Parenting has become a challenge in the 21st century. With disintegrating social structure and fast paced lives parents especially of kids in early years find themselves wanting on many accounts. However need of the hour for parents is to have belief in themselves and undertake smart parenting. Being a smart parent is about setting goals with their children and achieving them with resources available easily.
Year 2020 has been marked with pandemic and lockdown. Kids cannot go to school and child care centres are shut. Most of the parents are at home as well with many offices preferring their employees to work from home. Under this scenario it is prudent that many young parents set parenting goals on critical milestones of their young ones and seize this opportunity to achieve those.
Following is a list of 5 parenting goals that any parent having kid in the age group of 18 months to 5 years should seek to achieve
1. Get off the diapers:
Opportune time to get going on achieving this milestone if your baby is more than 18 months old and is still using diapers. By the time child is 2 years old, child can exercise control on sphincter muscles if trained appropriately. In view of the Covid19 pandemic, the movement of families has been restricted with fewer visits to parks, malls, and markets. It might be appropriate for young parents to jump on and undertake toilet training for their young ones. Fewer accidents will make it comfortable for you and your child. If done appropriately toilet training can be done in the time span of 10 days
2. Bottle feed/Breastfeed weaning:
Next parenting goal to be achieved is that of bottle/breast weaning of the child. If your child is more than 12 months and has those pearly white teeth coming in you should strongly consider weaning off your child from bottle/breastfeed. Most important is to wean off your child from bottle feed at night time as it leads to the formation of cavities. Treatment of such cavities can be a horrifying experience for both the child and the parent. If your child asks for a feed at sleep time, it is suggested to figure out alternate soothing techniques. Most mothers find it frustrating when their child screams and cries for the feed. Best way to overcome this would be to maintain a patient attitude and remind oneself that this milestone is necessary to be achieved for the good of the child only.
3. Mealtime independence:
In Indian families parents do not actively seek to develop mealtime independence till very late. Many Children are fed food by parents till as late as 8 -9 years of age. This makes a child picky eater and deters him from developing an independent sense of taste. Children should be encouraged to be independent during mealtime from as young age as 12 months. Self feeding skill assists in development of gross motor and fine motor skills and also boosts self-esteem of the child in the long run. For a parent it comes as a relief as feeding a child no longer remains a task to be attended to. Along with independence meal time etiquettes of cleanliness should also be continusly reinforced. This also helps parents in reducing their workload of after-meal cleaning.
4. Talk, Talk and Talk
Many young parents often complain of suspected speech delays in their children. This is primarily because children are exposed to fewer and fewer conversations around. Increased Escreen exposure coupled with the nuclear structure of the family leads to less verbal communication with the child. It is often advised that young parents should continuously talk to their children irrespective of response and ask them questions giving them an opportunity to at least form a response in their minds. Effective language skills in a child have been found to have a direct correlation with the development of cognitive skills of the child. Following the 20-20 parenting rule, parents across age group should have unstructured conversation with the child for at least 20 minutes everyday
5. Read, Read, Read
The second part of the 20-20 parenting rule speaks of 20minute reading with your child every day. Reading every day has multifold benefits for the child. It leads to developing reading, language, and cognitive skills among children. A child also develops a fondness for books and views them as a companion. Everyday reading sessions also help parents bond with the child leading to beautiful childhood memories
6. Set a prayer schedule with the child
Uncertainties that have come in the year 2020 have taught us never ever to take anything for granted. It has made us appreciated finer and smaller things in life that we were very casual about. Getting our kids to develop an attitude of gratitude and appreciation is very important. Daily prayers can be a great instrument by which our kids can thank god for such a beautiful life and express gratitude for small things around. This practice can help them remain grounded, make them emotionally stronger in the long run and keep them ready for challenges ahead in life
All the parenting goals above can be achieved by arents with two most important requisites of patience and perseverance. Timely inclusion of these parenting goals will ensure that kids grow up to be healthy, confident, independent adults. However to keep our kids happy right now we need to set a goal for ourselves as well and that is to be happy, smiling, relaxed parents