Parenting advice has only gotten more annoying with time and the popularity of parenting blogs. It would seem everyone’s an expert and yet here we all are, still struggling in the midst of the baby poop, all-nighters, food throwing, door slamming, drum-kit demolishing hazardous waste that is parenthood.
Oh, there’s good stuff too. The cherubic smiles, the first words, first steps, hand holding and non-food flinging, child-adoring times that make everything worth it and then some.
Yet, along the way we seek out nuggets of wisdom, different theories to try out. It’s okay when we’re the ones doing the seeking, however — not so much when it’s unsolicited advice.
But there’s gold to be found in the old-school ways (aside from free-range spanking and cough syrup administering). In my everlasting quest to seek out the very best bits of parenting advice for myself, I’ve discovered that grandparents and teachers and daycare providers know way more than we give them credit for. I interviewed my in-laws, my daughter’s preschool teachers and my son’s kindergarten teachers and here’s what they had to say …
“Mom’s always right.” (my mother-in-law)
It’s true. So is dad for that matter. Super annoying the kids maybe. But who cares when we have to struggle so hard to make this point be known anyways?
“Read your baby, not your baby book. You are enough.” (my mom)
As parents, especially new ones … we doubt ourselves a lot and forget about this magically wonderful and mighty thing called “instinct.” We should trust that more and put down the books, yes? Trust your gut. Always.
“Teach your child to be more self-sufficient and about self-regulation.” (my son’s kindergarten teacher)
When I asked my son’s kindergarten teacher what advice she thought would best serve new parents she came up with that! She shared that an overwhelming number of new little students start kindergarten and don’t know how to dress themselves, open up their own containers and take care of their own things (i.e: packing and unpacking their own backpacks). She added at the end, “Oh and please! Please feed your child a healthy breakfast!”
“Give cues and sustain a routine.” (my daughter’s daycare teacher)
Have you ever wondered how your child’s daycare provider can get a whole class to nap or out the door in their snowsuits in record time but at home that’s never the case? That’s because kids crave consistency. They thrive on being given warnings instead of being abruptly pulled out of an activity to be told they have to do something right that very second. In creating routine and structure, kids feel more in control of the situation and if you give them a few verbal warnings before the actual time comes you can expect them to comply with more timelines and compliance.
“Be kind to yourself.” (my mother in-law)
Awwww, right? I have a good one there, and I know I’m lucky for it. She went on to express that parenting is a constant roller coaster of emotions, demands, sacrifices, and rewards. That it’s deeply satisfying and incredibly frustrating. She then explained that it took her years to ease up on herself and that very often she was her own worst enemy by not trusting her own skills as a mother enough, having guilt over working outside the home, losing her patience, etc. She really felt passionately about expressing to me that none of it matters if you’re not treating yourself with love, kindness, and respect — as well as forgiveness when you falter.
Image courtesy of Selena Burgess