Treating children with kindness, love, and patience remains the cornerstone of good parenting. Though the potty training process may cause you stress, it’s important to note that it can be stressful for your child, too. By improving your parenting patience, you can model good behavior for your child—and encourage him or her to succeed. As you continue to guide your child through potty training—and other everyday events—try out these methods.
- Model talking about your emotions. When adults are upset, we tend to try to hide it. Your child, on the other hand, may throw a tantrum when he or she gets upset. However, if you model about talking about your emotions—good and bad—he or she will understand how to convey feelings without throwing a fit. For example, you can say things like, “Oh, we’re out of coffee today, and that makes me feel sad,” or “The neighbor’s dogs won’t stop barking, and that makes me feel frustrated.” This will teach your child how to articulate his or her thoughts—and it will make it easier on the both of you to weather the potty training process.
- Say “no” to unnecessary work when overwhelmed. The truth is, it’s okay if the dishes are piled up or dinner isn’t ready every day. Monitor your stress levels—and try not to let them rise. If things get tough, go easy on yourself, and make note to have a more productive day tomorrow. Then, order a pizza or head out for dinner instead of spending hours cooking and cleaning. After all, everyone needs a break every once and a while.
- Designate a time of day for relaxation. Schedule a time of day—even for 15 minutes—where you can relax. This may mean relaxing for part of naptime instead of folding clothes. It could mean getting up earlier and drinking a cup of coffee. Or, it could be watching a television show after your children are in bed. Make sure that for a portion of the day, you can unwind, renew, and start improving your parenting patience.
- Ask for help when you need it. Whether this means asking your older children to help out with chores, giving your partner a to-do list, or getting outside assistance, make sure to ask for help when you need it. Though many of us want to be viewed as superhuman caretakers, no one can fully live up to that ideal all on their own. Additionally, asking for help when you need it will help model healthy behavior to your child, who will be more likely to ask for help in turn.
- Know when to apologize. As parents, we take on a huge amount of responsibility and stress. Occasionally, this can lead us to act as less than our best selves. However, by knowing when to apologize, you can show your child how important he or she is to you—and that you’re there to take care of him or her. It also means that your children will learn how to act and react in times of worry and anxiety—and how to properly apologize.
- Find an activity that is calming for both you and your child. After a long day, anyone would feel grumpy and tired! Calm down yourself—and your child—with an activity designed to help you recharge. Whether that’s a nap, story time, or a healthy snack, it can replenish your parenting patience.
Every day, you can show your child that you love him or her. Improving your parenting patience means that you can let the little stresses in life slide—and rise to occasion to tackle the big ones. Potty training, cleaning up messes, and raising your child—with patience, you can succeed through the difficulties.
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