Are you a good parent?
A Go To List of How to Be a Good Parent in 60 Minutes a Day When Time is Tight
Do you walk around with guilt hanging on your back like a backpack filled with rocks because you aren’t sure if you’re a good enough parent? Does the challenge of being a good parent feel overwhelming? Are you exhausted with just a little leftover time to yourself? Does the day escape youand suddenly it’s bedtime, and you haven’t connected with your child on a deep level?
You aren’t alone. I feel like that sometimes too.
My family and friends laugh at me because my catch phrase is, “there’s a book for that.” One of my strongest beliefs is that the knowledge is out there. So I have read piles of parenting books, articles, and magazines on parenting. Out of all of the reading and contemplation I’ve done on the topic of parenting, here is my
Day to day Action Sheet for being a good parent to my three children:
Kids need vitamins and minerals from vegetables and fruit, whole grain-rich foods as well as lean protein. Cut up at least five different vegetables and give them to your kids to eat before their main meal. Crunched for the time during the week? Cut up the veggies and fruit on Sunday and place in Tupperware. Buy or make whole grain (not partial whole grain, you need to read the label) bread and pasta. It takes ten minutes to cook up whole grain pasta for dinner and add a bolognese sauce. Don’t feel guilty if they eat veggies, whole grain toast and scrambled eggs with ham for dinner. It may not be gourmet, but it’s healthy. Insist some fruit is eaten before any other snack. Make sure your home is stocked with plenty of nuts for snacks
Take your kids outside on a walk, bike ride, to the playground, to play soccer, to go swimming etc.
Remind your child to do their homework on their own. After they are done, Learn WITH your child. Do you have a small child? Play learning games with ages 2-4; I love Snail’s Pace Race, First Orchard. Start teaching 4-6-year-olds to read with Bob Books, or work on math with them via Khan Academy, or learn through play with Games for Learning. With older children use Khan Academy or watch a TED talk
Shower or bath younger children, brush teeth, apply lotion in a mini massage, make sure nails are trimmed. Is your child old enough to do this alone? Dedicate this time to giving them a back rub, listening to music with them, or just hearing about their day. Make sure your child will be going to bed early enough to get the 9-14 hours of sleep they need to grow and thrive (see guide).
10 minutes: Read to your child, or cuddle and talk about the day with undivided attention, or sing to/with them, or play a game. Offer a big hug, tell them how loveable they are and praise effort over results. This is a space to ask for forgiveness if you need to. If you were short tempered or have something weighing on your conscience, now is the time to seek resolution, so you both go to sleep in peace.
Things Good Parents Should Remember:
Treat your kids at eye level. If you wouldn’t talk, treat or react to your partner or best friend in that way, then don’t act that way with your child either.
Set boundaries. You deserve to be treated with respect.
Allow negative emotions to exist. How would you feel if your partner insisted you needed to be permanently happy and compliant? Yeah. Sadness, anger, jealousy, anxiety and other negative emotions are normal. Give your kids an opportunity to feel their feelings without hurting themselves or other people.
Find the joy of connection through play, laughter, dance and singing.
Be patient. Practice empathy.
It’s okay to talk about what you need and want. If you hate reading to your child, then sing to them. Share one of your favorite passions or hobbies. Kids sense when you are spending time with them out of obligation, versus really enjoying the time in their company.
Be willing to ask for forgiveness when you can’t manage to do anything on this list. Hey, I have days like that too! If you have completed this list every day for a long time, don’t be surprised if older children jump in if you are sick or aren’t available and make some of the lists for younger children.
Voila. You can now pat yourself on the back for being a good parent today! Your child ate their vegetables and fruit, exercised, are clean, learned something new with you, had ten minutes of your undivided attention to read, sing, dance, cuddle, etc. and went to bed having had a hug, feeling loveable and focusing on effort over results. They will get the sleep they need to thrive tomorrow.
Wishing you joy and strength as you raise your children,