In today's modern world, there is a lot of pressure to be the best possible parent. Being a good parent isn't impossible, though; nor is it some secret formula. Here are 15 easy ways to be an amazing parent.
1. Talk to your kids every day.
Have conversations with your children. This teaches them social skills, in part, but it also keeps you in touch with their lives and gives you opportunities to shape their developing personalities.
2. Play with your kids every day.
Sure, we're all busy, but make it a point to play with your kids every day, even if it's only for fifteen minutes before bedtime at the end of a long day.
3. Read together every day.
Reading is important for kids' developing minds, but so is the intimacy that reading together forms. As kids get older, you can read more advanced books together, or they can practice reading to you.
4. Schedule special time.
Kids love one-on-one time with their parents, especially when a big deal is made out of it. Schedule special outings or events with each of your children occasionally.
5. Set boundaries.
Some parents fear that saying, "No," sometimes will damage their children's self-esteem, but the truth is that kids flourish when given clear, consistent boundaries.
6. Be consistent.
Sometimes it's not the specific rule that matters, but the fact that it's the same every time. Kids do best when they are given consistency and routines.
7. Praise effort.
Make praise more valuable by making it something they earn directly. Don't tell your child, "You're so smart." Tell your child, "You worked really hard for this and I'm proud of you.
8. Model desirable behavior.
Kids are like sponges: They absorb everything they see, whether it's what you want them to learn or not. Be aware of this and try to behave with the same honesty, empathy, and integrity that you ask of them.
9. Admit when you're wrong.
Similarly, if you want your kids to 'fess up when they've done something wrong, it helps if they see you do so on occasion. It's more important to model honesty than to try to appear to your kids like you are always in control.
10. Encourage independence.
As toddlers and preschoolers start wanting to do things for themselves, it's important to encourage them to do so as much as possible. Even if it means things take a little longer, it'll create lasting habits of independence that you will appreciate when they get older.
11. Let your child make mistakes.
Encouraging children to be more independent means they are going to make mistakes from time to time, but as long as they are safe, giving them space to try to figure out their solution is an important part of the learning process.
12. Leave them alone.
Don't try to entertain your kids constantly, or feel like every moment has to be perfect. It's good for kids to be occasionally bored, as it'll motivate them to learn self-direction.
13. Involve others.
Parenting can't be done all by yourself. Share your goals with the other people in your child's life, such as family members, teachers, and other caregivers.
14. Say "I love you."
These three words can make a child feel wanted, protected, and cherished. There's no such thing as saying them too often!
15. Take time out to appreciate the little moments.
Children grow up so fast and change even faster. Cherish this time with them!
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. What matters most is that your child is safe, healthy, and loved. All of the rest is just icing on the cake!