Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Parenting Tips From a Non-Parent

I do not have any kids of my own, but I do spend my days around small humans. I've been a nanny for the past 8 months, which as resulted in learning A LOT about children and what they need to thrive. Not only from the children I live with, but also those I see every day at playgroup. While I realize that every child and parenting style is different, I do believe that the tips below are fairly universal!

Sleep Training
This is one of the biggest things that parents differ on from what I have seen. I think that sleep training is an amazing thing to do! Sane parents = happier children, and parents need their sleep. One tip is putting your baby down to bed before they are actually asleep. The baby will learn to soothe itself to sleep, which will help when it wakes up in the middle of the night. Unless something is wrong, the baby will usually be able to fall back asleep by itself.

Time Outs
This is obviously for older children, because toddlers won't be able to understand what is going on. I think there is a negative idea about time outs these days, when in reality it is just a chance for the child to spend some time alone, think about their actions, regain composure and calm down. I think of it like a time out in sports, and I think a lot of children can benefit from this concept.

I myself love routine, so maybe it is a bit easier for me to preach this one. From my experience, children need routine. They will be happier and more successful if they know what to expect throughout the day. It's better to eat snacks and lunch and have naps at the same time, and will make your life easier too! I live for nap times right now, because it gives me a chance to mentally zone out/ get things done around the house.

The little boy I nanny is just starting to say a few select words, but since I started I have always used please and thank you with him. If another kid at playgroup hands him their toy to share, I sort of speak for him and say "Thank you!" He hears it all the time, he knows more or less the appropriate time to use each, and when he can, hopefully he will say them. It's important to be consistent with using them and reminding children to use them.

Set Limits
I remember growing up with people who had parents that would try to be their friend rather than their parent. They would gossip with them, drink with them etc. It's like these parents were afraid that if they disciplined their child, their child would resent them to the point of no return. I think it's extremely important to be your child's parent and set limits for them. Make sure your child knows that you will always be there to help, but that it is important that they show you respect. You are the boss and there is nothing wrong with that!

Baby Sign Language
By teaching your baby sign language, you are giving them the ability to communicate with you before they can talk. I taught the little boy I nanny "all done" and "more", and they were great at meal times. These kids won't be as frustrated, because they are able to communicate with adults about what they need. I also loved how many parents know the signs, and can understand what your baby needs.

That's all for today!
If you have any comments or suggestions of your own, please leave them below, I would love to hear!

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