There’s a million books about it, even more articles and blogs about it, and even more people around you that will tell you how to parent. But the fact of the matter is, not a single one of them has all the answers. In truth, parenting is a bit of a guessing game. Sure, there are some things you can be certain about, like how to change a diaper or which kid is yours at the playground, but the intricacies of raising another human being are likely going to be learned along the way.

Here are some of the things you can be sure will help in the process of parenting your kids:

Manage Your Work Life

A huge way you can be sure to let your kids know you care about them is by never having to choose between work or them. One way you can do this is by having an office at home should you need to be with them instead of at the office. Having space at your house to do work should you need to makes it possible for you to still be there for your kid while also upholding your responsibility to your job.

Another way you can do this is by setting aside time to make sure you’re able to go to their events. Showing up and being present is the biggest way you can prove to your kids that they’re the most important thing, which at the end of the day, they are. Parenting is always going to be your number one job once you have children. Don’t forget that!

Spend As Much Time As Possible With Them

This one might sound like a no-brainer, but spending quality time with your kids, like mentioned before, is the best way to show you care. Having family game nights is a great way to ensure extra bonding time at least once a week or so. Another thing you can make as a routine that not all families do is requiring everyone sit down at the table and eat together for dinner. Not only is this guaranteed time every night that there isn’t an event, but it’s also a tradition that benefits everyone. Being able to share stories from your day or exchange ideas about something that happened on a daily basis strengthens whatever relationships you may have with your family. Having an open dialogue with your kids is incredibly beneficial for everyone.

For parents of divorce, spending as much time with your kid as possible is likely already your biggest concern. Should you not have custody of your kid, you’ll only see them 88 days of the year on average. Making the most of your time is important for instances like this. Make sure you’re asking your kid what it is they want to be doing with that time so you’re best able to serve them. Allowing honest conversation about expectations is also another way, should you not see your kids often, to ensure the time together is spent the best it can be.

Don’t Overreact

For some, this one might be the most important skill you’ll need to learn in your time parenting. Kids are going to make mistakes, they’re going to get hurt, and they’re going to act out. It’s your job as a parent to be ready for this and there for them with open arms to explain how to move through the situation. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of the 4.5 million Americans that get bitten by dogs are children. Chances are your child might get bit at one point or another. Don’t freak out when it happens! That’ll only make it worse for them. Let them know these things happen and provide them with the care to fix their wound, if it’s bad enough. Other times it’ll be more serious than just a dog bite, but the point still stands. Parenting is about helping them through the rough situations, not overreacting, and making those situations even worse. Making sure your kids know you support them, even if they’re breaking rules, is the best way to earn their respect.

Tell Them You Love Them

Last but definitely not least, the most important rule of parenting is telling your kids you love them. Tell them as much as you can, as frequently as you can. You’ll never regret telling them you loved them too many times! And although they might roll their eyes at you and walk away without saying it back, they’ll know. And they’ll remember.

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