Yes, parenting can be a struggle!
Every parent finds parenting difficult. There can be days when it feels like everything is a struggle.
Be kind to yourself. It’s important to look after yourself too. Some of these tips might be helpful for you.
Make time for yourself
You deserve some free time for relaxation or fun. Take opportunities to socialise or relax when they come.
Here are some tips that might help you make time for yourself:
- Don’t worry about maintaining the perfect home – cleaning can wait if you need a break.
- Try not to cook meals from scratch every day – batch cook in advance or use leftovers for meals.
- If you can, ask your partner or friends and family to help you free up some time.
- Don’t feel guilty for leaving your child with a childminder – you know they are being well looked after.
Try for a fresh start
If you’re having a difficult day, try to take a moment and start again. This can be easier said than done, but it can help to turn a difficult situation around.
If you’re losing patience with your child, draw a line under it, and try again. You can deal with this situation. You will feel more confident when you have had success.
Let your children make decisions
You can do too much for your child. Some will fight for their independence. Others will allow you to do everything for them.
Give your child the space to make mistakes and learn from them. This will support their independence and confidence.
Tune into your child
Every child is different. Some children are quiet and will love playing with puzzles and jigsaws. Other children have high energy and need to run around a lot.
Let your child show you what they like. Have fun together doing activities or games that suit their personality type.
How you speak about your child
Be careful about how you speak about your child in front of your child. They are always listening.
Children will live up to both high and low expectations.
It’s OK to say “I’m having a bad day. I’m sorry that I shouted at you. I love you.”
This sets a good example for your child. They will learn to say ‘sorry’ too.
Pick your battles
Don’t try to change everything. Small changes can make a big difference. Celebrate the small wins.
Children are always learning from how we cope with problems or mistakes along the way.
Get them to help you with small jobs or problems around the house. Talk them through how you solve problems.
This will teach them problem-solving skills early in life. Praise them for solving smaller problems themselves.
Make an effort to limit social media use daily. Make this a family rule.
Limit the use of social media around your children. It doesn’t allow you to bond with your child.
Don’t compare yourself to others on social media. Families that look perfect on Facebook have bad days too.
If you feel that one bad day has turned into a bad week or month, talk to your GP or public health nurse. They will guide you to services that can support you.
For more tips and advice for parents see https://www2.hse.ie/parents/parenting-advice/
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Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important. To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by Switcher.ie. It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - https://switcher.ie/broadband/guides/how-to-keep-your-children-safe-online/ - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support. We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website: 10 tips to keep your children safe online
- How to reduce the risks online
- How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
- How to educate children on cyber safety
- How to set up parental controls on devices
- Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
- Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
- Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables. For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
- Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
- Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
- Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
- Be social media savvy: The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online. Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
- Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
- Set a great example: You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young. Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
- Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like webwise.ie, internetmatters.organd cybersafekids.ie to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.
Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services. Volume 1 https://youtu.be/xl2F2vZXhbg Volume 2 https://youtu.be/OOy4lmWggtM Volume 3 https://youtu.be/tmv40--l7fA Volume 4 https://youtu.be/Wr9bfTWddts Volume 5 https://youtu.be/7HLkBXvVTFE Volume 6 https://youtu.be/NuUXb51qZY0
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.
This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services.
What is infant mental health?
Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.
The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.
The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.
In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.
Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)
In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.
These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).
These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie
There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from email@example.com