When you watch a pampers advertisement or a baby Johnson commercial, those chubby cheeks, giggly faces and angelic looks make you feel like there is no other bliss beyond being a parent. Yes, parents’ days can be filled with joy and rapture but research shows that a lot of parents feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless and angry when parenting becomes nothing but a mere scheduled job. If you are one of those parents who is feeling melancholic, there is some good news for you: You are not alone and you can change the way you feel, to make those dreadful moments more fulfilling and fun.
Parenting is easy and fun when you feel in control of those little innocent children. It is an absolute pleasure when everything your child does fits into your pre-determined parenting style and expectations. Just as the innocent, God- gifted personalities start developing a mind of their own, throw some tantrums-just the way you may, and fuss over food or an activity which they don’t like but are obliged to fulfill at your commands, then, the bliss and camera-ready moments become a chore that you have to handle day in and day out . You perhaps even heave a sigh of relief before you go to bed because the monotonous ‘job’ of parenting sleeps with the night, or hopefully it does! If you are one of those parents who fees that parenting has become nothing but a robotic job-like responsibility, then I have some advise for you to make parenting fun. So Stay Calm and Make Parenting Fun.
1.Be Mindful : Practice being mindful. It is a lifelong skill which is about moment-to-moment awareness and non-judgemental parenting. See your children as the human beings they are and not what you want them to be. Be openhearted and enjoy event moment of parenting as it unfolds versus being a ‘trophy parent’ who wants to use her child to show off her parenting abilities. Whether your child is a toddler, tween or teen, be emotionally present and connect with your child. Stay Calm and Be Mindful !
2.Go Out and Have Some Fun. Instead of whining, complaining and feeling self-piteous for having to handle tough kids, smile and enjoy every moment you have with your child and remember there may come a time when you want to spend time with your child and he does not want to. Make the best and just have fun: laugh together, read together, go down slides together, tickle your child or pretend to be a laugh-monster who creates a contagious aura of laughter and just have fun together. Stay Calm and Have Some Fun!
3.Give you Child Choices: Your child has a unique individuality, desires and drives of his own. So drop your drive to control and choose everything that your child has to eat, read, wear and even socialize with. Two year old’s are often referred to as the ‘terrible twos’. Ever wondered why? That’s because they are gifted with the two most important tools they need in life: The ability to talk and express themselves and the ability to move and take themselves where they want to. As much as this is the best gift for a toddler, it maybe the dread of a parent because now your child has a control of what he says and where he wants to go. It is very important at this time, to listen to your child and help him communicate his needs. The next time you go out to buy a book or a toy, don’t buy one that you like, allow your child to choose what he likes. Giving choices will help your child grow up with resilience and it can be a very rewarding experience. Stay Calm and Give your Child Choices!
4. Understand your Child’s Development: Lets face it. Playing with Barbie dolls, teddy bears or Hot-wheel cars all day may keep your child entertained all day but these are not the most stimulating activities for an adult. It is easy to zone out and not be a 100 percent mentally present when your child wants to repeat the same game, read the same book or listen to the same rhymes over and over again. These are feelings you can grapple with if you just understand that children do this for a reason. They are cognitively in a stage where repetition is helping them learn and master a concept or an idea so instead of resisting, just enjoy the ride with them and remember that what may seem as a mundane task for the adult, maybe significantly important and interesting for the child. Stay Calm and Understand Child Development !
5. Use Positive Labels. I have often heard parents say “ Don’t be shy” to their child. Parents tend to fall into a trap of using this phrase to justify why their child wouldn’t respond to someone who said hello to them. Be sensitive to your child: he maybe just in a developmental stage where he exhibits stranger anxiety, is developing social skills or feels limited by his introvertedness. Exhibiting shy tendencies does not mean the child is shy. The child will go through the phase so support him and use positive labels to encourage his confidence and social skills so that he learns to internalize them and make them a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stay Calm and Use Positive Labels.
6. Set Clear Boundaries. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into a parenting task of correcting a child incessantly. It is non-negotiable in parenting to set clear boundaries for the safety and well being of your child. As parents adopt the mantra “ loving and firm”. Be loving but establish clear boundaries about what’s appropriate and what’s not. Establish an understanding with your spouse to ensure that boundaries are adhered by both otherwise you will end up with a manipulative child who knows where he can bend the rules and have his own way. Stay Calm and Set Boundaries!
7. Laugh with your Child: Celebrate your relationship with your child with lots of laughter.Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” So step out of your serious parenting job and step into a world of some mischief, pranks, jokes and fun with your child. Pay attention to what makes your child laugh and indulge in such activities. Not only will it make parenting fun, but also as research on laughter has shown, it strengthens the immune system and makes people feel happier. Laughter promotes good health- physically, emotionally and relationally. So, Stay Calm and Laugh with Your Child!
8. Enjoy Every Moment: Childhood comes with its special moments and surprises that do not last a lifetime. Enjoy the little moments of parenting and bring attention to what your child is doing instead of being lost in your thoughts or your smartphone. Feel the joy of hearing your child utter “abbit” instead of “ rabbit”, as you scaffold his learning, feel the bare skin of your child’s arms around you and the innocent things he says. Surprise your child with memories that will last a lifetime: play in the rain or do something that was always a “no-no”, not because it has an inherent risk but because it may be thriving on your inherent phobia or judgement. Childhood zooms in a blur so be immersed in the ‘here and now’ and Stay Calm and Enjoy Every Moment !
9. Make Mealtimes Fun: Transform an egg into a mouse or serve your child a feeling-face sandwich. Let your child shake up a salad in a jar or let his fingers trace a heart on a plate of tomato ketchup. Get creative and innovate some fun mealtimes. Go shopping with your child, cook together and make mealtimes a social get-together as a family. Surprise your child with little notes and goodies with their meal or transform their paper napkin into an origami lesson. Let your mealtime be a relaxed, fun atmosphere where you present a positive attitude versus unending complaints about your child’s food habits. Children eat when they are hungry not when you want them to be hungry! With young children, don’t fuss about the mess they make. Instead turn the mess into a parent and child cleaning activity. Stay Calm and Make Mealtimes Fun!
10. Press Your Pause Button: Everything in life sometimes gets just too much to handle, including your child’s behavior. As parents, you cannot control when your child breaks the most expensive showpiece at home or throws his food on the floor but what you can control is your response to this. Reflect on your parenting and realize that your child doesn’t even know the cost of a showpiece or just has a developmental need for learning to throw or learn cause and effect. As Charles Swindoll said “ I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”. So change your attitude the next time your child does something wrong. Pause, think and then respond instead of reacting impulsively. Make your home childproof so your child can live his childhood to the fullest. You can’t undo what your child did but you can Stay Calm and Press Your Pause Button before patiently responding to your child.
When you first hold your baby in your arms, your child is a “bundle of joy” and every interaction with your baby is a fun and joyful experience. As your child grows older, parenting becomes more demanding but if you invest your time and efforts in making parenting fun, you are raising children to be “bundles of joy” forever. There is no single equation or parent handbook that is prescriptive of making parenting a fun experience. There is however, one single thing you can do to keep your parenting from becoming a tedious scheduled job – Be Calm and Make Parenting Fun with simple applicable tips every day!