10 Essential Skills for Every Parent to Master

See also: Preparing for Parenthood

Becoming a parent is a reward that comes with significant responsibility.

As your child grows, you will quickly learn new skills that will be beneficial once you master them. Since parenting is a 24/7 job, these skills will always be essential to help you keep your child safe.

Let’s look at 10 skills that every parent should master.

1. Reading

Reading is a skill beyond seeing words in a book and saying them out loud to your child. Learn to create a more interesting experience by reading as a character. This skill helps to engage an infant during reading time so that they don’t doze off or look at the ceiling. By taking on a persona while reading, your child will pay attention to important parts, and this will aid their intellectual development. It takes time to get good at this, but the bonding results are incredibly valuable.

2. Prepare for Brand Overload

An essential parental skill is knowing which brands to avoid as some companies don’t meet the safety threshold to make an excellent infant product. This is where research skills come in handy as you will need to parse multiple reviews of a brand to determine its effectiveness. And in extreme cases, an entire news story could have been published that explains why you should avoid a specific brand. The truth is always in the positive reviews at places like Baby Kid Care.

3. Burping

There are many ways to burp a child, but none can claim to be the only way. Every infant is different, so your mastery of burping will come down to trying and blending multiple techniques. Bend them over a small pillow, stand them on your leg or even walk around the house while burping. There is no bad technique, so feel free to experiment for the best results. Once you get burping down, gas buildup after feeding won’t be a significant parenting issue.

4. Calmness

It’s easy to enter freakout mode when you’re a new parent, and this can happen whether you’re a first-time parent or having your third kid. There are a lot of unknowns that come with caring for infants. If your baby cries to the point they lose their voice, it can be a frightening experience. If they throw milk through their mouth and nose, the next few seconds will take your breath away. Being calm is a skill that allows you to understand the situation rather than freaking out like it is the end of the world. Take care of your mind so your emergency decision-making will be quick and efficient.

5. Keep Your Contacts Updated

When you have a baby is not the best time to start looking for a pediatrician or daycare. Some daycare centers can have a six-month waiting list, and your insurance may not cover specific pediatricians. Contact updating is a parenting skill that starts long before the baby is born. You want to have options to choose from instead of having to settle for what’s available. Keeping your infant-related contacts up to date so far out from the birth can be a hassle, but the time investment will pay for itself when you have multiple options instead of just a handful of last-minute choices.

6. Feeding

You need to develop skills to feed a baby. It seems absurd, doesn’t it? Breastfeeding isn't a viable option if a baby doesn’t want to latch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go straight to the formula. Breast pumping gives you the option of storing in bottles for the same effect. Or formula may be the best way to keep a fussy baby fed during the transition from colostrum to breastmilk. There is still a window to move them to actual breastfeeding but, like all things on this list, it takes persistence. Feeding will be one of your most valuable parenting skills and will often lead to creative solutions for a stubborn problem.

7. Scheduling

Time management is a skill that every person should have. As a parent, it takes on an entirely different form since parental duties often bust up your carefully made plans. This is where flexible time management becomes a growing skill. You learn to have beginning and ending time windows for every important goal or appointment. Your baby doesn’t have a wait timer, so you must create your own that fits their schedule. To be effective at scheduling, an AI assistant like Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google will do wonders in your parenting life.

8. Sleeping Habits

Bad sleeping habits will keep everyone in the house awake. It isn’t uncommon for the parents and pets to have insomnia while the baby sleeps peacefully. It may take a few days but getting nighttime sleeping habits right is the best skill to develop as a parent. Everyone is better off with a good night of sleep, and when done correctly, your infant will only wake up a few times at night. Develop a sleeping routine that includes a bath and reading, and you’ll always have a peaceful night of rest.

9. Cleaning

Regular cleaning is not the same as the skills needed for cleaning with an infant in the house. There are certain chemicals that cause more harm than good due to an infant's sensitive and growing system. Baby-friendly cleaning products as a must for any new parent. You also must be mindful of where you clean and how frequently. Dust build-up is one of the biggest concerns for long-term breathing conditions in a home.

10. Changing a Diaper

Becoming a diaper maestro will prevent extra stress during a sensitive changing period. A screaming infant is hard to change, so practice calming techniques to keep them laughing or smiling. This will also prevent them from discharging in your general direction during a change. A happy baby is a calm baby, and the parent stays clean – sometimes.

It Takes Time

Some mistakes will be made, but that is okay! Learning to master parenting is all about growing with your child.

There are no shortcuts, so enjoy the experience as it unfolds.

About the Author

Laurie Dipali is a full-time mom to four children and enjoys sharing her parenting experience with others.