Being a parent is a difficult and challenging role. As parents, we doubt ourselves because there is no magic map leading us to the right answers. Even though there are many books on parenting, there are no set “how to succeed at parenting” instructions. Parenting is not a guided tour. It is a “learn by the seat of your pants” kind of gig. No two kids are the same and you will have to use different approaches with different kids.
Even though parenting will be different for everyone, there are a couple of basic things we can do to make ensure that our children feel comfortable confiding in us. We cannot control what happens in their lives but we can make sure that they come to us when they need advice or someone to lean on. This will not happen overnight; it takes years to build that trust. We have to sow the seeds of trust and love from infancy and be consistent, so that the trust keeps growing.
Communication is also a very important element in raising children. It is not about how much you talk to your children but how you talk to them and what you say to them. Always listen to your children and give them your full attention while they are talking, so they know that their issues are important to you. Life can be very hectic at times, so make family traditions such as sharing their daily experiences during meal times. Some children prefer to talk about their problems once they are in the safety of their beds. Therefore, tuck them into their beds every night and ask them about their problems. After listening to them and giving them advice, hug and kiss them good night.
Here is a list of activities that you can try:
- Having meals together at least once a day
- Read books to children nightly
- Weekly groceries
- Outdoor time- hiking, walking, running, swimming, biking, soccer etc.
- Cooking/baking together
- Playing board games/cards
- Get haircuts together
Here is a list of traditions that families can try:
There are so many things that a parent can do to make sure that their family grows happy and loved. Everyone is busy and things can be hectic, but we should make sure we do at least one activity with our children. Don’t worry about keeping the house clean/perfect because children may not remember how clean your house was but they will remember the time you spent with them.
- Weekly movie/popcorn nights at home
- Weekly family cleanup day
- Weekly game nights at home
- Weekly homemade burger/pizza day (or any dish that is most loved in the family)
- Plan for a monthly one-on-one time with each child, doing something she/he enjoys
- Yearly vacations/trips
- Yearly camping trips
- Annual fruits picking
- Museum/fair visits
- Having desserts first on birthdays
- Family cooking a special breakfast for the birthday person