When you become a parent there are no amount of guidebooks that can help you ensure you are doing the right thing. All children are different and all parents are different, so it stands to reason that no two situations are going to be the same. However there are a set of golden rules you need to follow which will give your children the best start in life. Regardless of how you set about putting them in place.
If you have a newborn, you will probably notice how much sleep deprivation gets to you. It makes your mind go crazy, reduces your body’s ability to repair itself and can eventually lead to depression. Of course if you have a young baby then you just have to keep at a regular routine to try and teach her to find her own natural rhythm. It may not feel like it but you will get there!
By the time your children reach four years old, they should be well rehearsed at sleeping in their own bedroom. However there are children who just can’t settle. It is important you aren’t tempted to over love them. By running every time they call or falling into the trap of letting them jump into your bed in the middle of the night, you are making a rod for your own back. As soon as your child is old enough to sleep in their own bed, you need to work on ways of making this an exciting time, not too exciting though! A great way to do this is to turn their room into a feature room. Do they enjoy camping? Or are they the biggest Lightning McQueen fan? Don’t just opt for a run of the mill bed. Find a company that makes feature kids beds such as princess castles or little loft beds. Get them into a really good bedtime routine. Make washing something fun by spending time with them when they are bathing, or brush your teeth together and start your skincare routine at their bedtime. Make it normal and ensure you stick to the same time every night. Some children find the bedroom too quiet or too dark, it’s ok to leave a hall light on until they drop off, or better still have a small, soft nightlight in their room. This way if they do get up during the night they won’t be scared and run straight to your room. Instead they may just gently drift off to sleep.
As children become teenagers the temptation to let their bedtime routine slip becomes more common. However there are so many changes running through their bodies that sleep is more vital than ever. Stick to your guns with earlier bedtimes and make sure you take away all their gadgets and handheld devices overnight. Allow them to read if they want to, but make sure they aren’t staying up late whilst you are downstairs relaxing. Without enough sleep teenagers will find it harder to make rational decisions and to concentrate in class. So whilst you might seem like the constant nagger, you are giving them a very important gift. If they can master a good routine now then it will be easier to manage their own bedtimes when they get to adult life. Let’s face it! Most of us are guilty of staying up late and watching TV.
Another important start to give your children is teaching them to look after their skin and bodies carefully. It sounds crazy, but ensuring your son or daughter knows how to wash their personal areas will make them less prone to infections as they grow older. Yes, it can be a little awkward but if you focus on teaching them at a very young age then it will be natural as they become older.
Of course a child won’t need the same skincare routine as you do but that doesn’t mean you can’t lead the way with setting a routine. Find some great natural products that won’t be harsh on your child’s delicate skin then talk to them about what you are doing and why. It is really important to teach them how fragile skin is and how important SPF is for protecting your face from the sun. Obviously all this chat should be fairly light hearted but a child who sees their mum looking after their skin, is more likely to follow suit. Whilst they may not thank you for it now, they certainly will appreciate it as they turn into young adults and even more so when they hit 40 and still look 20. Of course it is also important to teach them the benefits of using natural products over the harsher high street ones. Not just on your skin but also on the environment.
When they reach the teen years you may find yourself in the great make up debate. This is a battle you are better off compromising over. A little give will ensure your daughter (or son, it is a modern world after all) feels a part of the crowd but doesn’t go to the heavy extreme and end up leaving the house looking 15 years older than she is. When they start experimenting with the subject, take them out to more natural shops such as The Body Shop and ask an assistant to help choose out some naturally enhancing make up. A tinted moisturiser is a good compromise, giving a gentle coverage without going full on. A light brown mascara will give a subtle effect and maybe a lip tint or tinted lip balm. As they grow, allow them to experiment but help guide them by teaching them how to blend. You went through this, remember! Let them learn from your mistakes but allow them to make some of their own.
Finally, teaching your children how to deal with emotion when they are young is going to set them up for a more balanced adult life. We can be tempted to hide our emotions, fears and heartaches from the children. Shielding them from the adult stuff. But try to remember that they tune in to our emotions far better than we give them credit for. Of course you shouldn’t be sharing all the details of your life but if something is going on and you know it is affecting you, do not hide it. You are teaching them to hold onto emotions and withdraw. Instead talk openly where appropriate and share a little bit of your sadness or fears with them. As they grow older, listen to their advice. Kids are pretty darn straight about things and often say it as it should be said. If there are troubled times coming then prepare them, but reassure them things will be ok.
Above all, listen. Allow your children to express all their emotions to you without feeling they will get into trouble or cause you upset. You may have to take a huge deep breath when teenagers share their life stories with you, but take it. Because you are far better having a child that shares, than a child who doesn’t. You may not like what goes on in their world, but it is better you know, rather than something hitting you both out of the blue.
Parenting is really tough. Being a kid is pretty tough too. So work together and you will have laid positive foundations for them to grow from. Hopefully they will use your lessons to guide their own children one day.