Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Parent? Count Me In!

Two Simple Ways to Be a Happier Parent

Good starter article by Nancy Shute on how to be a happier parent.

Reducing the stress caused by the stressful things you go through with your kids is one of them. Mornings being the toughest, it makes sense to get as much done the night before as possible.
-Have the kids lay out the clothes they want to wear. It reduces scrambling for them in the morning.
-Plan breakfast, whether at home or at school. Eggs take longer to make than cereal, so the parent has to plan for that, and give the kids time to eat.
-Have shoes, backpacks, homework, and signed goods in one spot ready to go. The kids can pick the spot. It just helps to have it all done the night before.

Of course, if the alarm doesn't go off, or people oversleep, then it will still be a stressful morning. But, having everything ready will make it less so.

And of course eating dinner together is better. If possible, let the kids help with the whole setup, preparation, and cleanup afterwards. They need to learn to cook, and to clean up after themselves. The hardest part about this is the short attention span kids have, the danger of hot cookware, and the frustration as kids get on your nerves while you’re trying to cook.
-Let them help where they can. Some things are not age appropriate. But, if it is, then let them do it. In this case what parents need is patience. Patience will lead to happiness.
-Let them do dishes while you cook. You share the kitchen and the experience, and have less to do later.
-Let them set the table. You can show the right way, then your way. :-)
-Some families do buffet style. Others have a central server who gets all of the plates ready. I prefer more of the “food-on-the-table” approach. This lets kids provide their own portions while being monitored, but still lets them do it themselves.
-Dinner together is a good way to teach manners. Not everyone will eat at the same speed. Kids can learn to be considerate of each other just by eating dinner and making it pleasant for everyone, just like they want their own experience to be pleasant.

If all else fails and they are running around underfoot while you're trying to make dinner, then have them play in their room, read a book, or watch TV.

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