Accept imperfection: Parenting is a huge opportunity to accept that everyone makes mistakes and that these mistakes are a chance to learn together, a wonderful time for reflection and an opportunity to problem solve and practice acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.
Smile: It’s contagious and brings happiness to the world. After spending time apart, when you meet again, greet your child with a smile. When things are going not so great, breathe and try to think of something that makes you smile. It’s simple and yet so powerful.
Listen: Make time to listen to your child’s dreams, hopes and stories. Listen to the heartaches, the problems and the fears. Do not worry so much about fixing and solving problems, instead listen with the intent to be there, listen with a kind heart and strive to be present and supportive.
Dare to be Ridiculous: You want your child to have courage, joy, happiness and a desire to find meaning in life? Dare to be ridiculous: dance together, laugh, laugh and laugh some more, invent, create, play, whatever it may be, step outside your comfort zone once a day. It’s worth every moment of connection and it models amazing qualities needed for success.
Be Encouraging: The more we can encourage, the more our children can flourish. Look and celebrate process and progress, determination and courage. Face success and failures with compassion and with the intent to be supportive.
Expect Limits to be Tested: Know that limits and boundaries will be tested because your child is still learning and trying to understand how the world and relationships work. Shift your expectations and face those test with determination, kindness and flexibility and guide your child towards better choices in positive ways.
Communicate with Respect: Remember the impact that your voice has on your child’s inner voice and strive to communicate in ways that are respectful, positive and kind. Say yes as much as you can and say no when you really mean it.
Spend time together: Look for opportunities, no matter how short they may be, to truly connect with your child each day. It can be five minutes reading together, two minutes shared looking at a picture, 15 minutes playing a game or going out to lunch together, find those moments and be truly present with your child. Children that feel connected are naturally more cooperative.
Aim for Balance: Make time for yourself to re-energize. Our children are learning not just from what we say but so much from watching us. Striving to lead a balanced life, which includes time for ourselves really matters. When our own tanks are full, we can handle the ups and downs of parenting much better.
Choose Love: Things will get messy, loud, sticky, complicated and stressful.Choose love and building a relationship over proving you have power. Children learn so much when given a chance to fix their own mistakes. Choose love and over the years your child will feel capable and remember “my parents loved me so” and not ”my parents always told me so”.