We all love our kids, don’t we? But, often the most dedicated parents can find parenting overwhelming and tedious. If there is one single thing common between every parent on this earth; it is that they want their children to be happy.
It is sad but true that today most parents succumb to the pressures of the competitive world and often end up pressurizing their children to do more than they can possibly do. Becoming a doctor, or a scientist, is surely a bonus, but inner happiness and satisfaction in your child is the true benchmark to good parenting. Not only will this thought reflect in your child’s outlook, you too as a parent will feel content and satiated when you see your child happy and excelling in what he likes most.
So, what is the secret in instilling this positive and sunny outlook in your kids, without being overly pushy?
Here are 15 must know secrets and tips to happy parenting!
- Prioritize your marriage: Several successful therapists emphasize the need to strengthen your marriage. While parents think that sacrificing their relationship and focusing on their children is the way to go, it does more harm than good. Families that are entirely centered over kids, lead to anxious kids and very exhausted parents. Strengthen your marriage by small gestures like hugging each other, spending 20 minutes a day talking to each other and greeting. You will see this act as a positive influence on your kids.
- Celebrate as a family often: A happy family needs no reason to huddle together and celebrate. These small little celebrations increase the bonding between the family members. The celebrations need not be elaborate, expensive and fancy. Going to the park together, or eating ice cream over the weekend can be simple ways to spend some quality family time. Remember, happy families lead to happy children!
- Praise Efforts Over Achievement: This does not come easy to half of the parent folk, who squirm to see their kids on the dais and leave no stone unturned in comparing their kids with their peers. It is simply ingrained in the DNA s of parents that they beam when their child gets an A and sulk when they get anything lower than that. Latest studies suggest that kids who understand that their parents strive on high achievement and grades are likely to show signs of anxiety and depression sooner or later. It is, therefore, important for you as a parent to shift your focus on how much effort your child is putting rather than the scores he gets. Remember, no two children are alike and to compare your child with the class topper is no less than a sin of a parent!
- Do not treat all your kids alike: It cannot be emphasized enough that no two kids are alike or should be compared. As parents, we often use the elder child to set a benchmark for the younger. Comparisons are but natural, in a family with more than one child. A study the University of Washington has indicated that parents who tend to compare their kids and their progress are half as likely to end up parenting children with anxiety or depression. If one of your child craves more attention, do not hold yourself back from giving him that extra hug, without feeling that you are playing favorites.
- Eat together: Modern families struggle to spend time together. With both parents working and kids attending a dozen classes, something as simple as having a meal together has becomes a rarity today. But, studies indicate that kids who have their meals with their family are seen to be more successful. These kids exude great self-confidence, get better grades and can express themselves well. They tend to ward off psychological issues too!
- Let your kids play: Let your kids play. Well, not on the iPad but in the outdoors. Quality playtime is quintessential in a child’s learning and growth. Research explicitly states that the lesser unstructured play time your child has, the more likely it is that he will show signs of developmental stress. Many doctors also second that a child who is allowed to indulge in unstructured play tends to perform better in academics.
- Take care of yourselves: This is important – very important! Do not feel obligated to use the last bit of energy in you tending to your kids. Take a break every now and then and do things you enjoy. It is only when you are stress free that you can take good care of your kids. Hit the gym if you are the active kinds, or simply take a relaxing bath when you feel like it. You will find both yourself and your kids infinitely happy when you are relaxed.
- Reward good behavior: Positive reinforcement goes a long way in your child’s growth and learning. Not only should you think positively and teach your kids to be good, but also reward them from time to time for having done something good. This will motivate them to stay on the right path. You can give something as simple as a muffin when you child helps you put away the dishes! The smile you get in return will be worth a million dollars!
- Build Routines: Yes, this is something every parent must do. And a good routine at home is the biggest secret behind a happy family. Your home needs a routine, you need a routine and your kids need one too. It helps you stay organized and less cluttered. Wake up the same time, sleep the same time and eat around the same time. While these changes are small, you will see how it falls into place in the larger scheme of things.
- Stay Realistic: Do not expect grandiose things from your kids just because you got straight As in school. It is okay that your child does not get an A grade or cannot play the piano like you can. Be patient and help your child explore her strengths. With some experimenting and patience you will help your child seek what he likes best and achieve.
- Connect with your Kid: After all the mayhem of the day, running to catch the bus, and a dozen after school activities, and resolving fights between the kids, it is but natural that you just want to hit the sack. But, when you do this you become disconnected and will struggle to find a balance in your life. True happiness lies when you can connect with your child. This is when your child will come back to you for things both small and big. He will know he can rely on you and you are more than just the rule setter. Carve out some time with your child and talk to him. You can talk about school, his interests, his favorite actor and a dozen other things. While this may sound naïve and childish to you, your child will be praising you in his mind!
- Stop yelling: This is easily the most difficult thing for you to do as a parent. In fact, many parents think it is their birth right to be able to yell at the blink of an eye for the smallest of reasons. But, this will make your child anxious and pressed to do things under pressure. Take a deep breath, laugh out loud, or go splash some water on your face to cool off. A lot many things can be handled easily without blowing your top. To see you yell less, will be reassuring to your child and do you a lot of good too.
- Let it go: You are not super mom and you cannot do everything. If you are volunteering or doing two jobs, or handling more than you can, it is time you retrospect, how much you can handle without buckling under the pressure. Re-plan your schedule to align with the time you have in hand. This way you will feel less depleted and wasted.
- Retail therapy: What if we said some shopping once in a while is one of the biggest secrets behind happy and stress free parenting? The odds that you will laugh it off is high! However, retail therapy is the best therapy for the nerves. Either go indulge in shopping for clothes in a mall or plan a small budget holiday. Every mom and dad deserve a break, and so do you!
- Rate your stress: Stop and think every now and then on how stressed you feel on a scale of 1 to 10. The time you take off to meditate on how you feel, in itself can be a booster. Stop and have a cup of coffee or call a friend when you feel too stressed. Discuss about your kids and how your friends deal with a certain situation to get some ideas and tips that you can incorporate into your life too!
These tips may seem bookish to a few of you and not practical for a few others. But, trust us when we say these are tried and tested tips that are a secret behind several happy families across the globe! What is the secret behind your parenting? Leave your comments in the section below!