Parent Rulz Based on Lots of Flops

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I’ve got a long way to go in parenting my boys as they are only four and seven. But, here are a dirty dozen set of rules I’ve come to so far:

  1. When taking your children out on a bike ride or any outdoors adventure if you live in the South, spray them with a mosquito repellent. Otherwise they may return home looking they have chicken pox!
  2. Have a bottle of sunscreen in your bag, too. The spray kind is easy, but I prefer the lotion and apparently the jury is still out on the spray kind.
  3. Keep wipes in your bag long after diaper days—kids are messy!
  4. Own a backpack or a cross body bag—hands free is the way to be when crossing streets and such. I ♥ my little backpack. It’s pint-sized, but holds A LOT!
  5. Have easy go-to food for busy nights. For us it’s frozen chicken nuggets and pizzas; tortillas and cheese for quesadillas; frozen ground meat, jar of spaghetti sauce and pasta for spaghetti. Add quick fresh fruit and/or veggies and you’re all set.
  6. Have kids wash hands before meals…get in the habit. Germs to mouth, eyes, nose = sick! Pink eye is still running its course through my house so I am working on this one!
  7. Bribery is okay in my book. No dessert without eating x. No playtime, technology/ TV time or whatever until you’ve cleaned up, done your homework, dressed for bed, teeth brushed, etc.
  8. Make some things sacred rituals…whatever is important to you. Date/ couple night (this can be at home or out). Eating dinner at x time together at least x number of nights a week. Going to church together on Sunday. Family morning/afternoon/ or night to do something together (movie, park, board game, whatever). Doing something every year for certain holidays.
  9. Read to or with your child each night.
  10. Work toward building polite, independent kids. Prompt for a please, thank you, a handshake, eye contact, and a “pleased to meet you.” Work toward teaching them to bathe properly, to put their plates in sink, wash them/ or put in dishwasher, to buckle their seat belt, tie their shoes, put their shoes away as soon as they are ready…make your life easier! Set things up low enough so they are functional for independence like hooks for backpacks and such.
  11. Keep your cool. Don’t lose it best you can. If you go crazy when they’ve been bad, they may forget altogether that they did something wrong because you’ve lost your credibility and now you’re to blame. Kids are wired to drive you crazy. Have a plan to send them to time out or let your spouse take over if you are too p.o.-ed to do so. I have my moments! But, the goal is to keep cool and consistent.
  12. Don’t embarrass your kid or talk badly about them in front of them. Kids are easily embarrassed. Don’t scold them in front of everyone. Take them aside and tell them their choices and consequence should they not get it together, then follow through.
  13. Praise your child to others with your child in earshot. It feels builds their esteem and makes them feel loved by you.

I am no parenting expert. But, like the title says—my flops have led me to these rules. I am still learning, too.

What are your best tips/ rules as a parent?