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As a parent, you have so much on your plate, from shuttling kids between activities to balancing chores with your job. All the while, there’s a voice in the back of your head reminding you that you need to make it all look easy, or at least bearable!
After all, you want to be a positive role model for your family.
At times, juggling these responsibilities can feel like a lot of pressure. But you can’t set a good example when you’re at your wits’ end.
In this short guide, we’ll give our top parenting tips to set a good example and give yourself a little TLC in the process.
It can feel incredibly difficult to make time for self-care as a parent when you have so many responsibilities to fulfill.
As a brand-new mother or father, you may not even be able to find time to sleep!
When you’re feeling overextended, it’s that much more important to recharge your batteries so that you can be more present for your other family members.
We recommend that you implement daily self-care into your routine. Some days, you may have time for a luxurious bath, and sometimes, there are only five minutes to spare.
Based on your available energy and time, try out the following:
- Use your baby’s naptime to lay down in bed and listen to your favorite album even if you’re too caffeinated or wound up to actually nap.
- Take your kid on a walk and pay attention to your surroundings, letting nature nourish your senses.
- Call a good friend while you’re out doing errands. Catch up and remember your life outside of parenthood or swap notes on more self-care strategies.
- Indulge in a gently nourishing bath time routine to wash off some of the day’s grime and get relaxed before you hit the sheets. Need to bathe your baby? Hop in together!
- Buy yourself a gift. It’s tempting to spend every last dollar on your kids, but remember that they’ll just grow out of toys and clothes. If there’s something on your wish-list that you could enjoy for years to come, let yourself have it.
If you’re able to make time for yourself—even just a few minutes—try to spend it doing something you love rather than idly scrolling through the internet.
When exhaustion from the hustle and bustle of the day kicks in, it’s tempting to give in to your kid’s request for an extra twenty minutes of screen-time, the toy in the store window, or the unhealthy snack they’ve been begging for.
But unfortunately, being inconsistent managing your child’s behavior can teach your kids that “no” doesn’t always mean “no.”
In time, inconsistency teaches them that throwing a tantrum or otherwise escalating their behavior can get them what they want.
Good parenting can take many shapes and forms. Whatever your parenting style, stay consistent in the following areas:
- Screen time
- Chores and tasks
- Consequences for bad behavior
Having clear boundaries will help your child learn to make healthy decisions about their behavior as adults.
Have you recently changed your mind on a previously-held rule?
As a parent, your approach might have to shift from time-to-time. However, it can be disconcerting for a child to learn that their previous hour of screen time has been rolled back to thirty minutes.
You want your child to feel the world is fair. To achieve this, explain why you’re changing your family’s rules and norms. (Hint: explain the reasoning within the context of your child’s health and happiness. Using the “because I said so!” rationale may not be as effective.)
That way, your child will feel safe even in the midst of changes to their schedule and routines.
Help Your Children Feel Secure
Trustworthiness is one of the most important qualities of good parents.
There are many people who rely on you. But even if you strive to be dependable, it’s easy to let little things slip through the cracks, whether that’s forgetting to set up a play-date or neglecting to complete a morning household chore.
It’s extra-important to show your little ones that you’re reliable so that they feel unconditional love and cared for.
How can you do that?
- Keep your promises.
- Set clear rules and boundaries as well as consequences for transgressing them.
- If you do something wrong, acknowledge it right away. Let your child know that even grown-ups make mistakes. And when they do, they apologize.
In addition, make yourself available to your child. Let them know that you’re always there to talk and that you’ll listen.
Have you ever had a conversation with a family member where you weren’t totally present?
Maybe you kept nodding your head and saying yes or no until they asked you a question. Suddenly, you had no idea how to answer. You barely knew the context of the conversation!
When we’re stretched thin, it’s incredibly tempting to tune out. But when we don’t listen to our loved ones, it can lead to miscommunication and hurt feelings.
Try out the following strategies:
- When you’re listening to your child, get on their level, make eye contact, and give them your full attention.
- If you’re just too tired for a conversation, ask if you can have it later.
