One positive outgrowth of the pandemic has been this: improving parenting skills. As parents have sheltered-at-home with their children, more mental and emotional engagements are taking place.
Parents have shut down cell phones, interacted with their children in deeper ways, communicated and engaged with them in making choices and forged more positive bonds.
As a parent of twin boys, three months of downtime has taught my husband and I that cell phones at home are a distraction. We’ve learned to be emotionally all-in with our kids, to better set priorities with them, and to create real family time at home and appreciate each day.
Becoming a better parent involves creating a safe, secure, participatory, and non-stressful environment for your child. Here are tips on how you can create that:
For those that find themselves as either the ‘helicopter’ parent or the ‘present but not there’ parent, there are ways to transition into the Montessori parent that supports childhood independence.
The hovering parent does everything for their child, watches everything they do, and intercedes to avoid mistakes. By contrast, the ‘present but not there’ group is distracted, overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and multi-tasks every moment.
What we recommend while teaching parent education classes is for parents to guide their children to do for themselves and to make the best use of the precious few hours we’re together every day, which guides the child to a lifetime of self-confidence.
After all, learning to become a better parent is all about physically being present AND being emotionally there for our children, too. And you can make these changes tonight!
A less positive story during the sheltering-at-home time frame has been parental bad behavior. Millions of cooped-up parents have yelled at their kids during moments of stress.
It’s strengthening to both the child and the parent to apologize for bad behavior. In the same way that we ask our kids to apologize, we should repay them the favor.
Apologize by saying, ‘I’m sorry. I made a mistake and I’ll try to correct it.’ More importantly, show them that you are sorry so they can emulate your positive behavior. And children, who are truly accepting, will know that everyone makes mistakes and we all have moments when we’re not proud of our behavior or for losing our temper. When you apologize and show the efforts made to apologize, you’ve improved your parenting skills and taught them a valuable lesson: you’re human and it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you show ownership of your behavior.
These tips about engagement, interaction, and emotional presence will help your child build confidence and self-esteem, and in turn, will help you with improving parenting skills. So, relax, enjoy your kids, and be there on all levels for them.