Having your first child can be the most magical experience of your life, but it can also be daunting. Many first time parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the ‘perfect’ parent but the fact is that knowing ‘the right thing to do’ doesn’t always necessarily come naturally.
Don’t panic – there is help all around you – from your friends who are already on their second child to the wisdom of your own parents, or useful self-help books. Read on for some advice on good parenting and remember that love really is all you need.
Keep life in order
Children need order and routine to provide them with the stability to flourish. Try to stick to regular bed times and plan ahead for meals so you can sit down together as a family to eat.
Give your children jobs to do around the house for certain rewards, like extra play time or a fun day out, and soon they will learn the importance of work.
It won’t be long before your children become obsessed with all things digital, especially smartphones and internet. This can eventually expose them to all sorts of inappropriate content that freely floats in cyber space, putting their safety and psychological development at risk. Use parental control apps on devices in children’s use to shield them from the bad stuff on the internet by blocking inappropriate websites and content, thus making their digital experience both safe and productive.
Celebrate what makes your child unique and try to encourage them to pursue their own interests and dreams – even if it’s not what you imagined they would do.
Praising your child and recognising their achievements from an early age helps build their confidence and self-esteem for the future.
Try not to criticise
The most important thing to remember when your child misbehaves is that it is their behaviour which is unacceptable, not them themselves. Aim for stern/serious rather than angry/mean when you are telling them off and make sure you point out exactly what they have done wrong.
Live by your own rules and set good examples for your children to follow.
Be a good role model
Show your kids the right lifestyle choices to make through your own actions. If you smoke or consume excessive amounts of alcohol, your children will only grow up thinking this is a normal part of adulthood.
If you want your kids to listen to you, be a good listener, and if you want them to be generous and kind, show them how to be.
Kick bad habits
Your vices don’t just set a bad habit to your children, they can also be very damaging to your child’s health. Second hand smoke is a significant health hazard and excessive alcohol consumption could mean you are unable to properly take care of your kids.
Make them feel safe
Respect your children’s privacy and don’t invade their personal space – it’s important for any human to have a sense of their own private space. Hang up family photographs around the home, to give a sense of belonging and if you feel an argument brewing with your spouse try to keep it behind closed doors – as arguing parents can make children feel insecure.
Prioritise quality time
Whether you’re spending time with your biological family or a child from foster care, set aside some all-important time for fun. Life can get bogged down with chores and work responsibilities, so make sure you plan some fun things to do that include all the family. These are the times memories are made of.
Show love and affection
Most importantly, make sure your children feel loved. Show them they are loved unconditionally and your kids will grow up as happy, well-rounded individuals.