff together, jump in the car and do what we had to do. As soon as the kids were born, getting out of the house before 1pm was a major miracle. Children need time and there’s no going around it, you have to give them time.

Tip 2 – Keep calm and carry on. You can’t lose your temper in front of children. No matter how crazy they are, or what they do, keep calm and try not to raise your voice. Easier said than done I know. But in our experience, if you speak in a measured tone, get down to their height and look them in the eye, you can generally get even the most stubborn kid to toe the line.

Tip 3 – Routine, routine, routine. We swear that routine helps children and parents structure their days. Eat at regular times. Put them to bed at regular times. Build up little routines to make sure they understand that a set path has begun that gets them from A to B. We do milk and read books every night, and every night this makes the bedtime routine so much easier.

Tip 4- Enjoy the ride. Throw away from time to time that adult mind of yours. Everything is a thing of wonder to a child. Dirt, books, colors, animals, rain, grass, clouds, and insects – everything is new and unusual for a child’s mind. They can help you throw away your preconceived ideas and start afresh if you let them.

Tip 5 – Did we mention that patience is a virtue? Give yourself an extra half an hour to do anything. If it normally takes an hour to get to the airport, do the food shop, or visit Grandma, give yourself an extra half an hour and reduce the stress. In fact, give yourself an extra hour to reduce the stress. You are going to need it. It’s so much better working to your children’s time frames than yours.

We all have our top five parent tips – please share yours with us . . .

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2 Responses to “Keep Calm and Carry On”

  1. Interesting that I am not a parent and yet I am going to submit a parenting tip! Hah! That said, I was and many would argue still am a kid. My tip is something that my parents did incredibly well & incredibly willingly…GET DOWN & DIRTY! Many times, I notice at parties or on the fields, the adults are engaged in adult converstaion while the kiddies are being kiddies. Not my parents! They would jump right in to the heart of it and fingerpaint, make sandcastles, stand in line for the slide and even make mud pies! It still makes me smile to this day. I think it’s a wonderful thing to roll up your sleeves and your pant legs and find the kid in you again. You’ll have a great time, I promise and your kid (s) will not forget how fun and carefree you could be.

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