Nowadays, it seems that being a parent is as easy as never. There are so many assistants in the form of kitchen gadgets and other home appliances; there are plenty of toys to entertain kids and draw their attention for a long time. After all, it is fine to hire a babysitter or a housekeeper, or even both to help parents who work and raise children at the same time.
However, it is not as easy as it may appear. All the new possibilities have created new challenges for parents and their relationships with children. Let us go back in the past, to the times when people raised their children without dishwashers, PCs, smartphones, and other gadgets. In the majority of cases, a woman was a homestay mom who had to take care of her kids, do all the chores, and arrange everything for healthy growth and development of children.
On the contrary, in contemporary life, with all the assistants in the kitchen and at home, it seems that present-day parents have less time than their parents used to have. How has this happened? Technologies have facilitated our lives but taken the freedom of pastime from people: there are hundreds of emails to reply, dozens of calls to make. And we find ourselves in our PCs and smartphones without paying due attention to kids. If you have understood that this is not fine and want to learn the basics of present parenting, you are in the right place. The Trendy Toddlers have collected the most common mistakes people make and ways to get rid of harmful habits to become present in the lives of your children.
Common Mistakes of Contemporary Parents
Before we get to the matter of solving the situation, we would like to draw your attention to the main mistakes people make in raising children. Understanding the problem is halfway to solving it.
1. You Are Used to TV and Smartphones During Family Meals
This is such a common habit of many families: the TV is on while you are sitting at the dinner table and eat listening to the recent news or watching a film instead of talking to each other and sharing thoughts, emotions, plans, and aspirations. What will happen if you switch it off? Probably, you will sit in silence. This means you have already lost this warmness and closeness between you and need to make attempts and remember silly questions to ask kids.
2. You Are Regularly Checking Your Smartphone
You have got all the messengers and social networks’ apps installed. Every time you check your smartphone, there will always be something to reply to, react, or comment. Are you sure this is so urgent now? Is a new TikTok video more important than the impressions your child has got from the first quarrel with a friend?
3. You Are not Following What Your Kids Are Talking About
Children are often so emotional that they even won’t notice if you are not listening. But later they will figure this out when you let them know that you hear for the first time about the party they have been invited to. At that moment, you thought if you have replied to that important email or sent a report, bought milk, etc. There is always something to take care of but it is more important than the life of your child?
Above are just a few mistakes people make, which leads to their separation from children. When kids are small and require a lot of attention from parents, you are more involved and look for activities for your child and take an active part in their lives. However, as soon as they gain more independence, parents tend to dive into their own routines, work, etc. paying less and less attention to their kids.
As a result, you make nice gifts to your children (smartphones, tablets, PCs, action cameras, etc.) and these gifts are separating you even more because kids get easily overwhelmed with gadgets. Besides, what should you expect if they behave just like parents?
Tips to Change the Situation
Before you find yourself sitting in front of a teenager you don’t know, analyze your behavior, and try to apply recommendations on how to become a more present parent.
1. When You Are With Your Kids, Be With Them
This is not just about a smartphone that should be put out of your sight completely. If you have planned time with kids, do not make other plans like cooking or meeting a friend for coffee. No matter where you are going to spend time, at home or the playground, be with them, look at what they have learned, talk, laugh, and be completely engaged in your common pastime. This is, of course, easier to say than to make. There are so many routines to do. That is why this should be set as a rule that cannot be violated. Try and you will understand that spending time with your kids is no less fun than with your friends.
2. Talk to Your Kids
Interaction is a basic prerequisite for understanding. Emergencies happen. If there is a really urgent need, ask your kid if he/she doesn’t mind if you take a 10-minute break to send an important email. The most crucial thing is to fulfill your promise. If you do not keep your word, how can you expect this from your children?
You can also suggest an alternative way: you will do something your kid is asking for 15-30 minutes and then you will focus on your work for some time. As soon as you learn to find compromises and keep your word, not only set rules for children, your interaction with your kids will become better.
3. Limit the Use of Technologies
You think that your work issues are much more important than social networks where your kids chat. However, it’s completely different for them. Set certain rules that should be strictly followed by every family member, without any exception. Children learn from the behavior of their parents, not their words.
4. Ask Questions and Answer Those of Your Kids
Another important component of interaction is not only asking child interview questions but also being ready to reply to them. Are the times of “Why is the grass green?” over? If not, try finding responses to questions of your curious kid. When you really do not know, promise to find out and do not forget to keep this word. It is very important to show your child an example of how adults should behave.
From your side, you can try improving your communication with games you will play together. You can try a table game suitable for the age of your kid or kids’ questions game, or any other game that involves communication and interaction: count cars or clouds, no matter, let your kid be interested in spending time with you.
5. Prefer Sports and Active Pastimes Together
When you are making plans for the weekend, give preference to riding bikes, jogging, swimming, going out, etc. The same refers to gifts you will make. When you buy smartphones for your kids, they know perfectly how to use them and you won’t be needed to explain and teach. This is true, we all know how babies learn to be persistent and that they can achieve a lot on their own. But why not create situations and be there for them when they may need parents?
If you buy a bike or roller skates, your child will need you to help to master new skills. This is not only a great possibility to spend time together but also to communicate and bond. Besides, when you spend a lot of time actively together, you will for sure know what to talk about with your kids; there will be no need to think of questions to ask for kids, you will already have a lot in common to talk about, memorize, and laugh.
6. Keep Private Information in Privacy
This refers to absolutely any age and kind of information. Nowadays, people are used to sharing everything on social media. But are you sure that your kid will be glad that all of your friends know that you have finally overcome the problem of wet sheets?
This rule also refers to keeping in confidence the behavior of your little one. If there has been an unpleasant situation during the day, you should not immediately tell everything to your partner in front of your kids. Your trust with kids should not intersect with your trust with your partner. After all, they do not need to know when you tell about this situation. On the other hand, make sure to praise good behavior in front of your partner to let your kid understand how rewarding it is for him/her and how pleased you are with good behavior.
Just Be Present!
To conclude, if you are already wondering how to be more present in your son’s life or the life of your daughter, it is already a step to success. In reality, the response is quite easy: to be a present parent, be there for your kids. Here are several more tips for you:
- Be honest to yourself and your kids: They will know when you lie.
- Define the obstacles in communication: What if smartphones have nothing to do with miscommunication and parents’ absence in your case?
- Do not judge yourself too strictly: Every human makes mistakes, just try making conclusions and change your behavior.
- Say “Sorry” to your kids when you feel guilty: Show them that making mistakes is ok just like forgiving close people and giving them another chance.
And the last recommendation is that no matter how much time you can spend with your kids, it is the quality of this pastime that matters. Enjoy parenthood not to regret in a couple of years for the moments you have missed — kids grow so fast.