Many of us want to be the best parents on the block. We want to be the cool Mom or Dad that all the kids (not just your own) love. I know I had this ideal of how I’d be before my son was born…the perfect mom. I haven’t exactly lived up to every area of that great theory, however.
Parenting usually isn’t as easy as we think it will be. But here is hope! The following are 10 tips that can help you become a better parent.
Become a Better Parent
1. Set rules and boundaries.
There’s nothing worse that toddlers who run through a store, screaming as they go. Or those that slap at their parents whey things don’t go their way. Rule setting needs to occur as soon as unwanted behavior does…most two year olds can understand basic rules and boundaries.
2. Be consistent.
Just because you set rules doesn’t mean that your kiddo will always follow them. As your child grows, he will start to test the waters to see what he can and cannot get away with. Being consistent in your rules, discipline, and actions makes it less confusing for him, and easier for him to understand what is allowed and what’s not.
3. Know it’s okay to ignore unwanted behavior.
Temper tantrums are running high in our home right now. At first, I wanted nothing more than to console the kiddo when he didn’t get what he wanted. However, I quickly learned that sweet talking, hugging, etc only encouraged the problem. Now, I typically give Sawyer a few minutes to calm down before talking to him or trying to redirect him.
4. Use discipline AND praise accordingly.
Praise is just as important as discipline. It further helps young children know when they have done something right. Just as you would dole out punishments, give out rewards (a mix of words, privileges, or material things) when they are well behaved.
5. Listen when they speak.
Busy moms and dads may want to listen to their child, but find that they actually “uh huh” and “yeah, okay” their way through conversations with their kids. As they get older, children grasp this and it can cause them to do the same in return. When possible, stop what you are doing and listen to your little one as he talks. This also helps to promote good social skills as well.
6. Schedule family time as well as quality one-on-one time.
It’s important that the family does things altogether, such as dinner each night or an occasional evening out. However, it’s just as important that each child have special one-on-one time with their parents. This can be a special time to read, have a fun outing, or just relaxing on a blanket in the backyard. It gives your child time to connect with each parent on a more personal level.
7. Maintain your authority.
When you direct your child to do something (clean his room, wash his hands, etc), be sure not to phrase the request as a question. If done this way, the child may feel that he has a choice and can choose not to listen. Telling him to do something and adding “please” at the end makes it more of a command, though it still doesn’t sound harsh or demanding.
8. Be a role model for your children.
No one spends more time with your kids than you do. If you want them getting more active or spending less time watching TV, be sure to model that for them. Many children pick up habits directly from their parents, so it’s important that you watch your language and actions when your little ones are present.
9. Encourage reading skills.
Reading is one of the most important skills that children need to learn early on. Most schools begin teaching reading in Kindergarten, but you can foster the love of books even sooner.
Read to your children before bed each night, and be sure that books are always accessible for them to flip through. Keeping a couple in the car is also great, as they are educational and can pass the time during a boring car ride.
10. Have fun with your kids.
No matter how busy or stressful life is, be sure that you never forget to less loose and have fun. Having a good laugh shows kids so many things…that you value time spent with them, you know how to have fun, laughing is good, etc.
11. Be involved in their lives.
Up until the time school starts, it’s hard not to be very involved with your child’s life. However, avoid merely becoming someone in the background as they get older. Staying involved shows them you still care, and that you aren’t too busy for them. Help with homework, attending parent/teacher conferences, volunteer for field trips and talk with them nightly about their day.