- If you miss something, admit it. Try a phrase like “I’m sorry that I missed that. But I’m listening now—could you repeat it?”
- Make time to listen to your partner, too!
Sometimes, you want nothing more than to head to the McDonalds drive-through, stock up on french fries and sodas, and forget all about the multi-step process of shopping, cooking, and cleaning up your kitchen.
Yet you know that a well-balanced, nutritious diet is vital to your growing child’s health (and of course your own, too). In addition, the healthy family habits that you model now will impact your child’s choices in the future. This is especially true with tweens and teens, check our self care for teens article to learn more.
If you want to make meal-prep easier, consider the following options:
- When friends and family members offer holiday or just-because gifts, ask for healthy meals from a local vendor.
- Try a natural meal-prep kit subscription to simplify shopping and reduce food waste.
Beyond healthy eating, there are many other ways to model a lifestyle that upholds personal health and the health of the planet.
- Eco-friendly products can reduce your family’s carbon footprint and set your kids on the path to a greener lifestyle.
- Natural, clean products are formulated without chemicals that can irritate children’s sensitive skin and disrupt other bodily systems.
Next, we’ll take a look at two other areas where you can make an impact via your consumer choices.
Choose Clean Personal Care Products
What’s in your children’s shampoo and body wash? Do you know what ingredients to avoid in skincare?
As you know, many children have sensitive skin. Harsh chemicals can lead to reactions ranging from dryness to redness and itchiness.
Beyond visible irritation, some ingredients may have an adverse effect over time.
- Artificial and chemical substances like phthalates and parabens may be lurking on the ingredients list under names like “fragrance.”
- Some of these substances are readily absorbed through the skin, and over time, they may affect the endocrine system.
Of course, kids aren’t the only ones with skin issues! This should be all the motivation you need to switch the entire family to clean personal care products?
What do you use to clean your home?
For years, bleach and other harsh chemical cleaners were the gold standard for killing the bacteria, mold, and viruses that cling to household surfaces.
However, the EPA now warns that some ingredients may have the following impact:
- Irritation to the eyes and skin
- Disruption to the endocrine system, the body’s chemical messaging system
- Environmental runoff
These days, we know that it’s possible to achieve the same level of cleanliness using nontoxic, natural products. Try disinfecting surfaces with chlorine-bleach free spray to achieve a sparkling shine without that tell-tale chemical smell!
Of the many parenting styles out there, “positive parenting” is gaining popularity. If you were yelled at as a child, you know the shame and sadness that can result when parents lose their tempers. That alone may be a motivation to try out a different parenting technique.
Better yet, positive parenting has proven benefits for childrens’ long-term emotional health. This positive discipline and positive reinforcement will have a huge impact on your child’s life.
How can you parent positively?
- Focus more on what your child does right than what they’ve done wrong
- Reward good behavior
- Encourage your child’s self-esteem
- Allow your child to take risks and responsibilities
- Remind them that failure is okay—it’s just that more effort is needed
As an added benefit, striving to maintain a positive and conflict-free space in your home can help improve adult relationships, too!
Throughout your parenting journey, you’ll inevitably make mistakes—and that’s okay. Just keep in mind that the messages you’re giving your child are actually true. Failure is okay. You’ll do better next time.
Keep Your Home Honest
You’ll notice one common thread in the advice above—it’s important to maintain clear, open communication with yourself and with others so that issues are aired out and acknowledged rather than swept under the rug.
Honesty isn’t always easy, but we make it simple to achieve one of your household goals. At Honest we use clear, transparent sourcing practices to create clean personal care and cleaning products for your home.
With one thing crossed off your lift, you might find it’s that much easier to achieve your other goals and continue setting a good example for your family by being an effective parent.
Today’s Parent. 6 ways to be a more consistent parent. https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/6-ways-to-be-a-more-consistent-parent/
Positive Psychology. What is positive parenting? https://positivepsychology.com/positive-parenting/
EPA. Identifying Greener Cleaning Policies. https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/identifying-greener-cleaning-products
CDC. Active listening. https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/communication/activelistening.html
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Endocrine Disruptors