5 bad parenting habits to avoid
Everyone has bad habits - it’s just part of being human. Of course, now that you're a parent, lots of habits have an impact not just on you, but on your baby too. Habits that form early can be hard to break, so here's some insight.
When you feel stressed, do you sometimes head straight for the popcorn or chips? This isn't a trick question. A lot of us do! And when your baby is upset and you can’t quite figure out why, it’s just as easy to give her a bottle for quick comfort. This continues once she starts eating solid foods, as snacking is a great distraction when you want to redirect her attention. But because comfort eating is such an easy habit, being mindful of how often you give your baby food for comfort or distraction can help you emphasize healthy eating habits and stress-management techniques that don't focus on food. Again, it's totally fine to whip out some Goldfish crackers in times of need, but other strategies - breathing, focusing on a toy, or distraction with words - are great educational tools.
- Screen time
Much like with comfort eating, sometimes it can be all too easy to want to just whip out a screen when your baby needs to be entertained, soothed, or distracted. But children under 18 months of age should actually not have any screen time, other than for video-chatting. (And, honestly, video-chatting makes a lot more sense once your baby is a toddler and can engage actively and chat with the person on the other side of the video call.) So just say no - to screens, that is.
You don't need to aim for perfection with this one. Accidents can - and often do - happen. Hey, it's part of the fun of having a baby, right? But you will probably want to keep in mind that your baby is at the age where she likes to listen, remember, and imitate. And you never know when she could let loose a string of words that you would have preferred to keep secret!
Okay, so it will be hard to know if you're doing this, especially during your baby’s first year when everything is so new and it feels like anything could go wrong. But stress takes its toll on your body and mind, and we know you deserve some relaxation time. On top of your overall health, your reactions have an influence on your baby, who will look at your emotional responses when learning how to react to the world as she grows. Modeling proportional responses now can help make both of your lives easier, so starting right now, it can help both you and your baby to make a concerted effort to really not sweat the small stuff.
Self-esteem is so important! And it's also another modeling behavior - you’re your baby’s first role model, and the way you talk about yourself may affect how she learns to think about herself. So talk to and treat yourself like you are the treasure that we know you are - and that your baby sees when she looks at you.
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