One of the greatest privileges on Earth is becoming a parent. When you have the opportunity to raise children and see them become unique individuals, few circumstances can bring you more joy.
The problem is that raising kids is incredibly difficult. You become responsible for the survival of another human. When they are very young, you have to provide everything for them. As they get older, you must be the one to teach them about the world around them. You have to tell them how to be safe and make good decisions.
All that pressure is scary when you think about it. Many parents feel underqualified to raise their kids simply because it is a new experience. We need all the assistance and advice we can get to raise happy and healthy children, so here are a few ideas that can help you out.
Promote Oral Hygiene
Babies and toddlers put a lot of stuff in their mouths, and it is not always food. The teeth, gums, and tongue are important parts of the body, so as your children get older, it is important to promote oral hygiene. You can start brushing their teeth as soon as those first teeth come in if you wish, even though they will have no idea what is happening.
Once they are old enough to do so on their own, you can invest in toothpaste with better ingredients to fight off impurities in their mouths. Encourage them to brush in the morning and at night for at least two minutes, and teach them how to floss when they are old enough. Adopting these habits now will promote better oral hygiene for the rest of their lives, which if overlooked or ignored, can be disastrous.
Give Them Responsibility
The temptation as parents is often to handle the tasks that we know our children are not ready for. Cooking, cleaning, making plans, yard work, and other tasks will probably be done poorly if we let our young children do them, right? Though that is true, giving your kids more agency and responsibility when they are young can benefit their development immensely.
Set up a dish-washing station for them next to you where they can help wash some of the less breakable dishes. Invite them to help you measure ingredients, but be prepared for some messiness. Have them learn to pick up sticks in the yard or water the garden at an early age. Show them how to do a task, and then let them try it without micromanaging them. This is the best way for them to learn about responsibility and contributing to the household.
The Value of Teaching Kindness
I doubt there is a single parent in the world who wants to see their child grow up to be unkind. We all want them to be successful in life, and kindness goes a lot further than its opposite. Teaching your child to be kind is an important stage of the development process, but it is an ongoing task. It starts with leading by example and being kind to others when your child is present, whether you are at home or out in public.
Empathy is a key principle of kindness, so talking with your child about others’ feelings is critical. Encouraging random acts of kindness such as holding the door for someone or sharing a toy with a friend can also ingrain this characteristic in your little one. Start them early and be consistent to help your child grow up as a kind and empathetic person.
Encourage Independence with Having Fun
One of the most exhausting aspects of being a parent, especially in the younger years, is entertaining the kids. Often, we have to do so simply to keep them from putting themselves in danger or doing things they shouldn’t. This practice is not sustainable if you want to retain your sanity and have the energy needed to be a good parent. Teaching kids to make their own fun is a valuable strategy. It encourages independence as well.
A few ideas to help with this goal are self-sufficient games, puzzles, books, household chores, and an “I am Bored” box. With multiple activities available to fill their time, your kids will learn to entertain themselves sometimes, providing you with a valuable break. Just make sure you jump in sometimes and engage with them in these activities so your bond can grow.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself with Informational Input
When you feel overwhelmed as a parent and have more questions than answers, the easy thing to do is to seek out information about how to handle a specific issue. The problem is that the Internet and books are full of conflicting opinions about the right way to raise a child. It will be very easy to overwhelm yourself with informational input to the point that you are paralyzed with indecision.
Understanding your parenting style is the key to filtering out ideas that you do not agree with. Though no parent is an expert, especially those who are raising their first child, your instincts may be stronger than you think. Take in the information, but don’t hesitate to measure it against your parenting style and the personality of your child before implementing the idea.