5 Simple Parenting Practices to Create a Fresh Start

Posted 3/7/2016

Hello Families!

  Yes, it has been a long time but I am back in the saddle and ready to share some parenting wisdom with you! Can you feel it in the air? Spring is just around the corner, oh how I love Spring! It is a time to clean out the cobwebs of a long winter and start fresh. I thought this would be an ideal time to write 5 simple, yet effective ways for you to clean out your old parenting habits and start fresh. All are simple with a common sense approach but they are extremely effective. So here goes:

1. Diet
  We have all heard over and over 'you are what you eat', this is because it's undeniably true. Why notgive your child the very best foundation? When my children were young, all was organic and wholesome however our diet has grown more healthy with time. My kids are now 18 and 16, at the height of those teenage years when most are eating their worst. With their strong background of healthy, whole foods, my kids make really great food choices which I am SO grateful for! When I am at the co-op, they send me lists with almonds, smoked salmon, dried seaweed, spinach (for smoothies), kale, ginger, carrots (for juicing), raisins, mangos, trail mix, sushi and the like. I do not think many teenager's food hankerings look like this! When you start your child off with whole foods, their bodies simply know what it feels like to eat good. Nonetheless, it is never too late for any of us to change our eating habits. So, if you and your family have gotten off track, well now is the perfect time for a fresh (pun intended) start!

2. Sleep
  Your child needs 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night. Just like diet, sleep is a huge factor in their behavior. In the evening, have a calm and consistent bedtime routine. If every night is the same, PJs, brushing teeth, story, verses/prayers your child's body will respond. It will know and begin the nightly process of 'letting go of the day, embracing the night' (a mantra I used with my kiddos). Not to say there won't be those nights where sleep comes harder but if all is consistent, a good night sleep becomes the norm and your child will flourish.

3. Rhythm
  A strong daily rhythm is vital for the young child. With a strong daily routine or rhythm, the child relaxes and settles into life knowing all is well. Knowing what to expect throughout the day, creates comfort and security for the child. I have seen it many times here at Sweet Waters Childcare when a parent may come early or arrives late and the rhythm is disrupted. The child often melts, begins to whine and is out of sorts because the rhythm is off. When this happens give a little extra love and time to help support them until they can get back on track. Make sure your routine is a balance of quiet/down time and outside/big play. Do not over schedule your child. This will only lead to over everything: over tired, over stimulated, over crabby. Be the filter for your kiddos, don't agree to everything, be selective and thoughtful before committing to things. Also, give yourself permission to cancel if your child is clearly not up for an activity. It may be a few minutes of uncomfortableness for you, however, that beats a whole lot of uncomfortableness for you and your child afterwards. Being in tune with your child's needs is key.

4. Little to No Screen Time
  Here at Sweet Waters we are always media free. I ask parents to have their children refrain from the screen during the school week and limit on weekends. The developing child is simple too young to cope with the physical effects of the medium. It drastically impacts their own imaginative faculties, no matter what the content. The presence of too much time on the screen can clearly be experienced in the child's play. So, if you start limiting this ever present component while your child is young, you are allowing your child to experience the world around them first and foremost. This is monumental! It is an essential developmental base your child must have before they enter into the vast world of shows, games, movies, etc. Believe me, you will have plenty of time reeling this one in (huge issue in our house!). So why not wait?

5. Get Outside
  I don't know about you but I tend to get crabby if I am inside too long. Outside play is essential to children (and adults). Breathing the fresh air, running about with the big sky above, feeling the wind on our cheeks, watching the trees sway, hearing the birds, the warmth of the sun on our face. HUGE! So simple but the impact is GREAT!! Here at Sweet Waters we go out on the coldest of days. Many times it takes us much, much, much longer to get ready than we are actually out. Why all the effort? Well, all that squirrelly behavior runs right back up the tree where it belongs. We come in refreshed, calm, ready to sit down to lunch. So gear up! Get out with your kiddos. It can change a hard day into an amazing day, it's magic. I cannot say it enough!! Kid acting out + go for a nice long walk = everyone comes home refreshed and happy! I can almost guarantee it.

  So there you have it. Just 5 little things you can do to make it oh so much better for your child, for you and your family as a whole. You cannot ask for more than that!

Wishing you all a Happy Fresh Spring!

Kelly Waters