5 Simple Changes I Made This Year That Transformed My Parenting that You Can Do Too!
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By Jailan Heidar
I don’t know about you but 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me! After settling in from our move from Amsterdam to Munich last year and taking a breather. I started getting to know the local community, supporting local families and had a little baby join us this summer! It’s been a lot to deal with and my positive parenting practices were being tested to my limits. Things needed to change.
Today I wanted to share with you 5 things I changed in my parenting this year that transformed our family dynamics.
First, while prepping for some of the online courses I run. I began reading in depth about how the child’s brain works. Dr. Daniel Siegel talks about Connecting Before Correcting. Which means connecting emotionally with your child in an emotional situation before correcting the behavior. Why is that? Shouldn’t we be disciplining and addressing the misbehavior? YES! But in the next step. Children need that connection first by ACKNOWLEDGING their feelings to connect with the emotional more active side of their brain and get their attention. Once they feel heard and validated even if you aren’t on their side. Your child will be more open to discussing the misbehavior and solutions.
We have been doing this in our family with my 3-year-old and I can see the difference in how quickly he calms down when he hears his feelings being acknowledged and then in his willingness to discuss the behavior and think of solutions with me.
Try this out next time your child starts having a meltdown by just acknowledging how sad (s)he is.
The next big change I did to my parenting this year was to involve more SELF CARE. Happier and more relaxed parents
In previous years I always put myself last and got burnt out and PPD. This time around with a new baby I am working on giving some time for myself. For me personally, it’s getting 2 hours in the morning for one day each week where I can be baby free. I also make sure the kids are both in bed by 8 as much as possible. Even if they are up I hand them over to their dad. 8 PM is when my mama shift is over and I get to sit with a hot chocolate and watch some Netflix or read a book. I don’t answer phone calls, texts or emails if they aren’t urgent during that time. I’ve learned to say No this is my self-care time and I have to put myself first. It’s only an hour a day at most I’m sure everyone will manage fine without me in that time 🙂 One of the best baby gifts I got was a
You might be able to do the same, have a different situation or find pleasure in other things. Whatever it is, make SELF CARE a PRIORITY for this year. Even if it’s something as simple as sitting with a cup of tea in silence once a day. FInd out what you need for your self-care and add it to your list for the new year!
For several weeks now we have completely cut off any and all screen time for our 3 year old. The reason? Well in our particular situation screen time was limited to an hour and still made my son more hyperactive and he acted out more after screen viewing. It became a situation where the joy of some quiet time and fun cartoon watching wasn’t worth the meltdowns and tantrums that followed.
His behavior was really in line with the research that shows that children become more hyperactive after screen time as their body movement tries to catch up with their brain activity. For us after cutting screen time The result is that he is a much happier child who is exploring his other toys and is participating in more imaginative play.
This doesn’t mean you should do exactly the same BUT you should consider limiting screen time to just 2 hours a day for young children and no screen time at all for children under 2 which is the APA recomme ndation. If your child is struggling to fall asleep, go to bed or seems tired in the morning screen time might play a part. Check if your child is being exposed to any blue light screens such as mobiles or tablets before bedtime. These keep us awake more than regular screens like the TV. Avoiding any screens an hour before bed can really help your child settle into the bedtime routine will, fall asleep easier and sleep better overall.
Think about what small or big screen time changes you can make in your home that could make other daily activities more relaxed and less of a struggle.
Making many changes in our parenting or family can be overwhelming and too much to do that we end up not doing anything at all. This year I started a weekly initiative with the families on my Positive Parenting FB Page and Munich Community Group. Every week I put a small target for myself and my family to try to make life better and work on ourselves one little step at a time. It helps me keep myself from feeling overwhelmed or asking too much of myself, kids and husband. One week it could be as simple as, insist that 3-year-old feed himself this week. Or as complex as deciding to spend more time focusing on his fine motor skills so he gets the practice which would then involve looking up activity ideas, getting material and allocating time each day. Now, Think about your parenting goals.
Ask yourself how you can break them down so they’re not overwhelming. Then put the most important changes you want to make at the top of the list. From the top 3 choose the easiest one you can start with and make that this week’s goal
Finally last but not least. One of the most powerful and impactful changes has been making a conscious choice to spend daily special time with my 3-year-old.
Every evening when he comes home from kindergarten I play 10 minutes with him while dinner is bubbling away. Then I go and finish preparing dinner. Before we added this little change to our routine I would great him while preparing dinner and attempt to talk and play with him while I was visibly preoccupied with something else. The result was a mix of tantrums, acting out for attention and plain feelings of sadness. Now not only does this send him a message that he’s a priority and of course I miss him while he’s away. He’s also much more agreeable and happier after that. I also spend a few minutes in bed with him each night talking about his day.This works because it’s a quiet and calm space and there are no toys or activities to distract from just having a conversation and connecting.
Look at your daily routine and schedule and see where and how you can fit a bit of uninterrupted special time with your child. Which also means no phone or chores 🙂 It doesn’t have to be something complex or hours long.Set yourself a 10-15 minute special target with your child.
Want to Find More Positive Solutions to Your Daily Parenting Challenges?
If you’ve connected with these Positive Parenting tools and you’re interested in making this year the year for transforming your parenting and adding Positive Parenting to your life, I am happy to support your family and schedule a one-on-one consult.
Instead of feeling lost, helpless and frustrated I want you to parent with solutions and confidence!
You’ll learn parenting tools to help you deal with daily struggles and frustrations you may be having with your young child. You’ll understand what your child is and isn’t capable of emotionally, socially and physically so you can provide the right age-appropriate solutions. You’ll feel more resourceful and confident in your parenting.
The theme we’ll discuss is all about behaviors and emotions. We’ll talk about techniques to stay calm, dealing with tantrums, crying, sleep, attention-seeking behavior and how you can support your child in sharing and developing empathy.