Parenting – Your lives have changed.
As a parent raising two boys, my wife and I believe it is our responsibility to raise good people, and we love our boys unconditionally, but as they grow, we must grow with them, as parents and as adults. That’s why I wrote this blog post to pass on my parenting knowledge to new parents raising kids.
Your baby is quickly turning into a child, and what you say, how you say it, and how you react impact your child. Parents, now is the time to start working on your vocabulary. Otherwise, you might be embarrassed when your child drops the F-bomb because they heard mom saying it. Be creative and find new adjectives to show frustration or anger.
“How can you say no to a child”? I have heard this question hundreds of times as a kid’s entertainer when an event ends. Saying “no” teaches a child discipline. Parenting is about teaching, and guidelines need to be established as a parent. My mother would say, “If the child is not listing to you at age 3, don’t be surprised if they don’t listen to you as a teenager.” Defining ground rules, as good behavior needs to start earlier than later.
Independence comes with confidence, and mothers worldwide will tell you a child clinging to your leg 24-7 is exhausting. Allow your child to explore, try, and do things for themselves, which will help build confidence. Separation anxiety happens to both parents and children, so alone time is good for everyone.
Wean Them Off The Pacifier
The pacifier war will happen, and it can be a battle. Remove the pacifier when your child plays, eats, or interacts with you. The goal is to limit their pacifier time and reduce it to the point where the child is no longer dependent. We told our oldest son to pass on his pacifier to his baby cousin. We gave him a reason to quit his pacifier. For our youngest, we said that if he kept biting holes in his pacifier and breaking them, he needed to toss the pacifier out. He slowly disposed of his pacifier, breaking the pacifier habit.
Let Them Feed Themselves
Independence, expanding food selections, and confidence are created with the simple task of letting your child feed themselves. You’ll find many finger food options in the baby aisle, and buy those cute kiddy silverware because they’ll need to master eating with silverware.
Introduce New Foods & Texture
Avoid limiting your child’s experience of eating food just because you don’t like it. Expand your child’s taste pallet. Otherwise, you fall into the nightmare of a picky eater who eats plain noodles. Cooked, steamed, mashed, and raw fruits and vegetables are all options. Meats medium-rare to well done, spicey to mild, and all in between should be offered as you develop your child’s tastebuds for life.
Upgrade Their Bed
The long sleepless nights of rocking a baby to sleep are slowly fading, and thoughts should be turning to upgrading the baby’s bedroom. My mother’s advice was to buy a full-size bed for my son. She was right. Over the next 8+ years, we slept in his room instead of my son climbing in bed with my wife and me. The full-size bed gave us room to read stories and lay with him when he was nervous or sick. My son’s full-size bed allowed one parent to get a good night’s sleep.
Play With Your Child
Playtime is the time to interact, learn together, and share life. A child will go through several playing stages, from plush toys to dolls and dinosaurs, and progress to sports and video games. Be there to share their experiences, and teach them about sportsmanship, fair play, and how to deal with losing. Who better to teach them than their parents, and you and your child will have these special life memories.
With children comes safety issues, from locking chemical cabinets, tools, foods, liquor, and items that adults understand are hazards but to a child look like things to eat or play with. My advice is to talk with other parents about the safety precautions they recommend. Otherwise, you will spend thousands of dollars on the news-fangled baby-proofing gadgets you might never use. My wife and I moved cleaning supplies to a higher shelf, put a child safety lock on the dog food cabinet, and became aware of the hazards that little hands can reach.
Parenting is a lifelong commitment, and as your child develops, so will your parenting skills.
What wisdom would you pass on to a new parent whose child is approaching 1-year-old? Leave it in the comment section.