Report cards aren't just for kids; Mom, you get one, too. In our current culture we are all making parenting way too complicated, turning us into guilt-ridden, second-guessers over every decision and situation involving our children.
But, what if you asked yourself six questions at the end of every single day that would tell you how you rated on your parenting report card? An A for the day = no need to feel guilty today; I did a great job. A less than stellar score would tell you that tomorrow is a new day and what happened today is in the past.
Ask yourselves these six questions, and be honest where you shine and where you suck. Then, decide what you're going to do about it.
1. DID YOU YELL TODAY?
Yelling always causes immediate guilt. As soon as loud angry words fly out of our mouths we immediately cringe and wish we could take back how we spoke to our child. We know we can't control others’ actions (especially our child's) but we can control ourselves. What if you focused on becoming self-fulfilled so the monotonous groundhog days of parenting wouldn’t drag you down into a black hole? When you give yourself what you need, your children's whining and complaining don’t bug you because you can roll with their craziness instead of yelling when they bug the crap out of you. And, what if you realized taking time for yourself and carving out "Me Time" isn't a guilty pleasure, but, a necessity to help you feel calm and in control of yourself so you can stop yelling at your child? Take a nap, get a mani, score an A for the day!
2. DID YOUR CHILD CRY BEFORE 9 A.M.?
For those of you with children 6 months and older who consistently melt down prior to 9 a.m. this means they aren't receiving proper parenting from you through a regular sleeping and feeding schedule. If your child has barely started his day and is already crying he is tired and didn't properly sleep the night before and/or is hungry. Sleep and food are the top two basic necessities for your child and when they are provided on a regular schedule your child knows exactly what to expect and is a calmer, happier human. So, sleep train your child. Yes! You can even sleep train a six-year-old; it is never too late. Yes! Plop a frozen waffle in the microwave every single day at 7 a.m. and call it a morning. When you provide Basic Parenting 101 you keep your child from crying and can celebrate that you're giving your child the proper structure and routine he's craving to learn where he fits in our big world. #KISS Keep It Simple Silly
3. IS YOUR CHILD RESTED?
Sleep directly impacts mental and physical development. Our country's children are fat, and the research shows lack of sleep is the cause. Fatigue leads to less physical activity, which leads to lower calorie expenditure, which leads back to poor sleeping habits. It's an awful viscous cycle. Simply put, children who don't get enough sleep have great chances of becoming obese. Lack of sleep also impacts learning and development. I know I can't concentrate on a hard project when I'm tired and neither can a child with way less coping skills. When Johnny gets off his schedule he's a b$tch to be around. I don't want to deal with a kid having a meltdown because he's tired. I'd rather not have him wake up stressed out crying for me and have him be set off at every little thing because we stayed out too late. I'm sorry, it's just not worth tomorrow's aggravation. When your kid cries it's often because he's tired and can't regulate his coping skills. Not to mention it’s stressful for you to listen to, which can lead to you lashing out and yelling and then feeling guilty. Here’s a simple formula: Teach your child healthy sleep habits so he doesn't whine and cry and set you off and make you feel guilty. It starts with you parents; teach the teachable!
4. DID YOUR CHILD EAT THREE "DECENT" MEALS TODAY?
If you fed and hydrated your child somewhat edible food, which they didn't get food poisoning from, then your work (and your guilt) here is done. So your kid only eats hot dogs while your best friend's kid eats salads? Who cares! Let it go and be grateful you're not wasting time endlessly chopping veggies. Your kid isn't going to sprout hot dogs from his arms because you didn't serve him a Pinterest-worthy meal. Congratulate yourself that you've figured out how to savor quality time spent with your child over being a stress case in the kitchen.
5. DID YOU HUG AND KISS YOUR CHILD TODAY?
Well, did you? Scientific studies are always helpful in proving how important it is to practice loving-kindness and "shower the people you love with love." A study from UCLA suggests that a loving parental figure may alter neural circuits in children that could influence health throughout a lifespan. The UCLA findings suggest that parental warmth and affection protect against the harmful effects of toxic childhood stress. Who knew a simple hug and kiss could impact a lifetime? So get to hugging and kissing those sweet cheeks you created.
6. DID YOU LAUGH WITH YOUR CHILD TODAY?
Why be so serious all the time? If you stole a moment away with your child and had fun and laughed together it was a very good day. Laughter really is the best medicine and makes all of our mundane parenting tasks easier. Often we forget why we had kids and it wasn't just to change dirty diapers. So, show your silly side and have fun with your child to create long lasting childhood memories.