Parenthood is a life transition no one is truly ready for when they enter. But the good thing is you can learn as you go.
No two children are the same, neither are any two parents. How Jill takes care of her child may be different from how Kara approaches parenting.
But the kids can both become adults the parents can be proud of. So, there's no one right way to raise a child.
However, there are some recommendations that can help you find what works for you.
From sleeping to social habits and discipline, here is an expert guide on how to raise your child in the modern world.
1. Creating good sleeping habits
Sleep isn't only good for adults' mental health but also for children's development.
Notably, babies vary in their sleep patterns. Whatever the case, you'll often wake up in the middle of the night to soothe your crying child back to sleep. While that is good, it's not always the best.
Some experts say that when babies are left to cry themselves back to sleep, they develop vital skills for independence and comfort.
You don't have to do this like an extremist, anyway. One way to go is to allow your baby to cry for short intervals across several nights. This can help them adapt.
Another way is to delay bedtime by 15 minutes so that your child tires out before their back touches the mattress, helping them fall asleep quickly.
For your older children, build rules around sleeping. For example, let them know when to go to bed and turn off their devices. A regular bedtime will encourage a consistent sleep pattern as the body's circadian rhythm kicks into action.
Helping your kids understand the value of quality sleep can help them stay on course mentally and productivity as they grow older.
Pediatricians recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. After that, you can choose to continue or use formula as you gradually switch to solid foods.
For toddlers and older children, creating healthy attitudes to food is essential. As soon as your child starts eating solid foods, let them try out a vast range of foods. This will help them expand their range and get less picky.
However, no matter what you do, some children are just naturally picky food-wise. Instead of cooking special meals for them, find ways to build that food into what they like, and they may get to like it. Nonetheless, talk with your child about what they prefer and have something to fall back on when they can't eat what you prepared.
In all, ensure each mealtime is family time. This will help in your bonding.
Children do not know right from wrong. Part of your job as a parent is to correct them as they go. But while doing that, always remember that they didn't know. Remember, they're not adults and do not know as much as you do. This will help you correct them with more empathy and less aggression.
When you're feeling out of control about your child's behavior, it might help to take a breather rather than do or say something you'll regret.
However, it's crucial to set down rules so that each child knows what is expected of them. Additionally, set age-appropriate punishment. This will instill discipline and a sense of respect for law and order in your developing child.
And never forget to praise your child when they do well. It will encourage them to do much more.
Lastly, avoid scolding your child for feeling bad over something trivial. You were once there. Allow them to express their emotions. It will help their mental health as they grow.
Morality is all about knowing what is right from wrong. But this isn't about rules or punishment. Let your child know what's morally wrong; to avoid those things even when they won't be punished for doing them. Talk about bullying, making jest of less privileged or disabled people, and helping older people. Let them know what it means to be kind, even when you don't get anything in return.
Refrain from thinking that these things are too much for a 6-year old to know. Even in the absence of strong religious beliefs, morality goes a long way in building children who are good people.
But remember, you're your child's first role model. So you have to practice what you preach.
5. Academic development
Learning can be fun for your child if they're not under so much pressure. Encourage your child, but avoid comparing them with their mates. That can destroy their self-esteem right from a young age. Instead, create time to learn with your child.
Get books for young readers. If they don't yet know how to read, you can find colorful storybooks to incite learning in them. Reading, storytelling, and art are great kids activities that can help children develop creative skills. Interestingly, you can subscribe to get new exciting packages to thrill your little darlings every month.
6. Dealing with technology
We're in a modern world wherein it is useless to tell a child to avoid phones. Modern parenting has to do with helping your kids build healthy attitudes towards technology rather than using avoidance methods. It would help if you told your child what they'd come across on social media and the appropriate way to respond.
Also, build ground rules around technology usage, such as:
No phones during dinner
No phones an hour before bedtime
Aside from that, you want to be their digital role model. What are you posting online? As exciting as it may seem, posting a naked baby wouldn't be great. That may not be the picture you want your child's friends to dig up 15 years later.
Lastly, although most experts say 12 is the right age for a kid to have a phone, the best time is when they need one. It should never be because they demand it, and consider starting with a lower-end device.
7. Create time to spend with them
A vital part of parenting is achieved in the time you spend with your kids. Why do children feel more loved by their mothers? It's because the mothers typically spend more time with them and are more affectionate. So, whether you're a man or woman, take time from your busy schedule and just play with them. Tell bedtime stories, go camping, teach them to ride a bike, let them practice survival skills.
Don't neglect self-care. As much as you exert yourself to become a great dad or mom who is always there for their child, you need time to rejuvenate. Self-care helps you feel re-energized to face your next tasks with energy rather than stress and frustration. When you don't get enough sleep and are always worked up, you may become grumpy and aggressive towards your children. You don't want that, and neither do your kids.