Amena is a huge fan of three tips that have worked wonders in settling down her babies. This week, she’s sharing them with all the mummies (and daddies!) out there.
Being a parent has turned up surprises – a lot of surprises. In fact, every day I discover something new about my children, myself, or my life. Motherhood really changes everything.
I’m a strong believer in personal parenting choices; I believe that everyone has their own style of parenting, and it’s unlikely that two sets of parents will ever be exactly the same in their parenting methods and beliefs. So long as the result is happy, healthy children, the mission has been accomplished.
I’m Mum to a 3-year-old boy and an almost-2-year-old girl, alhamdullilah. They are my life, and being a parent is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Along the way, I’ve picked up on tips that make things run smoother when you have a million things to multi-task. This week, I’m going to share a few of them with you.
Establish a Routine
Every child I’ve ever been around for a significant length of time has loved a routine. Whether the children are at nursery or at home, a routine of some sort makes certain things predictable for them, and that gives them the comfort of knowing what to expect.
At home, a set time for dinner and bedtime, for example, can do wonders for settling your child. A particular bedtime routine or a breakfast routine can allow children to understand their environment better, and develop independence in small portions as they grow.
During the week, I have a set morning routine with my babies before my son goes to nursery. After that, the rest of the day is quite scheduled, with some variation working around the needs of my son and daughter. However, dinner and bedtime are usually at a set time since these things really settle my children and allow them to get their full rest.
Children find comfort in guidance and want to be steered in the right direction because life can be pretty confusing and hectic
Balance Discipline with Rewards
Just as children benefit from routines, I’ve found that they also crave discipline. No, really! I’ve taught at schools where students actually respect teachers who discipline – fairly, of course. Children find comfort in guidance and want to be steered in the right direction because life can be pretty confusing and hectic for them (heck, we as adults find it tough enough!). But, as much as a ‘time-out’ for a young child can work wonders on calming them or deflecting a tantrum, it’s equally important to recognise when children do well and deserve a reward.
I introduced ‘reward charts’ to my children and have never looked back! You can actually make reward charts yourself and buy some funky reward stickers from a crafts or stationery store. I took the lazy way out and purchased some charts from WH Smith. Write your children’s names on them, stick them up in a place where the charts are visible for them to feel pride in their achievements, and voila – you have a fun behaviour-management system all set up!
Try to spend quality time where it’s just you and your children doing something they enjoy. This might be reading a book, doing artwork, making something, telling stories, singing nursery songs – whatever your kids like. That way, even though they’re around when you’re doing your own activities, they can see that you’re making time for their activities and taking a genuine interest in them.
Engaging with your children through activities is fun for them and for you; after all, we all enjoy letting our inner child come out to play!