Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert on how to have the perfect, family life, I can’t stress enough that what will work for some parents won’t work for others and it’s trial and error to get to a point where things are functioning and well and everyone is happy. To be honest, there will be ups and downs regardless of whether you’ve found your perfect formula or not. You just have to roll with the punches and take life as it comes.
With that being said, I’m going to share with you the main tips that I’ve found have really helped me and my family to get to a point where everyone is well-balanced, happy (most of the time) and functioning well.
Balance Your Work and Home Life
It’s a big one. You need to find what’s best for you, but finding an effective way to manage your family life will make your family relationships ten times better. You can’t be at work all the time and ignoring your family, but you also can’t be avoiding work to be with your family. Working in a way that’s flexible and doesn’t have rigid hours or restrictions can really boost your power to take control of your life and find the best way to find that all important balance.
Discipline isn’t punishment. Discipline is finding the right way to teach your child the right thing to do. Effective discipline shows kids how to do things without hurting or offending people. I know it’s hard, but don’t immediately resort to anger, keep calm and explain rationally how the adult world works. Remember, kids aren’t a separate species, they’re just little humans and you should talk to them as adults (within reason).
Make Eating Habits Healthy
It’s a bit of a sneaky way to go about it, but when the girls starting going off their fruit and veg a little bit, Alex and I started treating them like precious rewards that were only given out if they were really good. Telling kids they can’t have something really does make them want it so much more. We started phasing out vegetable for a week or so and then started acting really excited about things like bananas, broccoli, beans etc. When they were around we’d say “oh Alex, can’t wait until the girls go to bed and we can treat ourselves to some tasty BRUSSEL SPROUTS” It’s a bit of a long game, but it worked for us and now they beg us for vegetables every night with dinner!
Love Your Partner
I think what single parents do is amazing. But do you know what’s better? A child growing up in a happy home with two parents who love each other. My parents weren’t together and I developed some major commitment issues and skewed views on love and marriage. Thankfully, Alex saved me, but I’ll never forget the battle it was to get me to where I am today. Work on your relationship, love your partner and show them love in front of the kids.
Hold Family Meetings If There Is A Major Issue
Family meetings may seem outdated and archaic, we thought so too until we tried them out. They create a great family connection that gives a platform for everyone to speak out and voice their opinions in a calm and respectful way. It’s a great problem-solving exercise as well and shows the kids how calm and rational discussion can solve nearly any everyday problem.
Learn To Compromise
This is one that we’re still developing at the moment. As Casey gets older, she’s starting to want to make her own decisions: about her hair, her activities, her schoolwork etc. Often, Alex and I know that the decisions she wants to make may not be the right thing for her. What we do is compromise. We tell her to fully explain to us why she wants to do that thing, with reasonable arguments and evidence, then if it sounds like she’s truly thought about it but we’re still not sure, we find a middle ground that we’re both happy with.
Read and Write As A Family
This is a great tip for creating quality time and improving their skills. We do this every day. Even if it is just for ten minutes or so. Alex and I normally take it in turns as well, so one night I’ll deal with Lily, him with Casey and the next day vice versa. Sometimes, we all it together and we read the same book! Regularly practice is so important for helping children to develop these basic skills.
Make Your Home a Haven
A child’s home should be their safe space so spend some time making sure it looks nice, smells nice and there are no judgements or negative feelings. A secure home will allow children to dedicate their full attention to growing and developing. The world is a complicated and scary place and children need a sanctuary to recharge and prepare themselves for the next challenge. I’m lucky in that I have design skills to make our home not only feel lovely but look lovely too.
Have a Routine
Having a routine in the early years of your child’s life can help provide them with the stability they need to be successful in their development and growth. Don’t change things up too much every day, and make sure they know the expectations that are there. Sure, it’s great to think outside the box and do something crazy once in a while, but don’t let that unpredictability become the routine.