We mean really listen. Yes, we know that you've heard your child tell you the same story about her best friend's pet frog 46 times, and it got a little redundant on round 3 -- but to her, this is the coolest thing since Dora the Explorer. When she tells a story, engage her and ask her questions.
We understand the quest for perfection. But don't try to force your child into a mold of unattainable standards just so you can brag about how he mastered the Mandarin language at the age of 3 at your next moms' group. Just be happy that he's happy.
Being good to yourself allows you to be better to your kids. So forget mom guilt and go out for dinner with the girls already, or simply allow your hubby to take a shift with the kids while you relax in the bath with a good book. Taking some time for yourself will allow you to restore the energy you need for effective, nurturing motherhood.
Kids thrive on structure and actually need discipline. So while you may be tempted to simply bribe her with a new doll if she sits nicely in the cart as you shop for groceries, try to instill the importance of being good for goodness' sake. And make sure she understands the consequences if she doesn't follow the rules.
While it's important for your children to respect you as their parent, it's also important to have fun with them, too. Want to be a better mom? Be a better kid. Instead of simply sitting on the bench reading the latest Candace Bushnell book while they play at the park, kick off your shoes and help them build a castle in the sand.
No matter what, tell your children that you love them. Every day. Every hour, if you want. Kiss them. Hug them. Compliment and praise them. Confidence and a sense of self are perhaps the greatest gifts moms can give their children. Make sure she knows that she can talk to you about anything -- even if she's only five. She may not have many secrets yet, but you're laying the groundwork for the future. So when she really does need an ear, she'll know she can trust you.
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