Being a parent is a very tough and tricky thing. There are wonderful moments, which we all live for and then there are moments that test us. Many parents worry about what to say when a child asks “where do babies come from?” or feel terrible when they feel they have made a mistake. At the end of the day, we are all human and all you can do is try your best and do what you can to prep yourself for tough situations that may arise.
Today we have chosen some of the things we think are most important for parents to think about. While some of these things may not be something you have to worry about for many years to come, we think you can never be too prepared. Having an idea how to handle various situations before they occur means you will feel much more comfortable when the time does come for you to put your knowledge to the test.
How to Handle Those Awkward Questions
You’ve probably heard them. Maybe you’ve seen children asking awkward questions in movies or you’ve heard horror stories from your friends or family members. Questions about the differences between boys and girls, where babies come from and why someone looks a certain way are bound to happen. So, what can you do to make your answers easiest on both you and your child?
Children love when we are direct with them and you do not have to give an in-depth answer. Consider your child’s age and how much they know about various topics. Going into detail about sex to a five year old, for example, wouldn’t exactly be something they could handle and could potentially traumatize them; overcomplicating the situation.
Start small and work your way up is the best advice we can give you. Only give them the information they need. Children’s brains are still developing and sometimes an answer such as “It grows in the mommy’s tummy” can be good enough for a child for a few years. Base your answers on what you know about your child and how much you think they are ready to take on.
Thinking about such questions when you have an infant and have never raised a baby before can be very scary but trust us, as time goes on; these situations are going to work themselves out. Lucky for you, your child grows in front of your eyes and they will not wake up one day and be 16 years old. Could you imagine!?
Death is a very touchy subject and one that should be handled with care. One very important point to make sure you get across is the fact that the person or animal is not coming back. Do your best to comfort your child and let them know that the feelings they are experiencing are normal. Giving them an example of when you have had a death in your life is a great way to help them bond with you and relate. Maybe you can talk about your first dog and how you miss her but you know she had a great and happy life. Give them the difficult news with a bit of positivity and it will help them to be able to handle the whole situation.
If there was a death in the family and you notice extreme and long-lasting changes in your child’s behavior such as their overall mood or inability to sleep you may want to talk to their doctor.
Mistakes are Going to Happen
One thing we want to make sure every parent out there is aware of is that none of us are perfect. You can put in 100% and sometimes still completely mess up. Do not beat yourself up over it. While it may be difficult when you feel you have really screwed up, take some time to think about all the good parenting moments.
Sometimes speaking to your child (depending on their age and how much they can understand) can be very helpful. Apologize to them if you feel as though you were out of line. They are going to respect you that much more for it. This can prove to be a very educational experience for the both of you. That’s one of the neatest things about parenting, you are in this together; you and your children are a team.
How to Get Your Child to Take Medicine
This is a very tricky one for parents but something that can get easier with practice. One thing we always recommend is that you choose medications that taste good. If your child is old enough to understand, make them a part of the process by allowing them to pick out their favorite flavor and explain to them why they need to take the particular medication. “This will make your tummy feel better”, for example, is something you can say so your child can see the positive in the negative situation.
If that isn’t cutting it, you may want to bring out some sort of reward. Say, “Once you take your medicine, we get to go to the park” or “I know you don’t like your medicine but I have a surprise for you. I will show you what it is after your medicine is all gone.” This diverts their attention, giving them something to look forward to. You may also want to say something like, “I know you don’t want to take your medicine honey, I don’t like medicine either but it will make you all better.”
You see how easy it is to turn a tough situation into a time for education and bonding?
Getting Your Child to Bed
The best way to get your child to sleep is to have a schedule. Having a routine is not only good for you but it works wonders for children. Have a specific time for them to start cleaning up their toys and activities that help them to start to wind down; this may include taking a bath or reading a book together right before bed. Studies actually show that children who are read to before bed sleep better than those who are not read to before bed.
Right before bedtime is a great time for you to bond with your child. Ask them about their day and the two of you can discuss your favorite thing about the whole day. Playing too close to bedtime or watching TV and playing video games can excite your child to the point that they have trouble falling to sleep. Select a time at least an hour before bedtime where these things must cease for the day.
A lot of parents find it very helpful to have a colorful schedule up on the wall that shows you child what each evening consists of. If your child is too young to read, you can have a poster with pictures of things such as a toothbrush and a book so they can feel as though they are part of the process. A lot of children love this and become excited because they get a chance to tell you what comes next in the nightly routine.
Does your child not stay asleep? Make sure their room is dark and that the volume in your house is to a minimum. While having a TV in your child’s room during the day can be nice, you may want to consider removing it completely so they are not tempted to turn it on when they think you won’t notice. Give your child ideas as to how they can get back to sleep such as to close their eyes and come up with a story in their mind. There are actually lamps on the market that have timers, which only turn on when it is time for your child to wake up. This can give your child an idea as to when it is okay to be awake.
Spoiling Leads to Problems
While it can be tough to not spoil our children, all that does it hinder their development. If a child is not given the proper education about ’cause’ and ‘effect’, then when they get to school or have their first job etc; they are going to be ill prepared. It is always wonderful to praise our children, but doing so too often and when they are behaving badly is an awful idea.
Taking the easy way out may help you out in the moment but for the long-term, it is going to cause greater problems for yourself. For example, giving your child a treat when they are stomping their feet and throwing a fit may calm them down during a time when you are feeling too overwhelmed to address the issue, but the long-term problems can be pretty drastic. Such children are much more likely to throw fits whenever something doesn’t go their way and these types of learned behaviors are difficult to break.