8 Positive Parenting Tips for Happy Kids (and Parents!)
Posted on May 28 2018
As a mother of a five-year-old and two-year-old, I know what it feels like to question your parenting techniques, wondering if you’re doing the right thing, or whether your kids are happy. Just by fighting that inner battle, you’re using up all your energy you normally need for early starts to the day, and squabbles over what cereal they’re going to eat, or what shoes they need to put on.
If you’re a mother without a huge support network, it can be difficult to measure what positive parenting techniques for toddlers are working, and what isn’t. You might feel like you’re simply winging it, even if you’re on the right track to begin with. To help you on your way to positive parenting, we’ve included eight positive parenting tips below. Some of these will work for your kids, and some won’t. As every child is different, it’s up to you to determine how your family can be the happiest it can be.
Set time aside for one-on-one
I’ve got two children, and while they play well together like most kids, they do get sick of their older sister or little brother. It’s only natural for children to fight, and making them play together all the time or vie for your attention is only feeding that competitive streak. It’s really important to set time aside for each of your children. While together they will enjoy outings to the park or a playground, sometimes they simply want to spend time with you on their own.
For me, I get to spend a lot of time with my 22-month-old while my five-year-old is at school, but once she gets home from school, I try and give her plenty of one-on-one time. Sometimes we complete her homework together, or other times, she likes to help me prepare dinner.
Have a reward system
An excellent positive parenting tip is having a reward chart. I learned this very early on, and I know it’s an age-old piece of advice that has served parents well for many years. If your tot or even older child knows that good behaviour leads to a reward, they are more likely to partake in it. If bad behaviour leads you to removing a sticker or a star from their chart, they’re likely to make a conscious effort to leave bad behaviour behind. Once a certain number of stars or stickers feature on their chart, they receive a reward.
While the thought of a treat itself is incentive enough for children to try their best to avoid bad behaviour, it’s often the thrill of getting a fresh new sticker to put on their chart that’s equally as exciting.
Stick to a routine
As a mother, you will likely know just how hectic everyday life can be. We can often be juggling work, daycare, and school, all before arriving home to try and keep on top of the housework, spend quality time with the children, then prepare dinner, dishes, and bedtime. Then, the following day, you get up and do it all again. It might seem mundane, but having such a routine is what children require. Structure is exceptionally important, and if the kids know what to expect at a certain time of the day, they’re more likely to comply with what you expect at that time.
Make ‘punishments’ a learning opportunity
We all have that moment when we just want to put our children in ‘timeout’ and walk away. They might be tired, grumpy and irritable, or they might constantly be fighting with their siblings. While timeout is beneficial for you as a parent, it has been proven to be ineffective for kids. It becomes a battle of wills – who can be the most determined to win the battle – and it becomes less about correcting bad behaviour. If you’re looking for hyperactive child positive parenting tips, timeout features highly, but even more highly is treating punishments as a learning opportunity.
Instead of removing privileges or toys, focus on re-enacting the moment of bad behaviour to see if your child can point out what wasn’t acceptable. Once they’ve pinpointed the reason for needing to be punished, they can play out a new scenario of what is acceptable behaviour.
There’s truth in the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. However, what happens when those people all have differing ideas about what that child can do? If one villager says it’s okay to have a chocolate bar before bed, but the other villager says that the child must have nothing, what happens to the child? He or she can get confused and upset. The entire village – or parents – need to be consistent, and work together. It’s important to communicate with your significant other to determine what appropriate actions you must take in different scenarios. Doing so can be helpful when either parent is looking after the kids without the other.
Avoid the word ‘no’
Children ask thousands of questions. Both of my children are very inquisitive, so I find myself fielding questions as soon as they get out of bed. It can be all too easy to just say ‘no’ all the time. No, we can’t go to the park at 6 am, and no, we can’t eat ice cream for breakfast. Instead of saying no, why not have a discussion and offer an alternative answer? For example, if your child asks for ice cream for breakfast, instead of saying no, why not say “I don’t think ice cream is very healthy for breakfast, do you? How about tomorrow we take a trip to the grocery store and pick an ice cream for everyone for dessert?” You’re not saying no, you’re simply redirecting the question to a more appropriate scenario.
Look deeper into bad behaviour
Kids will be kids, and having two of them has meant I’ve seen my fair share of tantrums. However, not all bad behaviour is just part of childhood. It might be helpful, particularly if your child is hyperactive or overly sensitive, to consult a medical professional. Their behaviour and actions might be a sign of internal frustration – such as not enough one-on-one time, or even a medical condition.
Don’t fight their battles
When siblings squabble, it can be all too easy to step in, give the toy back to the child who had it first, and solve the problem for them. However, it’s beneficial to have your children work out their issues for themselves. If you can arm them with the right tools, they can be well on their way to learning valuable problem-solving skills for later life. Ask questions, be involved in a discussion, and work out what the problem is. From here, ask the children what they think should happen to resolve the problem.
Parenting is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do, but it’s also one of the most challenging. What tips and tricks have you used for happy kids and parents? Get in touch!