Being a parent is hard work but it does have great rewards. Children are our best chance to make a difference in the world. What they become depends on how they are raised, taught and the opportunities they are given. They depend on their parents for everything for the first dozen years of their life.
It is vital for parents to remember that children reach milestones at different ages. Parents feel like there is something wrong with their child if they don’t do things by a certain age, such as walking or talking. However, if your child is way past due for certain things, such as walking or communicating, take them to the doctor for testing.
For young children, don’t underestimate the power of naps. They need more sleep than an older kid. Children can usually stop napping around five or six years old. Young toddlers should be taking up to two naps a day, and children 1.5 and older should still be taking one nap per day.
Teach your child through example. You cannot successfully teach your children right from wrong if you are constantly doing the things that you tell your child are wrong to do. They are bound to follow your lead so keep you actions and words in check when those little eyes and ears are upon you.
The number one, most important tip about parenting has got to be that you must be there for your child. Children need and want your physical presence as well as your listening ear. If your child knows that you are right there to listen to their needs, it will go a long way in strengthening your relationship.
Establish a relaxing, fun bedtime routine to help ensure your child a good night’s sleep. When a child is having fun playing, or excited about what he is doing, it’s a real mood-buster to hear the dreaded words, “Bedtime. Right now!” Instead, try to wind down the evening with a 15 minute warning, followed by a bedtime snack, tooth-brushing, or maybe a few minutes of cuddling on the couch. An interesting, funny, or happy bedtime story is the perfect end to your child’s routine, as it gives him some alone time with you and helps him relax on his way to dreamland!
If your child is afraid of going to bed alone, do not encourage them to come and lie in the bed with you. Make sure that they sleep in their own beds and reassure them that they are safe. You can even assign one of their stuffed animals to be a “bodyguard.”
A great parenting tip is to start letting your child wear what he or she wants to wear at an early age. If you continue to pick out your child’s outfit everyday, kids at school will start to make fun of him or her, which will hurt your child’s self-esteem.
Even though most parents work hard to give their children everything they need, sometimes it is not enough. I have two children and four grandchildren and believe the one thing children need from their parents is to know they are loved. Just giving them material things is not enough.