Parenting Strategies for Common Family Challenges
Your kid gets sick and suddenly your plans to clean the house, get to work on time, or follow through with some other commitment get derailed. Sound familiar? As parents, we face challenges like this daily. Having children is a blessing. But some days it can have us wondering where we left our car keys, not to mention our sanity. We often look to experienced parents, those with years under their belt, and wonder how they do it. Here’s the advice we rounded up from parenting veterans on how to face common family challenges without losing your cool.
Nutrition and health
Do you have picky eaters that snack all the time? And it’s a struggle to get your kids’ daily nutrition requirements into evening meals? You know they should be eating more leafy greens and nutrient-dense foots… But they tell you they don’t want to. What are you to do?
Here’s a simple solution for you… Stop buying overly processed and sugary snacks. If they aren’t on hand in the snack cupboard, you and they will not be tempted. Have healthy replacements immediately available. Buy fruit. Have veggie sticks in the fridge with tubs of salsa and hummus. A nutritious and popular kid pleaser is the humble peanut butter ball. Add chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, raisins, and whatever else, and your kid will have a power-packed snack. If they do not care for the healthy snacks you prepare, at least they will work up an appetite for that healthy dinner.
Emergencies and accidents
Common child injuries occur daily. Do you know who to call if the injury was a result of someone else’s negligence or medical malpractice? Is your family doctor on speed dial? What about your child’s school? Your spouse’s workplace? Having an emergency list of phone numbers next to your house phone is the first step in being prepared for emergencies as a parent. Many families today use a Smartphone instead of having a house phone. So place these emergency phone numbers in your smartphone’s contact list, and some of these numbers should be in your kids’ phones, too. But also keep this list on the fridge in case an accident should happen while your kids are with a babysitter.
This list should include…
- Poison control
- Animal control
- Doctor / ER
- Local pharmacy
- Your kid’s school
- Your lawyer
- Neighbor or a friend with a key to your house
- Your bank
- Your credit card company
- Local locksmith
- Local towing service
Another essential for being emergency-ready? Be sure to have a first aid kit in the house.
We all want to prioritize our families, but sometimes a work emergency will come up and destroy our best-laid plans. When that happens, play dates, after school classes, and more are left hanging. Then we feel guilty for trying to balance a career and our family lives.
Working parents should create for themselves a support system of people they can call in a pinch. Babysitters, close friends, grandparents, family, kids’ classmates that they can have a playdate with. Daycare centres should not be off the list. Neither should a good neighbour friend. Curate this list frequently and make sure to always follow-up a baby-sitting stint with a heartfelt thank-you accompanied by a gift. Your support system needs nurturing to stay strong. Remember that.
Aside from having a net of people who can help stand in for you, you need to assess the expectations you have of yourself as a working parent. And the expectations your boss has of you. They may not know you are struggling unless you speak up. When you do bring up a possible work/family life conflict, make sure you mention alternatives that work for you. For example, you can’t stay for meetings past 4pm, but you are open to a phone call at 5pm. Ask for flexibility, but also provide workable options.