Parenting Tip #1: Make mutual respect the foundation of your parent/child relationship
Showing children respect is the best way to teach them respect. Children deserve, and respond positively, when they are treated with respect.
Parenting Tip #2: Catch ‘em doing something right
Because it is a parent’s job to teach children appropriate behaviors, we notice when they do inappropriate things and correct them. However, we rarely acknowledge the many times children do what we expect. Occasionally noticing positive behaviors without over praising can increase those behaviors.
- “I noticed that you hung your jacket up. That helps our house stay neat. Thanks.”
- Try to notice “something right” several times a day.
Parenting Tip #3: Keep the Boundaries You Set
When you don’t follow through, you teach your children that they don’t have to listen to you. When you consistently follow through on boundaries you set, your children will understand that you mean what you say.
Parenting Tip #4: Be a Coach
When it is necessary to correct a child’s behavior, parents frequently tell the child to stop the problem behavior without saying what to do instead. Coaching children in the appropriate behavior can be effective, and help them learn to problem solve.
- “When you run into Grandma so fast, it could hurt her. Grandmas need soft hugs, like this.”
- “When you put your cup right on the edge of the table, it might tip over. Can you think of a safer place?”
Parenting Tip #5: Expressing Feelings: Mirroring Back
Helping children identify the feelings they are experiencing is beneficial in a few ways:
- Most importantly, it lets the children know they are not alone with their feelings.
- It creates a sense of bonding between parents and children.
- It helps children build a “feelings vocabulary,” so they can better express themselves.
- “Oh, your tower keeps falling over. That can be very frustrating.”
Parenting Tip #6: Expressing Feelings: Modeling
Parents can describe their own feeling reactions to show appropriate ways to manage their feelings.
- “I can’t get this computer program to do what I want. That is so frustrating! I think I’ll take a break until I calm down a little.”
- "I feel worried when you go near the water without your life jacket. If you can’t follow the rules, we’ll have to find something else to do because I don’t like feeling worried."
- "I am very angry with you right now. I want to take a time out before we talk about it."
- "Wow! I am proud of the job I did fixing the faucet. High five!"
Parenting Tip #7: Giving Choices: Yes/Yes
Offer your child two equally attractive ways to complete an activity.
Parenting Tip #8: Giving Choices: Do Over or Time-Out?
When children misbehave, parents can give the option of having a “Do Over” or a time-out.
- “It’s not OK to throw your sippy cup. Do you want a “Do over” and set in on the table, or you do want to take a time-out?”
- “That is a disrespectful tone of voice. Would you like to take a polite “Do over,” or do you want a time-out?
Parenting Tip #9: Give Time Warnings
When you give children time to adjust to a change in activities, they will be more cooperative. The amount of time and number of reminders will depend on age of the child.
- Generalities work for a child too young to understand units of time.
- "Pretty soon we have to put the toys away, so finish up your play." (Wait a few minutes.) "I’m going to count to ten, then we’ll start to put the toys away."
- Older children will appreciate time warnings so they can adjust their expectations.
- "In thirty minutes it will be time for the computer to go off.... Ten minutes left of computer time....You have two minutes to finish up."
Parenting Tip #11: Children Benefit from Chores
Chores contribute to a child’s sense of self-esteem, confidence and place in the family. They can also be a source of family time. Even very young children can help by doing simple tasks such as matching socks while the adults fold laundry, carrying a few items to their proper place, putting napkins on the table and other age appropriate tasks that are chosen to provide a “success experience.”
- Let very young children do chores when they want to be helpers.
- Older children benefit from having regularly scheduled chores.
Parenting Tip #12 Provide Everyday Rewards
When using a reward system with children, it is not necessary for parents to make a purchase.
- Children can earn time on their favorite electronic device, “stay up late minutes,” or the privilege of choosing their favorite dinner, for example.
- Note: Time with parents is part of unconditional love, and should not need to be earned, although special outings could be part of a reward system.