1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be
Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article! Read more about setting expectations as a parent.
2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting
Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.
3. Make An Action Plan
Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”
4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)
Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try putt-putt golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).
5. Reflect and Improve
Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.
Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.
If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.
First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.
An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.
If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving).
This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.
As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!
1. Follow Your Gut
Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.
2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence
It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.
The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.
3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas
Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level.
4. Self Care & More Self Care
I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.
Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves.
My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.
If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.
5. Find Relevant Resources
Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.
As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!