A lot of young parents have trouble figuring out what’s right and wrong when it comes to raising children, and this can result in tons of sleepless nights worrying about the path you’re taking as a parent. Here are 20 practical parenting tips for young parents that will make life easier for everyone.
1) Be patient
As a parent, you know how difficult it can be to hold back your temper with your children. This can be even more difficult as a young parent when you’re juggling family and work responsibilities. A calm, even-tempered approach will help to prevent unnecessary conflict in your home. And don’t think that you have to give up on being strict or enforcing rules—that’s where patience comes in.
2) Take care of yourself
It’s tempting to go all-in on parenthood, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. In fact, a University of Michigan study found that men and women who have fewer than three hours of sleep every night are more likely to be overweight or obese than their well-rested counterparts.
3) Remind Yourself That Things Will Change
When you’re a parent, nothing is certain. Young parents should remind themselves that whatever it is they’re worried about right now (sleeping arrangements, feeding times, diaper rash) will likely change within just a few months. If there are things you can change to make your life easier and ensure your child’s happiness—like an affordable daycare or planned date nights with their significant other—take that first step now!
4) Respect Their Privacy
As you’re teaching your kids to respect their own privacy, it’s equally important that you respect theirs. Some children don’t want their parents checking in on them all of the time. It’s up to them—not you—to decide how much freedom they get and how often they check in with you.
5) Give Them What They Need First
As a parent, it’s important to give your child what they need first. Sometimes that means putting your child’s needs before your own. As you find yourself with less time, take an hour or two each night and devote it to taking care of your responsibilities as a parent. Make sure that you are keeping up with any bills you may have, cleaning up after yourself around the house, and making sure all of your obligations at work are met.
6) Concentrate on one task at a time.
Young parents tend to have a tendency to try and take on too much. They may want to simultaneously finish chores, eat dinner, manage homework, and get their baby to sleep – but this just doesn’t work. This kind of multitasking leads to stress, frustration, and stress-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. To complete everything that needs to be done in a day without going crazy, focus on completing one task at a time.
7) Understand That They Can Do Hard Things
Being a parent is hard. There are so many things to keep in mind at all times, and while it’s daunting and a little bit scary, it’s also exciting! If you’re new to parenthood (or even if you aren’t), recognize that your kids can handle pretty much anything.
8) Build Trust with The Golden Rule
Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, a family member, or a business partner, trust is an essential building block that you need to have. The key is giving as much trust as you can (without allowing yourself to be vulnerable), and you’ll find that people will return that favor. If you want a better relationship with others, start by following what experts call the golden rule of relationships—treat others as you want them to treat you.
9) Put Things In Perspective
Chances are, you don’t remember a whole lot from when you were two years old. But your kid remembers everything, and those memories will stay with them their entire life—and yours will last just as long. So whenever your toddler misbehaves, take a moment to put things in perspective: they’re only two; they probably don’t even know what they’re doing is wrong.
10) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others will only bring about negative emotions and self-doubt. There’s always going to be someone wealthier, more attractive, and more successful than you. Do your best and focus on being a better parent than you were yesterday. Your child will benefit from your positivity. Give her all of your love, attention, and support in order to raise a happy child who knows how to succeed.
11) Get a Good Support System in Place
No matter how well prepared you think you are to be a parent, raising a baby or toddler can be incredibly hard. It’s important to have a good support system in place so that when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted (and you will), your partner or other family members can help out. My wife has two sisters who live close by, and they were invaluable throughout our early days with our children—particularly when we came down with a nasty stomach virus on Christmas Day.
12) Set Limits
Are you raising a toddler or a teenager? It’s important to set realistic limits and stay consistent. Establish boundaries with your children—do they have access to electronics at all times, or are there certain hours that they need to put away their devices? Do they have chores around the house, and if so, are they expected to complete them on a daily basis? Make sure that these rules are clear, fair, and set in stone before you start enforcing them.
13) Don’t ever give up on your child!
Being a parent is hard. We often have to contend with all sorts of emergencies, like when a child wants to go to school. To my dad, my best friend said that I’m ugly. But there are practical ways you can overcome this without feeling pressured and without getting upset—because kids need their parents to stay calm when they’re struggling.
14) Give Yourself Permission to Relax
Finding time to relax can be tough as a new parent, but it’s important. It takes a lot of energy to be a parent, both physically and mentally. You won’t be able to care for your baby if you don’t take care of yourself. That being said, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find time in your day to relax. Give yourself permission to do whatever makes you feel better when you need it—and remember that all parents deserve some downtime!
15) Let Your Partner Help
It’s easy to get down on yourself and your parenting skills, but it’s also important to remember that you have a partner! It is okay to ask your partner to help out with taking care of the baby. Everyone needs a break now and then. So don’t feel guilty when you hand over some of those tasks; just make sure that you give them a pat on the back and say thank you for helping out!
16) Enjoy The Ride!
Whether you’re a first-time parent or have three kids already, being a parent is one of life’s most rewarding jobs. The ride might be bumpy at times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way. So take some time to enjoy your children before they grow up.
17) Give your child physical attention
You don’t need a ton of money to give your children affectionate
physical attention. Set aside 10 minutes every day to play with your kids and pay close attention to what they’re doing; sit on their level instead of standing over them, and ask lots of questions about what they’re seeing, hearing, and touching. When it comes time to go to bed, read a book with your child rather than simply saying goodnight and leaving their room.
18) Offer a variety of activities for them to do.
When children are babies, they don’t have a lot of choices in what they do. They are in constant need of care and can only really focus on certain things. As your child gets older, you should offer him or her more and more opportunities to choose what activities he or she wants to participate in. This way he or she is engaged and active, rather than feeling like a passive observer when it comes to daily life at home.
19) Have realistic expectations
Your baby isn’t going to sleep through every night from day one. It might take a few months—and quite possibly some tears on your part—before you have a good routine down. And, yes, sometimes it will feel like your child was born with an innate ability to poop at exactly 5:00 p.m., just when you’re about to leave work and pick up their sibling from daycare.
20) Guide your child when they make mistakes & forgive their weaknesses
Your child may have many strengths and talents, but like any child growing up in today’s world, they are likely to face challenges and hardships. A parent’s job is to guide them through these obstacles, teach them from their mistakes, and help their children overcome their weaknesses so that they can become stronger people overall. If you need help learning how to guide your children with love and patience, here are some practical parenting tips from other parents who have been there before.