It seems more and more that the word ‘busy’ is associated with parenthood and it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that we can only be the best parent if we do more. What if in fact this was false?
What if there were ways that we could parent better by doing less? Even asking yourself that question can open you to new possibility of what parenting is going to be for you.
Doing less doesn’t mean neglecting, it’s more about looking for ways that you can have more fun in your interactions with your child and ways to be more present and there for them rather than caught up in the bumble-bee busy-ness that might just be a self-defeating pattern or a badge of honour, worn with pride.
Time to step off the busy carousel?
Here are some suggestions:
- What toys did you wish you had as a child but didn’t have? Is there any way you could explore playing with something similar with your child? I didn’t have LEGO so now I am exploring LEGO love with my child and getting geeky over getting to know the symbols in the instructions as though they are a secret magical code.
- Speaking of magical codes reminds me of a certain wizard you might know of. Do less by cuddling on the sofa to read children’s books that you love too. If you are not sure what those are get a reading guide or ask your librarian. When reading books from your own childhood be aware that you might need to improv and veer from the text sometime, as times have changed. This is another good reason to branch out and explore modern children’s fiction.
- Do less on your computer to be a better parent. Set up apps that limit your time on time-wasting websites and count it down for you. Set up your computer so it automatically switches off at the time that you want to switch off in the evenings.
- Do less on your phone. When you do use it, use it in blocks rather that intermittently. Your child will remember when you looked them in the eye and when you were too busy looking at your phone.
- Go to bed at a reasonable time. Doing less by getting more sleep will make you a better parent as you will be less grumpy and more able to cope with any challenges or challenging behaviour.
- Find age appropriate TV programmes or a film that you find fun too and spend time watching it together. I’m excited to watch ‘The Furchester Hotel’ from the makers of Sesame Street. We limit TV to 30-35 minutes per day and this means that we create balance and really enjoy the time we do spend watching TV. This is a personal family choice and you might choose another limit that suits you.
- Be conscious of the balance in your life between time at work and time with those you love. Be conscious of the balance between online time and offline time. Remember that where you set that balance is what you are modelling for your child. Adjust the balance as necessary. Be aware that resistance to this change is likely but will be worthwhile in the end.
- Do less in the long run by giving your child age appropriate tasks in the home that will in the end foster their understanding of their growing capabilities. Because of this it does not matter if the job is done well or not, it only matters that they gave it a go. The aim is to help your child be in the habit of contributing.
- Allow your child to do less. They don’t need to be in every team. They don’t need to go to every event. Unstructured play can help to create a creative mind.
- Make time for your hobbies – if you paint then paint. If you sew then sew. If you play piano… Then where they can let them learn from you and join in. (not always of course but sometimes is good)
- Have cleaning routines but sometimes let go of the standard that you held your house to before you had children. On this it can be helpful when looking at home design books to look at ones that are specifically tailored to families like this one or this. If you don’t know where to start with cleaning routines look at Flylady’s website and book, ‘Sink Reflections’ or Clean Mama. Having good routines means there is less to do in the long run.
If you do less you will be more relaxed and less frazzled. What effect do you think that would have on your children?
Doing less does not mean neglecting them. It means not doing where there is something that is not really of benefit. Use your intuition and inner guidance to help you figure out the the things that matter and the things that don’t. Here’s an example, I used to polish the copper pans in my kitchen and now I don’t. I really have better things to do now.
None of these are rules cast in iron. (at least cast iron doesn’t need the polishing) They are gentle suggestions to help you to begin to consider your own ways that you can be a better parent by doing less. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.
If you’d like help with beginning to tap into your inner guidance and intuition as you parent book a free 15 minute call with me here.