5 Tips to
Parent Like a Pro
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but these tips will grow your confidence and give you a plan for those (inevitable) challenging times.
1. Give choices to ease transitions
Imagine being a young child and not having control over much of your life...like what you eat, when it’s time to leave the house, being strapped into a car seat, going to child care, or when it’s time for bed or nap. You would go crazy too! Choices=control. You can help your child by giving fair warnings for transitions and limited choices (2 choices you can both live with), which end with “You decide”.
“You are having fun in the bath and it is time to clean up our toys. Which ones are you cleaning up first, the animals or cups? You decide.”
"5 minutes before we leave the park.
What's the last thing you want to play on? You decide."
2. Say YES
When we use "no" all the time, it starts to lose its meaning and invites power struggles. (Save it for safety issues.) Instead, say "yes" with a condition you are comfortable with. This does not mean doing everything your child wants! Instead get creative (and model some flexibility) with how you can say yes by adding the condition...
"Yes, you can have more snacks at snack time."
"Yes, we can read that book at bedtime."
“Yes, we can go to the park when your shoes and sunscreen are on.”
3. Get on the same page as your parenting partner (spouse, nanny, bestie, grandparent or partner - who’s part of your team?)
Teamwork can make all the difference! The key is to be kind (connected) AND firm at the same time with our kids and our partners. The connection part can and should be personal. The firmness piece is where everyone can agree on what is supposed to be happening (communication is critical for this part).
I see you. I love you. You are enough.
What needs to happen for everyone to share space and coexist respectfully.
Decide together what the rules are. This is most powerful to do through ROUTINES. Decide as a family what is expected in the morning and bedtimes (triggering times), or even at meals, so when your kiddo takes you down you can both connect (in your own ways) and be firm at the same time (stick to the same rule).
4. Find the fun to invite cooperation
You will never, ever be able to invite cooperation without getting into your child’s world. For toddlers and preschoolers, imagination and play IS their life and their perspective. It is how their brain grows, how they develop relationships, and how they explore. Finding the fun might not come intuitively, but if you can tap into your inner awesome personality (it is there!) to shine and connect, your little one will WANT to connect and cooperate. Find the games, pretend, and laugh. This is the hardest parenting tool because we are so freakishly exhausted, but dig deep and fake it until you make it. Pay attention to what they are into (dinosaurs, diggers, monkeys, mermaids, whatever the flavor of the month) and use it as inspiration.
“How would a monkey put on her pajamas?”
“Oh no! The blocks are everywhere! Let’s be diggers and scoop them all up!”
“Open wide for the mermaid toothbrush. It will find all the mermaids in your mouth lagoon!”