Lets face it the world of parenting these days is a confusing maze of different theories, models and suggestions about how we can optimise health, wellbeing and development for our children. Its great to feel there is not a ‘once size fits all approach’ but it can be just as overwhelming trying to piece together a framework for parenting that feels right for you and your family.
One approach which has certainly stood up to empirical testing is the principles of Positive Parenting. But what does this term really mean and how can we become Positive Parents. This article provides you with seven easy tips on incorporating Positive Parenting strategies into your daily life. No one is born knowing how to be a great parent, but we all have the capacity to learn and grow. Positive parenting is all about making parenting more enjoyable and effective.
- Socialising your child to shared meal time rituals and acceptable mealtime behaviour will set them up for healthy eating and valuable social development. Kids model their behaviour from the people closest to them, see if you can teach by example; sharing relaxing and enjoyable meal times with your children when possible.
- Encourage questions. Ever felt frustrated by the seemingly endless questions from the average 5 year old? This part of development is incredibly important and not only helps your child to understand risk, boundaries and what is acceptable; it also sets your child up to ask questions when they are older as well. Try to meet questions with respect, openness and honesty and watch your child benefit from this.
- Play is important. There are many benefits to an active childhood, and participation in varied activities, such as sports, music, and academic pursuits. However don’t let this busy-ness be at the sacrifice of all play time. It is just as important to allow your child to have unstructured play time as it is to be rushing to a number of after school activities. Don’t be afraid to get involved in your child’s playtime and enjoy the bond that follows.
- Set your child up for success with instilling good habits at an early age. I often hear very conflicting views on the issue of household jobs. When is it appropriate for your child to begin to take on household tasks and at what level? Check out this table for some tips but don’t follow anything too rigidly (decide what is best for you and your child)
Put away toys
Put washing in basket
Wipe up surface whilst sitting in high chair
Put socks on hands and dust surfaces
Take washing to laundry
Tidy up (put toys away)
Help collect mail
Put dishes away
Help to sort laundry
Help with weeding gardening
Help with food preparation
Take rubbish out
Cook simple meals
Make grocery list
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. It is helpful to use eye contact and a soothing voice when your child is distressed. Don’t forget the power of non verbal communication, smile with, hold and comfort your child. Communication is as much about listening as it is about teaching or talking. Hold off on ‘teaching’ mode if your child is distressed. It is more effective to soothe first and teach something later when your child is feeling calm.
- Right from Wrong
Each of us develop our own set of morals and ethics which guide us in life. Help your child to set the foundations for this early so they go on to develop their own sense of right and wrong to guide them effectively through life.
- Look after yourself! I have spoken about this before it is so important that it is getting another mention. How can you be the best parent you can be if you are running on empty, exhausted or run down? Take breaks, enlist the help of friends, family and child care to get a break from parenting. Use this time carefully to recharge your batteries.
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