As we parent each new child we gain more knowledge, we learn more strategies, we make more mistakes and we continue to come to the realisation that there is still so much more to know. Whilst nowhere near the completion of my parenting duties, I have managed to get 3 boys through the baby stage, toddlerhood and now have them firmly entrenched in their primary school years. With a new toddler enthusiastically making his presence felt, and the welcoming of a new baby later in the year, I embark on this ‘second round of early childhood’ with both an open mind and certainly a few lessons learned. So here they are…..13 of my top tips to help me get through the coming years.
- Only ever buy exactly the same pair of socks for their entire childhood. As long as they inhabit the same house as you, this is the only answer I can come up with for preventing odd socks.
- It doesnt matter how many times you say yes to a child….you will still be the worst parent EVER the one time you say no…so you may as well get it over with early and teach them that No means No, and start growing that thick skin!
- Letting your child play with a toy gun, (whilst challenging your initial intentions of creating PC kids) will NOT turn your child into a homicidal maniac. (not so far anyway!) Oh and nor will letting them dress up as Batman, Superman, Buzz Lightyear or a Ninja Turtle.
- It is never going to be possible to attend every play, recital, assembly, sports day, excursion, presentation and training session..so I will refrain from feeling guilty when it isnt convenient to do so.
- It is completely futile to try and talk any rational sense into a ‘tantruming’ toddler. I now know that it is far better to prevent the tantrum by distraction or if you missed the opportunity, either ignore or pick up and remove offending offspring.
- Flexibility is a must. I will not run on such a tight schedule that I am sent into a mad panic by a a baby who decides to spew over his ‘newly changed into outfit’ just as I strap him into the car.
- I will not get involved in comparing the milestones of baby and toddler for hours on end. Just becomes tedious and boring.
- No matter how many times I tell the kids to keep their heads away from others…they will still get headlice!
- Don’t bother buying clothes that you like but they dont in the hope that they will wear it anyway…because they wont. My children, one in particular, has been known to survive a whole season rotating 2 t-shirts despite having close to 12. I can however, always stipulate what they wear on special occasions, parties etc. However dont leave this up to my husband as despite having a gorgeous array of clothes, they too will find the oddest and ugliest combinations to fit out the unsuspecting child.
- Needs do not equal wants. I will not be bullied into believing that I must renege on a decision because EVERY other kid has one, goes there or plays it ….because that is simply never true!
- Children can be selective in their hearing, so I will not keep booking them into the audiologist to get justification for their refusal to look up from the TV
- You cannot forcefeed a toddler!
- I will continue to use phrases such as “Because I said so” (parents dont have to explain everything, some things are simply non negotiable) and “Wait til your father gets home” (because yes, he is way more scary than me!)
Yes I could certainly do a Part 2, 3 and 4 as there is so much more I have learnt, and I will be back in another 10 years with some great advice for myself on how to get the younger 2 through their teenage years….so stay tuned!
What is some parenting advice you wish someone had told you from the start?