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Doing less is more

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Child cries holding baseball bat
Making your child do multiple activities each term doesn’t give your kids any free time to just … be.

In our quest to be great parents, we often don’t see that our actions aren’t always best for our children. Now’s the time to take off the blinders and stop doing these 20 things to your kids right now.

As parents, we tend to focus all our energy on the things we think our children need however sometimes we need to take a step back and look at what we should stop doing instead.

1. Feeling Like You’re Failing
Are you a perfect parent? Of course not! Some days will be better than others but you have to stop feeling like you’re failing as a parent. You’re not doing your children any favours by thinking you’re letting them down.

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2. Doing Everything for Them
We do a lot for our kids, to the point that we end up doing everything for our kids. The best way to raise independent children is to allow them practice time to be independent.

So what if milk gets spilled onto the counter instead of into the glass because you didn’t step in to help? Kids can learn a lot by trying things on their own.

3. Neglecting Your Marriage
We’re so focused on raising our kids, taking care of them and making sure they’re happy, that we often neglect one of our most important relationships: our marriage. Nurture your marriage by planning date nights together, connecting with each other and simply making the time to talk before turning in at night.

4. Fighting Over the Little Things
You can’t win every battle and you shouldn’t try to either. Pick your parenting battles wisely. The little things really don’t matter.

5. Not Assigning Responsibilities
Ah, the life of a child, a carefree life with zero responsibilities. That’s because all the responsibilities fall on you. Assign age-appropriate chores not only for your child’s sake but for yours.

Parents yelling at child
Parenting can be frustrating, no doubt, but blowing up at your kids isn’t the answer.

6. Overscheduling Them
We want our kids to experience everything they want so that typically means we overschedule them, cramming in scouts, sports, dance and other activities in a single semester. Not only do you run yourself ragged, it doesn’t give your kids any free time to just … be.

7. Neglecting Yourself
You do everything for everyone else. When was the last time you took care of yourself? Take some time out to be a healthier, happy parent and avoid burn out.

8. Devoting So Much Time to Your Devices
Have you unplugged your gadgets to spend one-on-one time with your kids today? Create gadget-free times and zones in your home.

9. Spoiling Them
We love our kids so much and we want them to be happy 100% of the time. And since that’s not possible, we sometimes discover we are accidentally spoiling them rotten.

There are ways to keep them happy without spoiling them like making sure they do chores, teach them to say thank you and don’t pile on false praise.

10. Not Teaching Them the Real Meaning of Gratitude
We teach our children to say, “please” and “thank you,” but do they truly know what it means to be thankful? Make sure the words they’re speaking aren’t empty. Raise thankful kids who appreciate everything and everyone around them.

11. Trying to Be Like Other Parents
Facebook, the bragging mother next door and the pressure we put on ourselves have all turned parenthood into a blood sport. We try too much to be like other parents instead of just being the best parent we can be.

12. Ignoring Bad Behaviour
We let that sassy mouth go because we tell ourselves it’s a phase or we tell our kids to work out those sibling spats on their own. Some behaviours can be curbed before they get out of hand. Ignoring them won’t make them magically go away.

Father on the phone ignoring wife and son.
A parent’s life is hectic. Consciously take a breath and enjoy every moment.

13. Being Inconsistent in Your Discipline
One week we take away a privilege, the next we see the same offense committed and do nothing. Inconsistent discipline is confusing to kids and doesn’t help them learn the valuable lessons you’re trying to teach. Come up with your own plan to discipline your children and stick to it every time.

14. Yelling at Them
One of your children shoved a paper clip into the light switch, another climbed the pantry and helped herself to a bag of marshmallows while your toddler managed to give the dog a new hairdo with play dough, which is now dry. Parenting can be frustrating, no doubt, but blowing up at your kids isn’t the answer. Stop yelling and find a better way to communicate so they’ll actually listen to what you have to say.

15. Trying to Raise Perfect Kids
Here’s a secret. Your kids aren’t perfect. No child is and that’s perfectly okay. Don’t get hung up on trying to raise perfect kids.

16. Forgetting to Recognise the Little Moments
A parent’s life is hectic. Some days you don’t know which way is up. That can easily keep you in a fog to the point that you forget to recognise the little things. Consciously take a breath and enjoy every moment.

17. Making Them Eat Foods They Don’t Like
We want them to eat healthy but if your children gag every time they bite into green beans, they may not actually like green beans no matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise.

Tame the picky eater with various strategies, including the one-bite rule, but if they insist they don’t like a certain food, forcing it on your kids every day is setting you up for a war none of you is going to win.

18. Saying Yes to Everyone Else
You are one person. As much as you want your own cape, you’re not a superhero. You can’t sew the costumes for the class play, coach three days a week for each one of your children’s sports teams and bake 300 cupcakes for the school fete. Help your children’s school on your terms.

19. Acting as Though Failure Is Bad
Have you been successful at every single thing you’ve tried in your life? No? Welcome to the club! Yet, we go out of our way to make sure our kids don’t ever fail. We practically write that book report our son forgot to tell us about until the day before it was due. Let your kids feel the natural consequences of their actions or inactions. What will they do when they fail? They’ll feel disappointment and they’ll probably come up with their own plan to rectify the problem, such as talking to the teacher and scheduling a new due date.

20. Comparing Your Children to Others
Why can’t you keep your room clean like your brother does? Your friend Johnny makes good grades on his tests. Parents naturally tend to compare their children to others however when we do that we not only make them feel guilty, we can actually harm their friendships and fuel sibling rivalry. No one wants to be compared to anyone else, especially kids who are still trying to figure out who they are.

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