"Being a parent is a tough job, but incredibly rewarding, too," says Supernanny Jo Frost. "Love, attention and patience – not money and possessions – are the key ingredients to a happy relationship with your little one."
In these days where consumerism is king and we all find ourselves increasingly time poor, it’s too easy to think you’re showing your child how much you love her by giving her things she wants, all the time. Well, material items can’t replace giving your child the time and attention they need.
You can’t replace memories with possessions, so you need to understand the importance of spending time together. Don’t use the excuse that you’re at work all the time. Even if you only get two hours a day with your child, try to make sure those two hours are quality time for you and her. Believe me, your child will value this much more than anything you could buy her.
One family I helped on Supernanny had bought their son three bikes. Can you believe it! All because his parents felt guilty about working hard and not spending time with him. One of the first things I did was get rid of the bikes for two weeks. Did he wail about losing them? No! Because he was getting quality time with his parents instead. They couldn’t believe the extreme change in their child.
I can’t stress how important it is for you and your partner to think about what kind of parents you want to be – whether your baby is planned, or is a surprise. So what values are important to you? What’s your own belief system? Don’t take it as read that you should bring up your child in the same way as your parents, or in the opposite way, either. I speak to lots of parents who say, “I want to be this type of parent.” Well, make it happen!
She isn’t a mini-me version of you (or a clone of her siblings). She has her own voice and her own thoughts, you’re helping to encourage that and make her blossom. There’s nothing as wonderful as when you start seeing your child’s mind begin to tick over – I absolutely love it. You don’t treat every individual adult the same, so why do it with children? Celebrate their differences. If she wants to dress differently and doesn’t want everything to match, let her explore that. As long as they’re the correct clothes for the season, what difference does it make? She needs to make decisions on her own too.
With your child it’s so important to mean what you say, whether the information you’re giving her is good or bad. If you deliver on your word, time and time again, your child will trust you. It creates stability and lets her know where he or she stands. Following through will give you great results for the future.
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