Guest post by Dr Andy Cope
Being a parent isn’t the easiest job in the world but guess what, you don’t find that out until you actually are one!
Life can be full on and sometimes it’s just too easy to forget to make time for the things that really matter. Here are three things you can do every day that I promise will make a real difference to your family when you get home from work.
1. DITCH THE GRUMPY PARENT.
Be the best parent you can be every night when you get in from work or they get home from school. Often after a busy day when you stumble through the door and are greeted by your family, this is when ‘grumpy parent’ can appear. ‘Give me five minutes won’t you, PLEASE!’ But literally you only need to give them two minutes… step through the door and shout, ‘I’m home, come get me!’ This will indeed prompt the same reaction and you can give them a full two minutes of hugs and questions, ooooo’s and aaahhh’s, and then they will scurry away happy for the time being! Try it, it’s really that simple.
2. GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME.
As humans we have an average lifespan of 4000 weeks, so time is precious and short. The trick is to spend it wisely. Children won’t remember what you bought them, but they do remember ‘times together’. This time, once gone, can never be regained. With our children we don’t realise how fast this time goes; one minute you are changing their nappy and the next you are crying as you pack them off to university or to travel around the world. 3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE. Do it every morning when you wake up (woohoo, I’m alive!), while you brush your teeth (how amazing, I still have my own teeth), look in the mirror (hello gorgeous), eat your breakfast (yummy food in my tum), commute to work (I have a car, with cup holders and a secret sunglasses compartment!), etc. If you can do this all through the day then your mood will be super-positive when you step in the door each evening. Then you can practice gratitude as a table time activity with your family – go around and say one thing that you are grateful for today. Be thankful for the food you eat and when family life is getting like an uphill struggle, stop and think of ten reasons to be grateful for your family.
Most of all, every evening when you return home remember, you are a role model. The general rule of parenting is that your children won’t do what you say, but they will do what you do. Hence, if you want positive, happy, well-mannered offspring, the best thing can do is live those qualities yourself. Every single day.
Dr Andy Cope is a happiness expert and bestselling author of The Little Book of Being Brilliant available now on Amazon. Find out more about Andy at www.artofbrilliance.co.uk