Handling kids can be the most challenging thing you ever do. There are so many things to consider and so much advice given, it’s easy to get lost.
This piece offers an un-tested but very common-sense approach on how to avoid making some of the most common mistakes parents make with their kids…
1.) The Stroller Incident
Kids love to be outside; there is often no reason to keep them cooped up inside. However, if your young children will walk side by side with you, leave the strollers behind. Kids dislike being slowed down by a stroller (and parents dread having to carry said stroller upstairs or along uneven terrain) but at least they can function independently in one. If they’re trapped inside, they become restless and irritable. The mistake: Assuming that just because your baby can sit up well on his own, he doesn’t need the help of a stroller.
2.) The Hand-Me-Down Mistake
While it’s true, that preschoolers are less picky than toddlers, try to avoid giving them other kids’ clothes as much as possible. If they receive hand-me-downs from older cousins or relatives whose children have outgrown them, make sure you wash those clothes first before letting the kids wear them. Kids hate dirty clothes and will complain about wearing other people’s clothing even if they fit perfectly well. They simply don’t want other people’s germs lingering inside their shirts and pants.
3.) The Tantrum Decoy
When you’re in a crowded area, such as the grocery store or mall, and your child throws a tantrum, are on the lookout for parents who allow their kids to misbehave. As soon as you notice a couple of people looking your way, thinking your kid’s outburst is yours too, immediately remove him from the scene before he draws more attention. You don’t want strangers taking pictures of your kid’s meltdown and posting them online without your permission. Be sure not to carry anything, which makes it look like you’re prepared to leave within seconds. There is nothing more embarrassing than fighting off onlookers only to return home with half of what you originally came there for, simply because your child was the one who caused the scene.
4.) The Photo Bomb
If you’re in a family photo and your kid has an itchy back or needs to stretch his legs, make sure you don’t do it in the middle of the picture. Kids have a habit of ruining photos with any inappropriate body movement at random times. To avoid being part of this problem, get someone else to help you take pictures so that you can get a moment alone with your kids if needed. You can go on impromptu picnics or outings before important events just for this purpose.
5.)The Birthday Party Fiasco
Kids have different views of how birthdays should be spent based on their personalities and tastes but try to keep them from expressing their opinion too loudly during a birthday party at home. One child might want to spend his birthday bowling while another would prefer going to the movies and yet another thinks that visiting an aquarium is more fun than anything else. Make sure they keep such opinions to themselves on the day of the party if it’s being held in your home unless they’re asked directly for their suggestions.
6.) The Birthday Cake Deconstruction
Whether you’re doing this for lack of time or you simply don’t feel like having your kitchen destroyed by children eager to help, never let them do the cake, ice cream serving and eating job alone! Kids love taking charge but will eat way too much cake and ice cream if left unsupervised. If there are too many children with you, let them take turns in line so that each of them can have a slice or two. You’ll probably serve yourself last anyway.
7.) The Restaurant Fiasco
When you’re taking your kids to a restaurant for the first time, bring along something they love to distract them while waiting for their food. This is especially important if they are still very young and haven’t mastered the art of being patient yet. Even though they might be okay when seated at their place, most kids get overwhelmed by people around them when it’s time to order food from the server. Children’s menus are affordable options but don’t expect children to choose what they want on their own, even if there are only three items listed. They will usually change their minds a few times before finally settling on something.
8.) Stop Feeling Embarrassed
The Hiding Your Head in Shame When you’re out with your children and another kid cries about a lost toy or being refused entry into the play area because he didn’t have his parents’ permission to enter, don’t take it out on your kids by ignoring them even if it means losing your cool in front of other people. Kids learn how to behave from adults, so if you show signs of embarrassment when they misbehave in public places, chances are they will follow suit. While you might think that saving face is more important than helping an innocent kid during such times, remember that your kids want nothing but the best for you, too.
9.) The Disobedient Child
It’s difficult to let go of control, but if you’re serious about teaching your child to be responsible for their actions, leave them unsupervised only if they are mature enough to handle various circumstances. For example, putting your four-year-old in charge of an eight-year-old is like placing a steak in front of a hungry canine and expecting him not to take it! Let them decide on what they want to play with first before giving other suggestions.
10.) The Dealing With Illness Professional
If your children get sick at home, don’t panic or call the doctor right away unless it’s something serious like vomiting or high fever. If there are no major issues, then chances are they just need to go back to sleep and rest so that their bodies can deal with the condition on their own. Make sure they drink lots of fluids but if you feel like giving them medication, give only children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen at most. Don’t let them eat or drink anything without asking your doctor first regarding what is allowed for kids to take medicines before meals.
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