No one said this parenting thing was going to be easy. And it’s not just the inability to use the bathroom alone ever again or the sleepless nights that are challenging – it’s understanding if you’re doing the right things to prepare your child for the world.
As a parent, I have found a few powerful parenting hacks that will help you to prepare your kids for the world without turning them into a maniac. It’s a win-win situation because with these hacks you’ll feel good about what you’re doing, and you know you’re not scarring your kid for life!
3 Powerful Parenting Hacks to Prepare Your Kids for the World
Parenting Hack No. 1: The Importance of Grit
I love the fact that my two-year-old daughter is sassy and silly, because I know these are traits that will serve her well in life. But, it’s my job to help her learn now to focus on the end goal, not just what she can gain from something in the moment. Yes, my friends, teaching the importance of grit is significant!
If you can help your child to understand the importance of focusing on a task and reaching their goals, it will set them up for life. I mean, take potty training – it’s the perfect example. No one wants to hang out with a kid that wears a diaper when they’re 11 years old. So, you work with your kid to focus on the end goal of learning to use the potty, while rewarding them for small things along the way to chart their victory.
Easier said than done, you say? Well, maybe – but not if you advocate the three P’s for you little one. The three P’s consist of:
If you can teach your kids to live the three P’s by setting a good example (you’re potty trained, right?), then you’re setting them up to become CEO material instead of inmate 248557 material. You’re welcome.
Parenting Hack No. 2: The Importance of Independence
We live in a world of helicopter parenting. You know what I’m talking about – the parents at the playground who don’t let their precious child out of arm’s reach. I’m not going to say those parents are setting up their kids for failure, but they’re certainly setting up their kids not to strive for independence.
I’m not advocating letting your 2-year-old run around the park completely unattended because, let’s face it, they have a very underdeveloped sense of self-preservation at this age. But you can allow them time for free play.
As Mr. Roger’s famously said, for children “play is learning.” I’m not going to argue with Mr. Rogers because first, I don’t own any sweaters as awesome as his and second, letting your child engage in free play helps them learn to share, cooperate and most importantly resolve conflict on their own. If you’re constantly running in to solve their problems, then they’ll never learn those important skills.
Another thing that you can do (which is incredibly easy) is to let your child be bored. Your job is not to constantly entertain your child. While they may accuse you of being the most boring person on the planet, just remember that you’re doing your child a favor by giving them unstructured playtime. This helps to promote their problem-solving skills and creativity.
Parenting Hack No. 3: The Importance of Discipline
Oh, discipline. There are so many schools of thought when it comes to this, as evidenced by the shocking scenes you’ve no doubt seen unfold on the toddler playground from time to time. Or aisle six at the grocery store. Or Disney World.
No matter where you are, a child needs to understand the importance of discipline. Your style may be different than the parent next to you, and that’s OK. You just need to remember a few important points when you’re correcting your child:
- Be empathetic as you discipline – Sometimes kids do things that make you mad. I remember walking into my freshly painted master bath only to find my two-year-old with a permanent marker in her hand and her self-portrait – on my newly painted wall. Just remember the sage advice of Ice Cube and check yourself before you wreck yourself. Acknowledge your child’s feelings, and try to understand their point of view. A fresh canvas is a difficult thing to pass by.
- Be aware of your child’s developmental stage – A two-year-old doesn’t think about things like you do because their brain simply works differently to process information. Be sensitive to that.
- Help them to recognize their feelings – Remember that deep desire not to raise a serial killer? Well, helping your child to recognize their own feelings is a giant step in blocking that outcome. You need to teach them that how they feel is OK, but how they’re acting is not.
- Set limits with respect – It may seem weird to think about respecting your child, but it’s important. Sure, they’re below you on the family totem pole, but when you can set limits for them in a respectful way and show them how to treat others through example, you’re doing a great job of modeling good behavior for them.
- Use natural consequences to your advantage – As long as your child isn’t in danger of falling off a cliff or something, it’s OK to let natural consequences run their course. If you can stand by and let your child discover the world around them in a (mostly) safe way, then it will help them to develop important critical thinking and decision-making skills.
Parenting is a huge job, and it can be really hard. But you know what? We’re all in this together. You have to remember no matter how big the game other mothers at the park are talking, they’re in the same exact boat as you. They’re just trying to figure out as they go, but hacks like these are a great way to help you remember what you should be focusing on as you help mold your future little CEO.
Below are 15 more awesome parenting hacks!
Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her computer, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, daughter and dog. You can find her blogging over at www.tinyfry.com, and you can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.