As a parent, you have so many responsibilities that demand your time and energy. It often seems as if there’s not enough of either to go around. As a result, it can feel almost impossible to balance the various needs of both your personal life and your parental one. Parenting isn’t easy – but it doesn’t have to be so hard either. If you are feeling like you need help in this area, here are 7 habits of highly effective parents that you can begin implementing today.
Routines are not only helpful for children with special needs, they can benefit all kids in many ways. If you have a child who has special needs, having a daily routine can help you meet those special needs, but it can also help you to minimize meltdowns and other issues that come with the spectrum. If you have a child without special needs, routines can also be helpful because they help to create a sense of predictability and stability in your child’s life. This can help to reduce anxiety as well as improve focus and attention span, especially during times of high stress, like during standardized testing or when a sibling is being born. Routines can also be helpful because they can help you save time, whether it’s during the school day or with extracurricular activities.
Be present and listen
As a parent, you’re busy and have a lot going on. You’re probably trying to balance a career, caring for your children, and maintaining a social life. When you have so many responsibilities, it can be easy to let your child go unnoticed. This is especially true when your child is a young toddler who doesn’t yet know how to communicate his needs. There are so many opportunities to be present and attentive to your child. Instead of rushing through your child’s day, try to slow things down just a bit and really listen to what he has to say. If you’re rushing to get your child out the door, try to take a couple of minutes to slow things down again when you arrive at school.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Parenting is hard and stressful, and it’s easy to let the small things add up over time. You might be tired, stressed, or frustrated, and small issues might seem like a big deal. You might be dealing with anxiety as a parent, and these small issues might be making you feel even more anxious. To help combat the stress of parenting, don’t sweat the small stuff. If your child spilled his milk on the table, let it go. If he forgot to put his shoes on before leaving the house, don’t make a big deal out of it. If your child does something on purpose, such as breaking something or not doing his or her chores, then definitely address it. However, if it’s just a small, unimportant thing, just let it go.
Discipline with love, not anger
One of the most important habits of a highly effective parent is discipline. Unfortunately, many parents associate discipline with punishment and sometimes even physical punishment. However, discipline is much more than punishment. Discipline is about teaching your child how to make good decisions, follow the rules, and treat others with respect. It’s also about helping your child to feel safe, secure, and loved. When disciplining your child, try to stay calm and use positive, encouraging language. Avoid using language that will make your child feel ashamed, angry, or afraid. If you’re disciplining your child out of anger, you’re doing it wrong.
Make time for yourself
It’s important that you take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Your child will learn how to take care of himself as he gets older, but in the meantime, it’s important that you take care of yourself. There are many ways that you can take care of yourself as a parent. You might choose to take a yoga class or attend a weekly meditation group. Maybe you prefer taking a walk in the park or reading a book. Once you have children, it’s easy for your social life to disappear. However, you need to make time for yourself and your friends. You might want to arrange for some help at home so that you can meet up with your friends for dinner or even go on a date every now and then.
Help your child develop self-discipline
Learning how to be self-disciplined isn’t something that typically happens overnight. It’s a skill that your child will need to use throughout their entire lifetime. If your child is still very young, there are some things that you can do to help him or her develop self-discipline. Once your child is old enough to understand the concept of money, start giving them a weekly allowance. The amount you give them doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should cover the cost of their extracurricular activities, birthday gifts for their friends, and small things such as ice cream or comic books. Make sure that your child pays you back for the money they spend.
Take care of your own physical health
One of the best things that you can do for yourself as a parent is to take care of your own physical health. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. When you’re healthy in terms of physical fitness, it’s easier to cope with the stress of parenting. Your physical health also impacts your mental health. For example, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to suffer from anxiety. If you eat too much sugar and drink too much caffeine, you’re at an increased risk for mood disorders such as depression.
Parenting is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. As your children grow and develop, it’s important to continue to learn new ways to support them and nurture them in a helpful and healthy way. As a parent, you may feel like you don’t have enough time or energy to get everything done. However, if you implement these habits of highly effective parents, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free, happy life as a parent.