Positive Parenting Strategies to overcome the most common parenting pitfalls:
The 4 Most Common Parenting Pitfalls:
1. Consistency ~
(or lack there of Reinforcing follow-up and or follow through). Routines take time to become established or even tweaked, do your best to stay consistent.
2. Habit ~
3. Giving up or Giving in too soon ~
Mistaking (over) intensified reactions as “not working”. Sometimes a storm before the calm comes when we’re trying on a new parenting tool that your child isn’t expecting. Use your best judgment here so that you don’t fall into #4
4. Starting from scratch (too often)
Kids grow and change SO much that one strategy, that WAS working may one day not work. When you notice that your morning routine, for example, is not longer working for you (or your child) then it MAY be time to make a change or some changes.
Kids are constantly growing and with that their needs change. It’s damn near impossible to keep up sometimes (especially if you have multiple children). Consider that it takes about 21 days for an adult to change a habit (or routine). If you’re changing your routine be mindful the change is not too often.
Steps to Overcome Parenting Pitfalls:
Be aware of your own behavior
When my behavior is off, so is my son’s. When I am aware of it then I can correct it. Also, I have a tool that I use when I am at my best mommy game. I call it “Nice Mommy Freight Train”. Example: We were having a ’bout of separation anxiety and it was tearing me up, and he knew it! He was basically playing me like a violin and I kept getting sucked into it from mom guilt from working so much. So I corrected our routine to include time for just us.
Most weeks it was a fun outing or mommy and me date (a couple of hours just us at a city park or playing outside doing what HE wanted to. (within reason of course… there was a request for Disney World in there). I gave him a choice between 2 options “Do you want to go to the park with mommy or do you want to go home and play soccer?” (offer whatever interests your own child).
Children are HIGHLY in tune with the emotions of the adults they spend time with. It is because they are equipped with what scientists call “Mirror Neurons”.
- Excerpt from: Positive Discipline: Birth to 3 years “Have you ever wondered how your baby learns to clap his hands, wave bye-bye or “gimme five”? Researchers describe the presence in the human brain of “mirror neurons,” which perceive physical action, facial expression, and emotion and prepare the brain to duplicate what it “sees”. When you play peekaboo with your baby, his mirror neurons help him figure out how to imitate you. In the same way when you are angry, excited or anxious, his mirror neurons will “catch” your emotion and create that same feeling within him… By the way, mirror neurons work in both directions. If you are calm when dealing with your little one, he is more likely to be calm as well, a helpful idea to remember when the inevitable tantrums occur!”
If I get frustrated easily, raise my voice, have little to no patience for myself or others and my child starts to behave this way as well. Sometimes I don’t notice my behavior UNTIL my child is behaving this way.
Set a routine, stick to it:
NOTE: As children develop routines do need to be modified. Feel free to modify as often as necessary. We modify our routine every few months as developmental needs change. It’s important to keep routines flexible AND consistent.
Aim to keep the same schedule as much as possible. It’s great to teach flexibility and patience on the days where the routine cannot be kept entirely.
Take time to recharge yourself:
Sometimes this means to build in alone time into your routine without your kids (hire a sitter, call a relative trade an hour of two or care with your bestie) and sometimes it means to build quiet time into your routine with your kids. Enjoy a quiet activity together like arts and crafts or drawing or reading a book.
If you have the luxury of a babysitter or daycare USE them & don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself to recharge.
- MOM HACK: Part of our routine includes a quiet “time”. A quiet play-based learning period or nap if you kids still nap. For example: after teaching all day I am really tired and sometimes am exhausted and literally have nothing to give. This gives me a little space to get dinner on the table and everyone fed with less interruptions.
Rotate toys and activities
This may sound silly and unrelated but kids often get themselves in trouble when they’re “bored”.
- Picasso Tiles
- making a snack (snack-necklace, use Cheerios &/ or pretzels, and a piece of twine or yarn with one end waxed with bee’s wax. it helps them thread with ease independently. Also we make “banana man” )
- One night a week he helps me make dinner or dessert. We make a simple dinner (usually wash & chop ingredients and throw them in the pressure cooker or he helps stir cookie dough or cake batter a lot).
We have mommy & me time 2-3 days per week. Then I have 4 days that I can prepare dinner with less interruptions. He still frequently checks in but I am able to work much better & we are both getting some quiet focus time that we need!
Do a little bit everyday
For some writing out a To-Do list helps and crossing off one item a day. For others creating a schedule and sticking to it works better.
Celebrate baby steps
Any step towards your goal is worth celebrating. Every step gets you closer to the end result so honor that next time something doesn’t work out according to plan. Know you are doing your best and move on. This is the only way I know how to make progress.