September 4, 2014

My Parenting Style

M2 looking cute posing for a picture.
Before M2 was born, I didn't read many books about parenting. I did have the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" standard requirement for pregnancy, which doesn't have much about parenting after baby is born. My preference was to read magazines, like Parents, read articles online and check out blogs from real moms. A and I had a few ideas we knew wanted to stick to as parents. A big part of our parenting is taking things as they come, going with the tide rather than against. As new situations arise, we do what we think is best at the time. Overall, I'm a more hands-on parent, as is A. We work to strike a balance between being hands-on and being too hands-off. Being what's known as a helicopter parent isn't something that works for us or that we want for our family. Like pretty much everything in life, it's about moderation.

Running around exploring new things at the children's museum.
At the park, we're close by to watch in case she falls (or starts making a beeline to the side of the play equipment that is high up yet not blocked so she can just fall off the side). We're not RIGHT on top of her and still let her do her own thing. She has space to play, try new things and explore while being safe. When she's older, we'll move farther away but still plan to be in the area to keep an eye out.

It's a similar deal at the playtime at the library we go to. We keep her in eyesight while she runs around with the other kids. Even if she takes a toy from another child or another child takes one from her, we let it go so they can work it out. Now, if she's about to run out the door, do something dangerous or she/someone else is getting too rough, then we're there to step in. We want her to know we're there if she needs us and be able to provide encouragement along the way. Just as importantly, we want her to have the confidence to do and try things on her own.

Checking out the waterfall and pond at the Beardsley Zoo.
At home, it's the same "hands-on-with-space" style. We have a routine for days we're home which may change when there are errands, events or playdates. It's not a rigid schedule, we have wiggle room. This allows M2 to have the schedule kids need while still learning to be flexible for the days life is super busy.

In our house M2 plays where A or I can see her. She's not old enough yet to play by herself in her room. There are a few play areas in the house so she can be close enough to us that we can keep an eye out. I let her do her own thing playing so she has freedom to be creative and spend time playing with her as well. She knows I'm nearby in case she needs help (or is getting into something she shouldn't). While she plays I tell her the words for her toys, describe the colors on the toys or make other comments to help improve her speaking. Not constantly, but here and there so she has interaction. When she gets frustrated when something doesn't work right away, I encourage her to keep trying. If she needs help with it, I tell her to come ask for help. She's learning to be independent but also that it's ok to ask for help when she needs it.

We take time throughout the day during various activities to encourage M2 to learn new words and develop communication skills. TV isn't on much (which I've talked about in other posts, if you want to read more) so the focus stays on playing and movement. M2 loves when I play music for her during the day, including everything from oldies and classical to modern and kid songs.  Of course, I can't be doing things one-on-one with her all day. While she eats breakfast and has coloring time, I clean the kitchen and do other household chores until she's finished. I really look forward to her being a bit older and able to do more crafts, baking, learning and creative activities. I always rip out fun ideas from magazines and bookmark kid-related activities for when she reaches that age. My plan is to have these activities mixed in with her free-play time when she's at the right stage. As she grows, we'll reevaluate how we do things and make changes as needed. Every age brings new and exciting adventures in childhood--and parenting.
Everyone needs a push on the swing!

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  1. It's so true. They are always learning and it's an amazing thing to watch!

  2. I love watching my kiddos learn and explore, it's one of my favorite parts about being a mama!

  3. What a joy being a mother congrats!

  4. It sounds like you pretty much parent the way I do, you go with the flow and parent differently only when something isn't working. I don't have any philosophy behind my parents, not helicopter or free range....I don't need to label myself, we just use common sense.

  5. This is so great! Being a mom is the best thing! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Modern moms are really into this stuff, wish my m om had been!

  7. I was just here watching my daughter sing and dance along to Mother Goose Club songs.

  8. Congrats on being a good mom and parent.

  9. Nice read, thanks for sharing with us. :)


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