As a nurse, you are highly qualified to take care of people in need, from tending to infected wounds, to giving vaccinations, to instructing them on how to take care of their health. And you even get paid to do it! It seems like a given that parenting would come naturally to any nurse. With the experience you have and the natural knack for nurturing you possess, you’re bound to make a wonderful parent.
We hate to burst that bubble, but unfortunately, being a good nurse doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you’re doing when it comes to kids. You can probably make sure they stay healthy and well, but there’s a lot more to good parenting than that. And while it seems that good parenting may not be the norm for nurses who are often so busy at work, it is entirely possible. Here are a few great tips that will help you become the best parent you can be.
Put Yourself First
We know that this sounds a bit counterintuitive, but it is important to put yourself first sometimes. A family does best when the caretaker is in good shape. And as a nurse, you know how vital it is that you are doing well mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you’re suffering in any of these areas, you will have a harder time taking care of patients. It’s like on an airplane when they suggest you put on your own oxygen mask before helping children; you can’t help if you’ve passed out.
The same goes for taking care of your children. By taking care of yourself through healthy eating, getting exercise, and keeping up with fulfilling activities and personal growth, you are more capable of taking care of children. Not only that, you’ll be leading by example. When your children see you doing the right things, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.
Put Your Marriage Second
If you are married, or in a long-term relationship with the other parent of your children, put that relationship before your kids. Yes, another thing that you have to take care of before you get to the kids. This has a lot of benefits that will help you raise great kids. First, you’ll be setting an example of what a healthy relationship looks like – two people who take care of each other and do things for each other in a loving and selfless way. You’ll also prevent your children from believing that they are the center of the universe – an attitude that quickly leads to Spoiled Child Syndrome. Children who make demands from parents and feel that they deserve certain things will certainly be more difficult to parent.
Show Your Kids You Love Them
So, put yourself first, then your relationship, and then your kids. And now that you can focus on them, do your best to show them each day that you love them. They need to be able to see and understand exactly how you feel. It isn’t enough to simply say “I love you,” especially if your actions don’t stand as evidence. If you say those words and then order them around, punish them harshly, or neglect their emotional needs, they simply won’t believe you.
Instead, be free with physical affection. A good long hug a few times a day can do wonders to help kids’ confidence. If you’re more comfortable using your words, elaborate on why you love them; show gratitude for their sense of humor, tell them you love how they are so independent, confide in them and ask their advice. There are so many things you can do to show your kids that you cherish and appreciate them.
Stick to Your Word
It’s very easy to dismiss children’s demands with a promise that you’ll get around to it. A crucial part of the parent-child relationship is trust, and children need to know that they can trust you. When you say you’ll take them to the park, do it, even if you are too tired. If you promise them they can get a treat at the store, don’t forget! Kids are intuitive and will quickly pick up on whether you are a person who follows through on what they say. The faster they learn that you are not that person, the sooner they will stop trusting in you, confiding in you, or believing that you mean what you say.
Have Fun Together
As a nurse, you are busy; there’s no denying that. But even on your days off when you have piles of laundry to get to and floors to vacuum, put your family first. Your kids won’t likely remember if there were clothes left uncleaned on the weekend, but they will remember going to the zoo together as a family or racing remote control cars at the park. And don’t forget that recreation is a vital part of being a whole and healthy human being – for kids and adults alike.