All parents need support and information at different times, for different reasons. As a new parent a few years ago, I accumulated a lot of information from various sources. Recently, as I tried valiantly to declutter, I thought it would be sensible to put the advice I’d found most useful and meaningful into one place, where I could find it again and share it easily, and then be rid of a pile of paper. So here we are. These are not listed in any particular order, and I’m not connected with any of the organisations behind the information.
Top 10 Tips for Parents – from the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program (www.triplep.net)
1. When your child wants to show you something, stop what you are doing and pay attention to your child. It is important to spend frequent, small amounts of time with your child doing things that you both enjoy.
2. Give your child lots of physical affection – children often like hugs, cuddles, and holding hands.
3. Talk to your child about things he/she is interested in and share aspects of your day with your child.
4. Give your child lots of descriptive praise when they do something that you would like to see more of, e.g., “Thank you for doing what I asked straight away”.
5. Children are more likely to misbehave when they are bored so provide lots of engaging indoor and outdoor activities for your child, e.g., playdough, colouring in, cardboard boxes, dress ups, cubby houses, etc.
6. Teach your child new skills by first showing the skill yourself, then giving your child opportunities to learn the new skill. For example, speak politely to each other in the home. Then, prompt your child to speak politely (e.g., say “please” or “thank you”), and praise your child for their efforts.
7. Set clear limits on your child’s behaviour. Sit down and have a family discussion on the rules in the home. Let your child know what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
8. If your child misbehaves, stay calm and give them a clear instruction to stop misbehaving and tell them what you would like them to do instead (e.g., “Stop fighting; play nicely with each other.” Praise your child if they stop. If they do not stop, follow through with an appropriate consequence.
9. Have realistic expectations. All children misbehave at times and it is inevitable that you will have some discipline hassles. Trying to be the perfect parent can set you up for frustration and disappointment.
10. Look after yourself. It is difficult to be a calm, relaxed parent if you are stressed, anxious, or depressed. Try to find time every week to let yourself unwind or do something that you enjoy.
The Circle of Security from Circle of Security (www.circleofsecurity.org)
Part of the above chart is the text from Almost Everything I Need to Know about Being a Parent in 25 words or less
My favourite part of these documents is the advice “Be bigger, stronger, wiser and kind”.
Great play ideas and resources from the Play and Learning Program
This is a fabulous series of 2 page information sheets, including ideas for hand made toys, music, reading stories, sand play, water play, messy play and my favourite – the playdough recipe sheet!
Thinking about being a parent – a lot of good questions in here to help with your own growth.
Encouraging Cooperation in Every Day Moments
Do this – helps with this…
1. Spend loving time together – Children feel valuable and loved. They receive attention for positive behaviour.
2. State clear expectations – Children understand from the caregiver what is okay and what is not okay to do. If children are given a simple explanation of why, they may be more willing to comply.
3. Use limits with flexibility and consistency – Children feel safe because caregiver has set limits for their exploration. Children trust that the caregiver knows what she’s doing when she confidently takes charge and uses consistent limits, but is flexible and reasonable enough to know when the limits need to be changed or done away with.
4. Reflect feelings “I see you are:”- Children feel understood and relieved when the caregiver accepts their feelings, whether positive or negative, and talks about and identifies them. This helps children learn to handle their emotions and understand and care for others’ feelings.
5. Give appropriate choices – Children feel a sense of power and control when they can make real choices. Sharing power in this way gives children positive power, rather than the negative power they get with power struggles.
6. Distract and re-direct – Children still get their wants or needs met, but are given an alternative. This works particularly well with young toddlers whose aim is simply to be occupied and who are less intent on what the specific action or object is.
7. Establish routines and structure – Children feel safe and secure when they know what to expect. This makes it easier to deal with change, and helps children feel like they have a place in this world when they can participate in familiar activities every day.
8. Expect protest – Children feel supported in their developing sense of self and independence when caregivers accept that there will be protests. Protests may be the only way children can let their caregiver know that they have a very different idea of what should happen.