Are you wanting to incorporate gentle parenting into your lifestyle? Here are a few ways you can bring gentle parenting into your everyday routine.
Heading Out the Door
You’re ready to get out the door and get going to where you need to be, but you have to get your children out the door with you, and into the car.
When children know what is expected of them, the unwanted behavior is usually eliminated. It’s best to prepare your children with your expectations and what your children need to do in order to be ready to leave. You can say, “In a little bit, we are going to leave to go to Grandma’s. You will need to put on your shoes now so that you are ready to go.” Young children typically understand the concept of “little” easier than a specific amount of time.
Another way to incorporate gentle parenting in your everyday routine is to have a bag by the door for your child to place a special item they can bring along. When it’s time to go, remind them to put their special item in the bag and get ready to go.
Time to Turn off Screens
Ending screen time can be difficult. It’s important to set expectations before your child begins their screen time. Talk with your child about the amount of time allowed and what the plan is for when it’s over.
Try using a timer your child can set by themselves. When the time is up, offer an option for what to do next. You could say, “Once your screen is put away, you can go play with your toys.”
Your Child Runs Off in Public
Going places with your child where there is a lot of people can be scary and stressful. Before you go anywhere, discuss with your child your expectations for the outing. You can say, “We’re going to the store and it’s important you stay close with me so you are safe.”
Be sure you acknowledge their good behavior and say something along the lines of, “You are doing a great job staying close to me so I know you are safe!” By acknowledging their good behavior, it shows to your child you’re paying attention and it will also make them feel good.
If your child starts running off, get on their eye level and remind them calmly of the expectations you set before leaving. We ultimately want to give them an understanding of why something is important instead of transferring our fears onto our children.
Leaving the Park or Playdate
Being a parent is tough, especially when you have to decide the fun is over. It’s not always easy to do, but talking about your expectations before you arrive at the park or play date will help make leaving easier. Talk to your child about what things they might do at the park or play date and when you say it’s time to leave, they’ll have to stop playing and be ready to leave.
If your child has a tough time transitioning, notice how they are feelings. You can say, “I know it’s hard to leave when you’re having fun, but it’s time to leave.” Reassure them their feelings are normal and you don’t like to leave when you’re having fun either, but it’s part of life.
Not Sitting Down to Eat a Meal
Routines are important in teaching your child how to know what to expect. Dinnertime is a great time to implement a routine!
Explain why mealtime is important and tell them it’s time for everyone to be together and talk, and make it fun! Ask questions about their day and be sure to tell them about yours to build connections with your child.
Another way to make mealtime fun is to let your child help! Your child can help plan and prepare dinner! They can also set the table and help clean up after. This will help them feel a sense of purpose and connection in the house and can help foster independence.
Not Getting Used to Bedtime Routines
Bedtime can be a challenging time for everyone. Everyone is tired from the day and sometimes it can be hard to get your children down for the night. Having a regular routine is a great way to get your children used bedtime.
Each night use the same process and the goal is for your child to eventually follow the routine without your help.
Ultimately, no parenting style is the “right” way, and every child is different, so gentle parenting may not always work. If gentle parenting is a style you want to try, remember to acknowledge your child’s feelings, give them choices, and celebrate when something goes well! Remember, you can always try again!