Picky eating. Picky eating is one of the most common problems parents of toddlers and preschoolers contend with. Some children eat only two or three foods, and refuse all others. Other kids love a certain food one week, only to reject it the next week. And all parents dread becoming a short order cook, making one meal only to be asked for something else that ends up going untouched as well. But doctors agree that picky eating is a phase and that children tend to eat when they’re hungry and receive enough nutrients, even if it doesn’t seem like it when your 2 year-old polishes off a dinner of grilled cheese and whole milk for the fifth night in a row. Relax, offer your child something you know he’ll eat each night, and give him the opportunity to try something new as a side dish. If he refuses the new food, don’t sweat it.
Not enough time. Many parents pick the kids up from daycare at 5pm, head home, and that couple of hours spent having dinner, giving the kids a bath, and putting them to bed don’t feel like enough. Many parents feel guilty because they feel they should have more time with their children. But American parents spend more time with their kids than any other parents in the world, and studies show that the amount of time parents spend with their kids has little long-term effect. The more important factor is spending quality time with your kids. As long as you and your children are enjoying the moments you have with one another, you can feel good about that time.
Shyness. Some kids have no trouble walking into a new group of children, making new friends, and hopping right into the flow of play. Others may hang back, preferring to play on their own until they’ve slowly gotten to know everyone better. But parents worry that if their children display signs of shyness, they’ll have trouble making friends and that they’ll be unhappy in social situations. But shy kids are not any less happy than their more social counterparts. They just approach social situations differently, and as long as you help them understand that being shy is absolutely fine, and taking one’s time to make friends is OK, their self esteem won’t suffer, and, yes, they will make friends. All kids are on different wavelengths when it comes to socializing, but a little shyness is fine, as long as you support it instead of trying to eradicate it.
Other peoples’ kids. And that leads us to our next topic. Parents can’t seem to help but measure their own children against others. Why is that child walking when mine can barely bring himself to crawl? When is my child going to learn as many letters as that kid? Parents worry when they see other kids developing at a faster pace than their own, but all kids develop at different rates. Your kid may have been slow to walk, but maybe she was learning speech at a more rapid rate. Your child may not know his ABC’s, but maybe he’s a whiz at building and constructing complicated designs. Throughout your child’s life, there will always be someone moving just a bit more quickly than him in one area, but he’ll be making strides in a different area. Cherish your child for the child he is, and remember that as long as he’s happy, learning, developing, and growing, being outpaced by another child is not that significant.
What other people think. And of course, it’s so difficult to shrug off the opinion’s of others. Is that parent judging the slapdash lunches I prepare for my child? Is everyone wondering why I can’t find time to put on makeup before dropoff at daycare? Did my kid’s tantrum earn the wrath of the parent at the end of the grocery store aisle? Well, we’re not going to tell you that other parents aren’t judging you. They might be But their judgment may not bear any weight, and once you begin feeling confident in your parenting skills, it will be easier to drop the negativity and stop worrying about what other moms and dads think. Are you trying your best and do you love your kid? Then who cares what other people think?
What are some of your hard-to-shake parental worries? We know you all have a few! Tell us about them in the comments, and let us know if you’ve managed to tackle any of these worries and banish them forever!