I’m learning to parent. One day my oldest, upon seeing my library book on parenting, had an epiphany that I had never done this parenting gig before and exclaimed “you mean…I’m an experiment?!” Yes, indeed. I’m trying to relate to my children a little bit better, to be aware of their emotions, be empathetic, and internalize guidelines for navigating through their days while keeping my sanity intact.
So here are a couple of tips I’ve gleaned:
• When you want your child to do something, tell them they may (whatever it is). For example, “You may pick up your blocks now, and then you may have a snack.” Speak what you want them to do. Children desire to cooperate and need clear directions.
• If they need help getting all the blocks picked up, offer to help. This does a couple things: 1) it helps prevent them from getting frustrated and it gets the job done and 2) you’re modeling what you want them to do (besides pick up the blocks)—which is to help others.
• Children want to be autonomous. Allow them that by making a safe environment where everything within their reach can be played with. Let them dress themselves, pour their own drink, fix a snack.
• Speaking of dressing themselves, try not to control this too much. Much of parenting is letting go of our own expectations and control. Autonomy is a good thing, I try not to squelch it. I’m over caring if my child wears a striped shirt, a flowery skirt, and her pink boots. I think it looks darn cute, actually.
• Get down at eye level with your child. This goes a long way toward working together with your child. It connects you and allows you both to give each other your full attention.
Krista Bocko is living and learning in Noblesville and striving to be a better parent (chocolate helps). See her blog at www.cachetwrites.blogspot.com to comment.