Guys, parenting is hard.  Like, really hard.

I think that’s something that everybody knows, but doesn’t really know until it happens to them.  And it’s been that way for literally ages, but if you’re asking me, I think now is the hardest time you can be a parent.

Easy for me to say; I wasn’t living during the Civil War, or when a sabre tooth tiger could straight up eat you out of your cave.  But in terms of the whole ‘parenting’ thing, aside from keeping your kids alive and fed, it’s a huuuuuuge challenge.

First off, the world is changing so fast.  The way we dress, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, it’s changing year by year, if not month by month.  It’s tricky to connect with children and teens anyway, but keeping up with the current trends makes it even harder!

Secondly, technology is making it trickier to connect and keep on top of what’s happening in their lives.  We all know the stereotype of the teenager coming in from school and running straight up to their rooms to log on, leaving a trail of clothes in their wake!

And the biggie: attention spans are getting shorter.  A lot of bitesize information and entertainment means that young children don’t need to concentrate for a long time on things, and their interest can wane pretty quickly.

There are loads of parenting schools of thought that claim to tackle these modern issues, and we at OohBox thought it would be a great idea to mention a few of them here, to hopefully help childhood go a little bit smoother for you and your little ones.

Get some wooden toys

This might be a weird one to start off with, but wooden toys encourage kids to use their imagination better when playing.  If you’ve got bright, noisy or flashing plastic toys, it means that they have a specific function, and that can sometimes limit what a child will attempt to do with them.  If the toys are wooden, a child has to concentrate and think a bit harder in order to play with them.  Really good examples of wooden toys are musical instruments, because a little one can work out what happens when they play with them in a certain way, but they can really enjoy trying out different ways of interacting with them!

Get your child involved in your routine

This one’s a really helpful one!  Get your child to help with the chores.  No, I haven’t gone mad, but if you can get them in early with helping you with day to day stuff, kids can learn to enjoy being a part of the family rhythm.  There’s a great idea called ‘pleasure practise’, that basically means when you’re doing something that’s not enjoyable, like washing the dishes or folding laundry, you can do something pleasurable at the same time to help you associate it with positive feelings.  So why not pull up a chair to the sink and have a dance party with your wee one while they wash up their dishes after tea!

Listen to your child’s ideas for activities

In our house we have a day out jar.  Basically whenever we think about or hear about an idea for a day out, we write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.  Then when we have a free day, we pull a piece of paper out of the jar and do whatever it says on the paper!  Now my little one is a bit too young to join in with this, but when he’s older I’m really excited to let him add his ideas to the jar!  Maybe a baking day is on the cards, or a spa day.  However you spend your time together, letting your child have a chance to make decisions is a really lovely way to bolster their confidence and make them feel like an important part of the family.

Read with your child.

Whatever age they are, reading together is a great bonding activity.  Whether it is a picture book, a kids detective series or a magazine, reading stimulates conversation and helps build relationships.

Author - Hannah Selby-Hughes