The Third practice

The 5 go-to practices to be a happier and better parent:

Yesterday I wrote about the second practice Click here to read about the second practice . There are five things you need to do everyday. YES you read correctly, every single day, to be a happier better parent - period. I will also tell you how to make it happen … (Everybody is different I know, but this actually works for everybody. YES! I am confident to tell you this).

1. Exercise

2. Eat healthy

3. Play with your children

4. Invest in your relationship

5. Meditation, pray or quite time (wherever practice works for you)


3. Play with your children: YES spend time with them. There is an argument about quality instead of quantity. Both are important. Of course children need quality time. Children also need lots of time and repetition to learn and practice. Learning takes a lot of practice. You can also choose other people to teach them and that is ok (but then don't complain about what they learn :) - 

I heard somebody say: For children time spells love. I think this is very true. I’m not saying you have to spend every single moment of the day with your children playing and doing all they want. No, the daily requirements of life march on. There are responsibilities. We also want children to be independent and be able to socialize with other people. We want our children to create a bond with friends and family. But we should take time to play with our children because  they learn playing with us and it is a great opportunity to get to know them and create a strong bond with our children.

how to do it: Ideas

  • There are some parents that tell me: I don't really like to play, It is awful to sit and play cars or play dolls… No problem! No guilt here, if you don't like the game you don't have to play. But you can definitely  involve your child in something you like. If you would rather go outside for a walk then make it fun. Go around the neighborhood hunting for stuff (rocks, sticks…).

  • If you enjoy learning about motorcycles or cars make it a date and go to a car show together and tell your kids all you know about it. 

  • Read a book to your child about a topic you like … if you are passionate about something just share it with your child like you do with your friends (try to find easy ways to explain it so your children are engaged more with you).

  • Go to the park and play tag. That will burn some energy out for them and give you your workout of the day. Win-win!

  • Make sure there are no other distractions when you take the time to be with them. Put away your phone and turn the TV off. Be present.

  • I noticed my children were very needy after school and it was very hard for me to get dinner ready and finish the afternoon in peace because there were so many interruptions. So I decided to take one hour, just one hour, as soon as we come back from school and just sit and play with them. I let them choose and be in control of what they want to do. We have so much fun. I learn from them and they tell me about school and their friends without me asking about it. It has been a very good time to bond. Now,  when it is time for me to go make dinner they were fine to be by themselves playing independently or together and I can get stuff done faster.

  • Involve them in the house chores. I can tell you with proof that an 18-month-old can fold towels like a pro. A 4-year-old can mop the floor very well (with an assistant with the water part). A 5-year-old can chop soft fruit and veggies. I can go on and on… there are so many things they can do that involve them and help us take some of the work out of our hands. Learning this work make them feel more part of the family. Doing chores with your kids is also the best opportunity to teach them that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do - but we can make it fun. Put on their choice of music and turn cleaning the house into a dance party! 

  • Make obstacle courses around the house with pillows, boxes, chairs (another opportunity for you to get some exercise).

  • Family board games are good to involve children and practice some social skills. 

  • Let you kids choose what they want to play and let them be in control of the game sometimes (most of the time if is possible). They want to have the opportunity to be in control and this is a great time to do it. 

  • Go outside, go for a walk and talk. You don't need to get anywhere in particular just go out and walk there is a lot of things that you can find outside.

  • Cook together. They really love to help and yes it could be a little messy but it will teach them to cook. Cooking helps with fine motor skills. It will get them excited to try new things because they were part of it and it is also a great opportunity to talk and learn together. Children can start helping with cooking as little as 18-months-old or sooner.

  • Very young children don't play for longer periods of time, so you can choose 20 minutes to play ball, read a book, go for a walk… 

Playing is supposed to be fun, so find something that is fun for you too. Adults don't have much time to enjoy play time anymore, so put it in your calendar because it will be good for you too. 

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