January 7, 2021 – It’s a new year, and after what was a strange and challenging year for parents, there’s no better time to start fresh. Now, more than ever, they can take 2021 as a time to celebrate and lift each other up. Learning app Lingokids’ education experts share insights and the top 3 tips to shy away from comparisons, and as part of the app’s DNA, provide a judgment-free zone of information about parenting.
Shift the judgment mindset of constant comparison:
Suzanne: Be pragmatic! Shut out the noise, turn off social media, and focus on what is most important for you and your family. Discuss with them what the priorities are. Even a toddler can listen to a “family meeting,” during which issues are tackled and resolved. Take a fair assessment of your strengths and proceed accordingly.
Kate: This is something that more and more people struggle with a world of social media and “likes”-obsession. Try to stay focused on what’s in front of you each and every day and don’t waste time and energy comparing your reality against what you perceive to be another family’s reality.
Lift each other up, not down:
Suzanne: Find some moms and dads who share your values. This was critical for me when I was a young mom, new to Colorado, with two boys under 2½ years. It took six months to find a few people in my neighborhood who had similar values. Once I developed that support system, I felt better about my parenting and myself in general. Just one adult with whom you can laugh or have a pity party makes all the difference.
Kate: Playdates can be a life-saver, but with the need for social distancing, this has become a lot harder. Still, hanging out on the playground and chatting with other parents can be an enormous help. As an ex-pat who traveled quite a bit with a toddler, I relied on these moments of connection with other parents whether I was in Vancouver, Singapore, or Madrid. One of the best skills you can develop as a parent is the ability to laugh at yourself and share these stories of missteps and tiny disasters with other parents.
Don’t take it personally and don’t reflect on the judgment:
Kate: Breathe. When something goes “wrong” breathe and take a moment to decide how you will respond, rather than reacting immediately (and oftentimes too emotionally). Make an effort to reflect. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and the more supportive you can be to yourself.
Suzanne Barchers, EdD is the Former Editor in Chief and VP of Leapfrog Enterprises and former Managing Editor at Weekly Reader. She’s an award-winning author of more than 250 books for teachers and children, plus two college textbooks, and served on PBS and Association of Educational Publishers Advisory Boards.
Kate Regan is an educator, mother, and musician and Senior Manager of Learning Experience at Lingokids, where she connects her passion for games, music, and teaching. She has worked on interactive educational video games, books, toys, and apps for LeapFrog, Hasbro, Disney, and Nickelodeon to name a few.