If there’s one parenting guideline to rule them all, it’s to always be consistent. The most important thing you can do as a parent is remain consistent in all areas. This helps to establish clear boundaries, and it helps strengthen your child’s confidence in you and their ability to predict your reactions. No one is a perfect parent, but always being consistent is the closest you can get. Here’s a closer look at how being consistent helps in parenting.
A consistent bedtime routine is the key to a good night’s sleep for your child (and you!). Kids need structure, and they need routine. With routine, they feel comfortable, safe, and secure. If things are always changing, then they won’t know what to expect, which can make any person a little anxious. At bedtime, a routine will help signal to your child that it’s time for them to go to sleep. A consistent bedtime routine should start at the same time every night, follow the same pattern of events (change, brush teeth, read story, etc.), and end at the same time. At the end of the routine, your child is aware that it’s bedtime and will go to sleep with less of a fuss.
It’s also a good idea to be consistent when it comes to mealtimes. You can’t always keep children, especially the youngest ones, on a strict meal schedule, but you can try to serve meals and snacks around the same time every day. The way you have mealtimes, however, should be consistent. Make sure your child always sits in the same place, have everyone eat together, and turn off the TV. Don’t eat on the run one day or on the couch the next. This also signals to your child that this is the clear time for them to eat, which is particularly helpful for picky eaters.
Rules and Discipline
Perhaps the most important time to be consistent is when it comes to rules and discipline. Your children should know exactly what the rules are and exactly what the consequences are, and you need to be consistent in enforcing them. If you’re inconsistent, you can’t expect your child to know when it’s okay to break a rule and when it isn’t. Rules and discipline should be consistent and clear-cut. If they are, your children will be much better behaved because of it.
All children throw tantrums from time to time in an effort to get their way and express their frustrations. When a child is throwing tantrums, it is extremely important that you be consistent in the ways you react to them. It’s best to ignore your child’s outbursts rather than give them the attention they’re seeking. Never give in. If you’re inconsistent with how you react, and if you give in even just once or twice, your child will think that if they just scream loud enough eventually you’ll give in, which is why consistency is essential to having well-behaved child.
Stacey Margaret is a mommy blogger and parenting expert who writes with the goal of helping new parents navigate the challenges that children often bring.