I always feel that as parents, we sometimes get lost in all the crazy. Can you relate? I mean it is challenging let alone head banging to keep up to speed and achieve every single goal you set yourself, and may I add on time. Man that is not the reality we live right? I found this out shortly after I became a parent myself. What I found to be the most challenging was that I lost a part of myself and just never really was able to ascertain a level of normalcy again.
Okay okay before I get you lost in this write up, I just want to be real with you. It’s okay to not know how or what to do with our children especially when you are a first time parent. When I knew that my attention towards my son was subsiding, that was the moment I decided to stop certain behaviours that weren’t letting me win and ultimately led me to chose to focus on the foundational causes that my son needed the most attention in.
Here are some things that helped me win!
1. Pin point what your child needs to help them.
In order to help your child in an area that they may be struggling with, the first step is building an understanding for yourself and identifying what the cause or issue for a certain behaviour point might just be. For me, I had people telling me there was an issue with my son before I had discovered this myself. I even would defend him on certain occasions because I used to feel as though what people were saying (majority of them being my family) to be said out of spite or just wanting to give their 2 cents without thinking about the repercussions or effects it has on us. Can you relate?
Hmm mmm, we are always going to get people’s opinions wash out or effect what we as the parent might know. That’s why, it important for you to personally pin point your child’s needs whilst blocking out the thoughts and opinions of others. If their opinions drown yours and you can’t seem to control it, use it to examine and assess if such issues or derivatives exist or are present in your child to help guide you in formulating positive solutions to then do something about it.
Don’t get stuck on the negative side of the issue and most importantly, don’t blame your child for an area they may be struggling in. And finally, don’t blame yourself for anything instead, celebrate that you have found out the root issue and are willing to do something about it right now. That you are ready to seek the right information and guidance in getting your child on the right path today.
2. Identify root causes to better establish desired outcomes.
Okay so the next step in getting your child on the road to success with their learning and development is to identify the initial layers of those struggle points. This could be a range of little issues that collectively join together and ultimately result in the big hurdle that you are trying to overcome. One of the things that helped me identify some of the areas of concern with my son was that I started to observe his behaviour in different settings.
I started to observe the way he acted when he was around family, in the car, or when he was alone with me. I particularly paid attention to the way he responded in certain situations. I then soon realised that my time being with him was very limited too which compounded my response and way of actually trying to help him. I had a 9-5 day corporate full time job and was also working on the weekends with my side hustle business. I was trying to observe him in very limited time windows. This later led me to leaving my full time job and going part time. You can read about that here
Otherwise keep on reading…
Ensure you have ample time with your child in order to truly identify the root cause of issue. For me, my problem was relying on others to tell me what the problem or cause of concern was. I was depending on his educators at early learning, my mum and my husband to help identify the issues because I was busy working and running the home; and in most cases genuinely exhausted. Your job as the parent is to truly trust what you believe to be the sole issue. Whether that’s communication or speech delay, listening skills, temper tantrums, lack of motivation, constant screaming or sharing that needs to be improved, you first need to identify what the root cause is.
3. Know that all children learn differently and at their own speed too.
We all know this so that means that we need to have attention brought to the forefront for our children and know exactly how they learn best and not how the book always tells us to. I remember reading learning and development books and discovering that my son’s learning and development was behind in some areas. Once I realised the specific area that was needing to be delt with, I quickly started to unpack and breakdown each individual stage and element associated with my son’s learning difficulty. This empowered me and made me feel in control of his learning and development. It also motivated me once I realised what was involved and what was needed to be improved.
4. Journal each day.
I kept a book of my son’s learning and development. It wasn’t fancy, it had his photo (a cute one of him at school smiling) on the cover of the A5 exercise book. All it had was a date and then a dot point entry. I would write down any progress achieved on the particular day. That was it. We are all busy parents and we aren’t about to write a novel about how their learning went each day. Maybe you can however what I found to really work was simple dot point journaling. Some days had one word in there to stipulate what occurred.
For me, keeping an exercise book in one of the draws in the kitchen was the perfect place. At times, I even had it leaning on a stand on my kitchen bench so it was visually on display and also so I could be reminded to write an entry in it. It does get busy, but I found in between cutting up vegetables and wiping down the bench top that I would quickly write a word in. I even kept a pen inside so I wasn’t wasting time or demotivated to write an entry in. I flick through it now from time to time and its so encouraging to even see the results we have achieved in under 4 months. As I mentioned my son had speech delay so I was tracking and focusing on him to trying to talk.
From 1 word being said every second and third day to now hearing him say at least 50 words a day is just a miracle in itself. Be excited parents about your strategies in how you track things. Trust me, you will love looking back at the progress achieved with whatever area your desiring to overcome.
5. Encourage yourself.
It’s important to take note of the areas that require improving for your child but also don’t get bogged down in overthinking worse case scenarios with their overall learning. It’s important to always manifest and believe that your child will be okay and to remind yourself that you have access to resources, information and parent intuition to help guide your road map to success. Try also setting a reminder or giving yourself a physical reminder to ensure you remain encouraged throughout the learning journey with your child.
My physical reminder was that I would wear a hair tie on my wrist to symbolise my son’s learning needs. It sounds bizarre but it worked. Every time I acknowledged my wrist, it brought my attention back to his needs.
It’s so hard to be motivated each day especially when you see no improvements straight away. My son had speech delay and it wasn’t until month 4 of actually trying and implementing the strategies I had done that I saw results. Stay encouraged and remind yourself that success isn’t an overnight gig, it’s a journey and all it takes is patience for you to endure and work towards that break though milestone moment.
6. Last but not least, celebrate the wins.
Little wins are super important to celebrate for yourself. The way I celebrated the wins for my son’s learning was that I would purchase a learning activity or book to help strengthen and promote his overall learning.
I even would order certain activities and learning games I knew he would like which would continue to open up his learning and development. Even purchasing a $20 audio book from audible around learning about his speech and language was a celebration. I remember reading up about Time to talk. You can purchase this book here and honestly it was amazing and life changing for me personally. Try it out and let me know how you go in the comments.
More to this, I would speak about the appraisals with my husband and family and friends. Celebrating a small win is important because it will also encourage you and help you believe that what you are doing is effective.
Be strong parents and don’t underestimate your ability to help your child grow and thrive. It all comes down to you choosing to pay attention to their learning and development needs and ultimately looking at ways to overcome and improve their current circumstances.
They need you.