Improving Parenting Skills Today

happy parent
By: La Jolla Montessori School

Tips for Parents to be more present for their child both physically and mentally

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,” says Kelly McFarland, Director of La Jolla Montessori School.

“As a parent of twin boys, three months of down time 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,” she says.

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:

1. Building a New Middle Ground in Parenting

For those that find themselves as either the ‘helicopter‘ parent or ┬áthe ‘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,” McFarland says. “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” McFarland says.

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!

2. Your Ultimate Strength: Apologizing

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,” McFarland says. “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.

Summary

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.

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