By Jennifer Chung
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Don't you wish your child came with a manual?
Parenting is an ever-evolving game of trial and error. Adjusting your parenting style to work with your child's bent is essential for positive parenting practices. That's why I developed five positive parenting changes that allow me to focus on my relationship with my son vs. on all the other stuff that can often seem oh so important. Join me and commit to making a few positive adjustments to your parenting strategy like embracing the chaos and living in the moment.
- Live in the moment: It's easy to get caught up with the logistics of life (what's for dinner, were swim lessons scheduled, where the heck are all of the kids' socks?!) – These details are important, but try not to let them rule your life. As important as it is to unplug from technology every now and then, it's equally important to make an effort to unplug from your "to do" list, and just enjoy unplanned, unproductive time with the family.
- Embrace the chaos. Let's face it life gets crazy. If you like an organized, structured life, you may find that embracing the chaos that comes with a busy schedule a bit frazzling. (Crumbs all over the couch? Let the dog clean it up.) But you just might discover that letting go of control helps you be a lighter, happier, more resilient parent.
-Take a day. Do you ever feel like you just don't have enough one-on-one time with your kids or your spouse? To stay connected, regularly set aside time for dedicated days for your kids, your spouse and for yourself. Start small - maybe someone gets a dedicated day every other week. But plan to go "all in" for the day - take your kids to their favorite places, spend a romantic day with your husband or treat yourself to a leisurely afternoon at the spa.
-Give back together. One of the best lessons you can teach your children is the importance of giving back. Volunteering together, as a family, is a great way to make this part of your routine. Rake a neighbor's leaves, take treats to kids at the cancer ward or visit a nursing home. It's a wonderful way to connect with each other.
-Creative play. New toys are always a temptation. Are you always on a quest for the newest gizmo that will occupy and teach your kids for hours on end? Rarely do toys deliver all they promise when it comes to keeping a child's attention. This year, scale back on new toys and focus on ways to encourage creative play with your kids. Plant tomatoes in the garden, make macaroni art by gluing macaroni to a piece of paper, or make mud pies in the backyard to foster family time.
It's essential to take time to plan for together time. Kids don't stay little long enough and we will miss out on those magical parenting moments if we don't unplug once in a while and focus on the people who mean the most to us.
ABOUT JENNIFER CHUNG
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child's health information. Organize your child's growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at Kinsights.com to learn more and sign up. You also can follow them on Facebook/kinsights and Twitter (@kinsights).
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