19 Ways to be a Positive Parent – Part 3

I’m sure as you’ve read the previous two articles covering this topic, you’ve realized that you are already doing many things which fall into the ‘positive parenting’ realm. My intention was to offer you a range (19 in fact!) so that you can add a few more to your Parenting Toolkit!  Let’s continue…..

 

10 Provide Incidental Teaching: When you are playing blocks with them, mention the colour names; when making a salad, tell them what you are doing and see if they’d like to help; when crossing the road, explain why you look both ways, and why they need to hold your hand. Almost every situation is an opportunity to share a simple fact with them – not to overload point, just a bit of information.

 

11 Clear Ground Rules: Keep rules simple. Have just a few general ones rather than a l-o-n-g list (which no-one can stick to!) Rules might be things like We don’t hurt people; We are careful with others possessions; and We speak ‘nicely’… change the wording to suit the age of the child. Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent – continued

Last week we started delving into the many ways that you can show positivity in your parenting.

We looked at:

  • Spend quality time
  • Talk with your child
  • Listen to your child
  • Show affection

Let’s continue…..

Give Descriptive Praise. Often we acknowledge our children’s actions, we say: “good boy” or “you’re such a good girl”, without actually telling the child what specifically they did which was ‘good’. Is it because in the last few minutes they helped their sister pick up the toys, because they put them in the right place, or because they did it without being told????

If I say to you know: ‘You’re such a good parent’… what does that mean? Is it because you speak gently to your children? Or because you read to them each night? Or because you provide nutritious food to them? Or because you show them affection? Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent

Most parents would probably state that they wish to do a good job of parenting and are working towards that in their interactions with their child/ren.

 

We all know some days are a challenge – we’re tired, the kids are tired, they’re difficult, we’re irritable, it’s raining for the 3rd day in a row etc – on those days it can be a lot harder to stay ‘cool’ and do positive parenting. But on the other days…..

 

There are many skills and strategies we can bring to parenting, and we do our best when we use the most appropriate one for the current situation. It’s a bit like a tradesman knowing when to use the pliers, the drill or the screwdriver, or the chef to know whether they need a knife, a grater or a vegetable peeler. The ends results are so much better when we use the right tool – or in parenting – the right strategy.

 

So what might parents need? Read more

Self-Regulation is a Parenting Skill

Imagine this (and some of you won’t need to imagine it, this will have been just like your day!)….

It’s 5pm, and you haven’t started dinner yet. In fact, you don’t even know what you are going to have for dinner, because you just remembered to take the mince out of the freezer at 4pm! Your toddler is getting cranky and really should be in the bath, but your 6 year old needs your help with listening to him read his school reader. The cat is circling you waiting for it’s dinner. The phone rings and you have a headache. Now if that was your day, then you may well want to scream, to pass the kids over to hubby when he gets home, or to run away. Our impulse is to go away. The reality is that we can’t do that, and we know that somehow we will muddle our way through it. We’ll decide that the toddler needs bed more than a bath, that toast is dinner tonight, and that headache pills come before the cats miaowing. We know we will get through it, because we have succeeded before, and we’ve learnt some skills along the way – thank goodness!

We weren’t born knowing how to do that – how to regulate our emotions and systematically work through the tasks in a priority, skillful manner. It is a learnt skill.

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Two young children playing in the creek

Developing a Curious Child

“Oh he’s into everything” complains a Mother. “She’s always pulling things apart”, states a Dad. It’s always said to me like a complaint, as if it’s a bad thing to have a curious child!

Curious children are GREAT – it means their developing brain is seeking to understand, to know how and why things work (or don’t work), to understand ‘what happens if I do xyz…..’ and does the same thing happen if I do it twice, or 12 times? A curious child is the result of a learning brain, and that’s a GREAT thing! People who are curious are the ones who become explorers, researchers, musical composers or inventors. This may be in any field of science, music, the environment, the arts etc Or it may be in the social world, or understanding how people interact or communicate – so many possibilities!

How do we assist the growth of curiosity in our developing children?

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Communicating with Babies – What Parents Need to Know.

Babies begin communicating with us from the moment they are born – it’s just that we may not understand what they are saying yet!

 

It’s interesting isn’t it that if you were going to have an extended holiday in Spain or France, you’d probably make the effort to learn even a few basic words and phrases of Spanish or French. Yet when we are pregnant not many people learn how to communicate with the ‘soon to be here’ baby!

 

I’ve personally seen the huge benefits parents get when they DO learn how to do this, and the spin-off benefits to their baby such as: Read more

Image of a nice kids bed in a neat room

When Do I Move my Toddler into a Bed?

This is a question many parents wonder about. There is no ‘right’ time to move them into a bed, and your decision may be based on a variety of things….

  • You may have a new baby arriving and know that they will only sleep in a bassinet for the first few months;
  • You may be concerned that your toddler is attempting to climb out of their cot;
  • The toddler may be indicating that they want a big bed like their sister/ brother/ cousin, or
  • You may be renovating and want to include the child’s bedroom in that.

There are many reasons ‘why’ you might want to move them. From a safety point of view, they can stay in the cot until they are getting too big for it, or until they start to climb out – as then they may be at risk of falling or injury.

Whatever your reason for moving them, here are a few suggestions to make the transition easier:

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Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.

Yesterday as I was walking along the street in the mall area, I was walking near a Mother and her daughter aged about 4. They were holding hands, and the Mum looked at the little girl and said: “Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.” The daughter beamed a big smile to her Mum.

 

I said to the mother: “What a beautiful thing you just said to her – it’s such a positive message.’ And the Mum beamed back to me.

 

There are two things which are truly wonderful about the happening…..

 

The first is that the mother clearly cares deeply about her daughter and is taking steps to ensure that the daughter knows she is loved and valued, on a regularly basis. She told her daughter that this continues to happen each and every day – giving her daughter the message that their love and connection will continue, and that it is an important thing. Read more

Child sitting on the floor, intently doing puzzle

What are the best toys for children? One is…. Jigsaw Puzzles.

 

In my role as a Parenting Consultant, parents and grandparents often ask me about buying toys for their children or grandchildren. They want to know what are the ‘best’ ones. Obviously the age and ability of the child is a consideration, but 2 of my favourites are jigsaw puzzles and board games.

Puzzles can be introduced to toddlers around age one, with a toy which has balls to drop into a hole. This starts to teach them to hold an object, to position it, and then to let it drop through. The easiest shape to insert is a circle, as it will fit which ever way you hold it!

Next comes a shape sorter toy. You hold the container and let baby select a shape. Read more

Image by Woodley Wonder Works via Flickr

Music and Maths – an Unlikely Relationship?

This morning over breakfast I was listening to the radio, and was aware how the different pieces impacted on me – some more upbeat, some more gentle and calming. I don’t know about you, but I play different types of music for specific moods – if I’m feeling a bit ‘flat’ I put on something like “Pink”, and if I’m feeling hassled, I put on gentle classical music, or “Enya”. We can utilise this with children too – you can use music to enhance their moods, to help ‘lift’ them when needed, or to calm them at other times.

From an early age we use lullabies to soothe our babies, and often sing them to sleep – this is true whatever your cultural background. It’s the tone of your voice, which settles them. As they get older, they like things with a stronger beat – you’ll often see toddlers bopping to a beat. Toddlers also like nursery rhymes and songs, and will join in with the words and actions. Even a 1 year old will often wave their hands in the  air, to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

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