There are things as a parent that we know we should do, but as the days get busier and routines set in, often we tend to overlook what is really important and focus on what we need to achieve that day. In this article, I have highlighted 5 points that you need to focus on.
On a Friday evening, reflect on your week and ensure that you covered all five points. In no time, it will become a habit and you will begin to notice that you have well-balanced, emotionally mature children. On top of this you will see that your weeks have less conflict and your overall relationship with your children will be awesome.
1. DON’T JUST LOOK, BUT SEE
When we are busy, we tend to miss the signs our children are giving us.
- Are our children happy?
- Are they eating correctly?
- Are they getting the right amount of sleep?
- Has anything changed emotionally?
Children are often not forth coming with information. By focussing on the above you will be able to pick up any signs that your child is dealing with a situation that they are not happy with. Whether it is someone being ugly to them or a feeling of isolation. If they are finding things overwhelming and are not coping. Are they anxious or depressed? It is better to deal with an issue, (big or small), when it first begins. Your child will be far more willing to open up about what is going on if you speak about it immediately, than they will be when they feel that the situation is too hard to deal with and there is no turning back.
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR CHILDS TEACHER AND PEARS
If you have a good relationship with your child’s teacher, he/she will understand how your family unit works and what your family goals and values are. This way if your child starts behaving in a different manner or if there is a change in their attitude and emotional response, the teacher will contact you immediately and together you will be able to obtain what the issue is. The other positive is that if there is anything that you are unhappy with, you will feel comfortable contacting them to discuss the matter. By becoming familiar with your child’s pears, you will be able to ensure that your child is associating themselves with children that have been raised with the same values and morals. Discuss other children’s behaviour with your child and help them to learn how to judge good characters. At the end of the day, we cannot choose who our children are friends with, but we can teach them to build friendships with the “right crowd” if you start this from young. It will help ensure that when they are older, they have all the tools needed to choose their friends carefully.
3. WORK ON SOCIAL SKILLS
In order for your child to be happy and successful, they will need to learn appropriate social behaviour. I know this sound like I am stating the obvious, but it takes a lot of hard work and practice to teach a child how to respond appropriately. To teach them not to over react, become vocal or respond in anger. They need to learn that there are always consequences to their actions. Teach them how to express their feelings without frustration, disappointment and anger. They need to learn how to react without hurting others. We need to teach them not to sulk or storm off when they are unhappy with the outcome of a situation. These responses are so hard for children. They need to learn to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Once they grasp this, it will be easier for them to cope with situations and be mindful of what they say to others.
4. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO BE INDEPENDENT
As a Mom, it is our job to ensure that our children have everything that they need for the day, but if we are constantly packing and unpacking their bags for them, they will never learn to do it themselves. It is sometimes healthy for them to forget items. This will help them concentrate on what they need and ensure that they double check that they have packed everything. Independence is so good for their self-confidence and will help them grow. Teach them to clean up after themselves. Make them aware of watching the time. A great idea is to ask them to help you, by telling you when it is time to go. This will help them with time management as well as teach them to stay on task. It is far better to let them know that you will check things when they are finished, than it is to do it with them every step of the way. We have already completed School, so it is not our job to do it for them, but to help where needed. Our children need to learn that we live in a house, not a hotel. Don’t let your children think that they can sit around and be waited on. Get them to pull their weight and help you with chores. Make dinner preparation a group effort. Teach them to set and clear the table. Independence will boost your child’s self-esteem.
5. WORK ON BUILDING OPEN COMMUNICATION
When you first see your child after school, don’t ask them how their day was, as you are setting yourself up for the famous “FINE”. Rather ask them questions about their day. Who did they play with? What did they do? What was their best part? What was their worst part? This will give you a good indication of what is going on during their school day. The second part when it comes to communication is to have interactive conversation with them. For example: My son came home and told me that a friend of his had been very mean to him for a few days. After he had explained what was going on, we discussed how he reacted and if it was the best way to deal with the situation. I then told him that he had a few options:
- He could speak to the child concerned and let him know that he was not happy with how he was being treated.
- He could speak to his teacher and ask her to help him.
- He could speak to the child’s mother and tell her what was happening.
I could do one of the above. The choice was his as to how he wanted the situation dealt with. Through this one incident, he realised that he can talk to me about anything and I will help him resolve it. He also realised that he had options available and he could choose the one that he was most comfortable with. We are sometimes so quick to take the situation into our own hands and try and fix it, but when you give your child the tools to deal with it themselves they are far more willing to talk to you about situations as they know that you will always support them. The third side to communication is by far the hardest and I have been working very hard on it. The third side is the non-reactive response. We are by nature emotional beings and when it comes to our children, it is very hard to keep our emotions at bay. The bottom line is that the way you react will determine how willing your children are to discuss anything and everything with you. Let’s say that your child tells you that they took something from the shop without paying for it. The immediate response would be to shout at them, possibly tell them that they had to return it and explain to the store manager that they are sorry and will never do it again and then punish them. The non-reactive response is to ask them why they did it. How they feel about what they did and how do they think they can fix the situation? This way of communication is far harder than it sounds. It does not mean that your children will not be punished for wrong doings. What it means is that they will begin to realise that they can speak to you about anything. They understand that you will always listen to their side of the story and you are there for them no matter what. Unfortunately, the children of today have so much more to deal with than we ever had. If we don’t start building open, honest communication from the beginning, the chances are that when they get to the big stuff they will not feel comfortable coming to us, as that open bond will not exist and conversations will feel awkward. Thys will also feel afraid and unsure of how you will react, so they would rather not say anything at all.
Magic Moms wished all you amazing Moms, lots of new family bonds that last a live time.