In my five years as a parent, I’ve generally tried to pick my way through the advice given to me by other parents, my own included. I find a routine helps, on a day-to-day basis. Having been a bit molly-coddled by my own parents (it was far quicker for them to do things than let me do them), I’m trying to encourage my own daughter to do things for herself.
One of my prompts is, “you’re a big girl, so you can dress yourself.” When I get the dreaded response of “but I can’t do it, mummy,” I try to encourage by reminding her that lots of things are tricky. However, if they were easy they wouldn’t be worth doing. I coax my daughter to try new things, otherwise, she won’t learn.
At the same time, I try to be mindful that a five-year-old has a limited attention span. This means frequent positive reinforcement to reward positive behaviour. I still find it frustrating that other parents can sometimes seem oblivious to the fact that their children need some boundaries. Children can be challenging, I totally appreciate that! Often parents just find themselves trying to engage their children with limited success.
I sometimes think parenting is a bit like managing (not that I’ve ever been a manager). You can give support and encouragement, but children have their own personalities. So sometimes I think it’s better just to let the children do what they want to do. Within reason, I’m not advocating letting them eat only ice cream for their dinner!
During this lock-down period, a lot of parents are finding themselves in the position of having to home-school their children. Times have changed since we were in the classroom. At the moment, I’m accepting that the iPad is featuring heavily in some of my daughter’s lessons. That’s totally ok, as I know what websites and apps are appropriate for her. It’s better for her to be engaged in something she enjoys than having a meltdown because she feels like she’s being made to sit down and write.
We read stories and talk about the season, what is happening in the garden, what her friends are doing. She is adapting to our new circumstances quite well and seems to be taking it in her stride.
And if she’s happy then I can rest assured that my parenting is good enough.
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See my other post about parenting here.