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Back to basics: 15 ways to shed toxic parenting

Have you ever felt the urge to get back to basics? I find that so many aspects of our lives are becoming artificial, tech-based and addictive. From food to social media to the need for stimulation and recognition – we’ve all become accustomed to rapidly seeking hollow, artificial input and instant gratification.

Sadly parenting is much the same. Instead of parenting our little ones in a simple, natural and slow milieu, we are hothousing them in a world that bears little resemblance to the one we grew up in.

Get back to basics

Most little ones have to compete with technology and machines for mom and dad’s attention. We would battle to trace their diet to its roots and play is often replaced with formal extra mural activities. The pressure on them to excel and on us to ensure they ‘maximize’ every opportunity feels increasingly opposite for the development of happy, well adjusted human beings.

While there is a time and place for pressure, quick fixes, and virtual interactions, I do think that we need to focus on getting back to basics and giving our kids a little more SLOW time.

15 ways to shed toxic parenting and get back to basics:

  1. Decrease the level of stimulation you are giving your little one for one week. Rather spend time sitting under a tree or on a picnic blanket doing ‘nothing.’ Read more about optimizing your baby’s development.
  2. Stop TV altogether for babies under 1 years old and limit screen time to a DVD for 1 hour a day for toddlers.
  3. Say no to pre-packed convenience food for one week. Make your own meals and know where the ingredients came from – you can make a big pot and freeze for convenience.
  4. Trust nature a little more to ensure your little one will develop their milestones.
  5. Don’t use your microwave for a week.
  6. Don’t buy a single toy this month – rather use household objects and ‘toys’ from nature.
  7. Stop weighing and measuring your baby, unless last month there were problems and be very careful not to label problems where there are not. Download Parent Sense app for an easy way to track your little one’s growth.
  8. Don’t be super mom and avoid those who are. The reality is that they are not super mom but if they make you feel like they are – they are not good for you.
  9. Put an out of office on your email for two weeks: “Thank you for your email, in an attempt to be a ‘present’ mommy, I need space and there may be a delay in my email responses.”
  10. Forget perfect – it’s boring and impossible.
  11. Do not work in maternity leave – it is precious time that will be over before you know it. I promise your work will wait!
  12. Do not schedule more than one social engagement a weekend.
  13. Your baby won’t fit into your ‘old’ life – you can all fit into your ‘new life.’
  14. Limit scheduled classes to once a week for babies under a year of age, 2 per week for toddlers and a maximum of three a week for preschoolers.
  15. Turn your cell phone off at 7 pm and leave it downstairs – spend that time with your partner – the person you need to connect with and who probably gets the least of you…

In a nutshell, leave the pressure cooker behind and put the kettle on, have a cup of tea and SLOW down. You will see the difference in your family relationships, your stress levels and of course, your connection with your darling baby.

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