One of the biggest things I have to remind myself as a parent is to be gracious with myself. Just like my boys who aren’t even four years old yet, and are still learning how to function as little humans, I’m young in motherhood. It was less than four years ago that I was childless and, honestly, completely clueless.
I’ve been many things longer than I’ve been a mother. A teacher. A wife. And I learn more each year of teaching, each year of marriage, each year of life. So I constantly remind myself: It’s okay not to know everything when it comes to parenting.
Do you ever find yourself plagued with anxiety or guilt or even shame as you embark on some new frontier with your children? The terrible threes set in about a year ago, and I fell to pieces. I didn’t understand why my boys, usually so sweet and well-mannered, were crying and screaming and collapsing on the floor at every turn.
Surely it was my fault, some tremendous flaw in my parenting, somewhere I’d failed them.
When my boys stopped eating the variety of foods they once loved as infants, again, I pointed my frustration inward. Why did my babies who once loved vegetables now only want chicken nuggets and pizza? Why did they now turn their noses up at things I once bragged about them loving?
Each new stage brings new uncertainty. Now, I’m preparing to send the boys to Pre-K in the fall at a real-life elementary school and I’m consumed with nerves as we leave the comfort and familiarity of daycare and enter, once again, into a Big New Thing.
Fortunately, there are resources for parents like me who don’t know everything and – who knew – there are a lot of us. Just like I do professional development to continue to grow in my career field, I can do the same as a parent.
That’s where ParentEducate.com comes in, an online resource where parents go to learn from an ever-growing library of 70+ research-based courses on all things baby, toddler, and kid. It’s ideal for busy parents with courses taking just 20-30 minutes to complete, and it’s backed by the ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) team (the No. 1 online training provider of Pre-K and daycare teachers), so all courses are packed with the same skills and techniques taught to leading early childhood educators. And all the courses are available 24/7 on any device and can be started/stopped at any time so you can learn new information anytime, anywhere.
I was able to choose courses that were most relevant to what my family is experiencing these days. I chose the course Developmental Delights: 4-Year-Olds to learn more about what to expect in the year ahead. The course took me through the physical, cognitive, communicative, and social-emotional development I should expect as my big boys turn 4. Not only did it help put my mind at ease about their current developmental milestones, but it also gave me a great idea of what to look out for as I monitor their growth. I’m feeling a lot more confident that my boys are Pre-K ready and my worries were calmed.
I also chose another course on a big issue we’ve been having. As mentioned earlier, the twins have become extremely picky eaters, and I often feel concerned that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need and that the picky eating habit is one that will loom over us for the foreseeable future – kinda like it did for me, a self-admitted finicky adult. The Encouraging Healthy Nutrition Habits course provided some great tips on establishing a healthy relationship with food for kids, including recommendations of children’s books about nutrition to read with them and ways to be a “food role model” encouraging them to try new things. It was so useful and went well with my desire to parent positively!
It’s okay to not know everything – as long as you’re willing to learn. Parenting in the digital age means there’s a wealth of knowledge to help you through the tough spots. Take advantage and continue to grow with your children! ParentEducate.com has helped me gain an even greater understanding of life with a pair of four-year-olds and made me feel even more equipped as a mother. If you want to take the next step in your parenting journey, click here to learn more about ParentEducate.com — and sign up for their free seven-day trial!