Experience is best manual for parents

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I just typed the words ‘parenting manual’ into the internet search engine Google and as soon as I pressed the enter button a choice of more than 14 million websites appeared before my eyes.

Each one contained advice on raising children and being a great parent.

One site I clicked on declared: ‘Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but read on to become a great and productive parent’.

To be honest, I sometimes find instructions for simple things such as the toaster or flat pack furniture bamboozle my brain, so I don’t think I’d get on with reading a parenting manual.

So far I’ve learned as I’ve gone along and it’s worked just fine.

Lessons in patience come in handy when your baby is interrupting your much-needed sleep every two hours for a feed and nappy change.

Multi-tasking is an important quality too and one that every parent must learn without fail.

It’s crucial when you’re trying to feed yourself and feed your baby and also keep your toddler entertained at the same time.

Another important quality is forgiveness. Like when I’m ready to go to work and she flicks baby food on to my shirt. It’s not her fault and she hasn’t done anything wrong. She just doesn’t know yet what is right and what is wrong.

But my favourite parenting quality that I’ve discovered since my girls were born is the ability to talk to children.

Some people find it easy and natural to sit with a child and engage in conversation but before I had my own children I would always find it slightly awkward talking to them.

It was almost like I was trying to have a conversation with an alien from a different planet.

But in the three years since I became a parent, I now have the ability to hold a conversation with a child and I’ve found I actually really enjoy chatting to children and watching their imagination through words.

I recently hosted a fireworks event as part of my job as a presenter with Heart. The venue was packed with families, including children who wanted to chat with the man from the radio.

There was no awkwardness and none of that talking to an alien feeling.

Instead there was lots of fun conversation with kids telling me about their favourite fireworks and I even indulged in some firework impressions with the kids.

I thought my whizzing and whistling noises sounded like a real firework, but one young boy disagreed and proceeded to show me how to do it correctly.

He was right, his impression was much better than mine.