I can not believe it….My little girl will be turning six in just six. Where does the time go???! I am such a different mum to how I was back in those early days when I was so unknowing and vulnerable. I remember my sister saying to me when I was desperately seeking out parenting tips when we were in the thick of the terrible twos, that things would get easier. She was absolutely right about that! Though I know from all my friends with older children that things will get harder again come the teen years.
The beauty of motherhood and indeed parenting is, that it is always evolving. With every year you become stronger, wiser, more confident in your parenting. It’s a beautiful thing when you compare it to the WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING-ness of those initial years.
With that said, for every lovely one reading this I wanted to share my parenting tips from five years of parenting.
Parenting tip #1: Know that this too shall pass
The first five years of parents sees so many different phases and quite frankly each year feels like a different decade! Know that you WILL sleep again after the baby days, and while the twos can be hideous at times, and the threes be especially tyrannical, with some major attitude going on at times during the fours…it’s not like that every hour of every day. There are amazing rainbows in-between the storms so just be sure to ride those while you can, and hope the thunderclouds pass as quickly as they came.
Parenting tip #2: Fill up their cup
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last five years is that if your child is being a pain in the bum, it’s usually because they are running on empty in some way. And I don’t mean in their sippy cup. It’s usually that either their physical or emotional cup is empty. More often than not I have found this to be emotional, although at times it’s often that they are just plain exhausted from the ridiculous demands of modern day life.
Filling up your child’s emotional cup with some power attention or connection by you can really help to flip their switch to happy, non-whiney mode. So next time you’re thinking about prioritizing that seemingly endless washing basket, instead shunt it to the side for half an hour, get down on the floor and play with your child, give them a massive cuddle, connect with them and fill up their cup. I promise you they will be less of a whinge-bag for it!
Parenting tip #3: You can never love enough
As far as I can see, every adult that seems to be a hot emotional mess got that way because they didn’t get enough love as a child. Yes I know this is a very black and white way of looking at things, but I have come across far too much proof of this in my life to ignore that this HAS to be true. Children therefore in my book can never been given enough love – not to be confused with spoiling, because children also need very clear boundaries. They absolutely crave our love, so let’s help them become well adjusted adults by making sure they have enough of it.
Parenting tip #4: Self esteem is all that matters
This is the other thing that so many adults seem to struggle with – self esteem. And given that the foundations of everyone’s self esteem is built during childhood, then if there’s one thing we should be doing for our children, it’s to help them have really great self esteem. Of course, not to be confused with over inflating their egos but – but instead…let them have a crack, give them choices, praise where praise is due (be sure to praise the process) and the biggest win on the self esteem front? Let them know they are special to you by spending time and connecting with them.
Parenting tip #5: If your child is being a s***..
Unless your child is the stuff that dreams are made of, there will be times – lots of them – that they will be an utter pain in the you know what. While it’s easy to think that they are being manipulative (and yes they can be), or worse still even trying to push you to the brink of insanity, most of the time it’s because something else is going on – usually they that are working on a new milestone or developmental leap.
I have come to recognise this so well in my own daughter – her whole face literally changes, we have a week of extremely ropy behaviour and family relations and then ta-dah! it’s like the sunshine bursts through her face and she can magically do or say all these new things. You know what they say – no pain, no gain.
Bonus parenting tip: Don’t beat yourself up
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, day or child. Stuff goes wrong, you lose the plot and have a massive paddy, your child has an epic meltdown. This is all normal in parenting. This is stuff everybody goes through, and if they don’t have these kinds of days…or weeks, well quite frankly….they are LYING!
If things aren’t going your way, if it feels like everything you touch turns to turd, if you literally feel like the worst mum EVER that day, don’t let yourself cascade into a massive negative spiral – instead, accept the day for whatever it was (and however bad it was), go to bed early, and know that tomorrow is a new day!
So there are my top five parenting tips (plus a bonus one!) from five years of parenting. What would you add to this list. Do share in a comment below