If you are about to be a new parent, or are happily raising your pride and joy as you read this, you may or may not be actively seeking advice to add to your daily routines. After all, the human race is a constantly evolving group, and asking questions, learning new techniques and engaging in their world is part of what makes them grow. Many new families may look to parenting books for tips and tricks, while seasoned teams may rely on advice passed down from other generations, friends and colleagues. While there is rarely bad advice to be had, some of it can be repetitive, and everyone has their own way of raising a family. For anyone who is open to more ideas, the following suggestions and tidbits are from a collection of women from different generations, eras and walks of life. Each has raised their children in a completely different way, but each piece of advice might ring true for someone as they journey through life while watching their loved ones grow or shine light on a current struggle they are facing as a parent. These women have shared their most treasured pieces of advice in hopes they will speak to another who may find hope, help or solace from them.
Read to your kid(s) daily. It stimulates their brain, forms a bond between you and your child and is good modeling that shows them reading and learning is to be desired and embraced. It also builds vocabulary, creative thinking and imagination -Linda Roberts, 71, Soozie Hazen, 75
Talk to your child like a human being, meaning avoid baby talk. By talking to them normally, you will help them learn cognitive functions, language skills, grammar and social queues.
-Thomas Shanahan, 33
Set boundaries. While it is important to let your kids find their inner self and creativity, it is more important to instill rules that they can live by all their lives so they become the best versions of themselves.
-Jane Acosta, 71
Stay calm- Always. Or as much as you can. Even if you feel on the brink of exploding, remain calm in your voice and your mannerisms, as children can feel the anxiety coming off you and respond to that stress. The more anxious you get, the more anxious your baby gets. To help calm your baby if they are crying or screaming, try gently rubbing their head, starting just above their eyes and gently bringing your hands and fingers toward their crown.
-Brenda Shanahan, 62
Trust your instincts. In a world filled with easy access to an array of information, your maternal instincts and body is a good judge of what your baby needs. Don’t obsess over information, instead, put your phone down and take in the time with your child because it can pass all too quickly.
-Randi Lundgren, 31
Don’t over-read or overthink parenting “how-to” books. While they can be filled with helpful tips, they can become overwhelming and take away from your natural maternal instincts. Use common sense, instead. It is also ok if you can’t or don’t breastfeed. There is no shame in it, and making sure your baby is full will help them sleep, which in turn helps you sleep.
-Donna Drazenovich, 70