How To Be A Good Parent
Parenting and raising kids in general is a rewarding, but oftentimes difficult road to navigate. With so many differing opinions on parenting styles and so much parenting advice to take into consideration, learning how to be a good parent can be a very daunting and intimidating task. Over the years, and with access to the internet and child development experts, we’ve learned a lot about parenting, how to discipline a child and some overall effective strategies for raising a child.
We want to teach kids discipline and positive behavior but also give them love and affection. When raising kids, we want to be a good role model to our children and ensure that they have all the tools for healthy child development. We have some positive parenting suggestions to help you fine tune your parenting skills!
How to be a good parent to a toddler.
Parenting a toddler can present some particularly challenging moments and obstacles, as toddlers often don’t have the social or verbal skills to express how they feel. This can lead to meltdowns and breakdowns in communication.
Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate this stage of your child’s life.
1. Establish consistent rules & expectations.
Toddlers crave consistency and predictability so it’s best to attempt to respond to your child’s behavior in a consistent manner as much as possible. Keep rules to a minimum and modify a few behaviors at a time so that they aren’t overwhelmed. Focus on establishing safety guidelines and setting limits that must be followed so that they are not in any sort of danger.
2. Handle tantrums effectively.
Toddlers tend to get easily frustrated due to their inability to effectively express themselves. This frustration inevitably leads to tantrums and meltdowns. Parents need to attempt to minimize these outbursts by sticking to a schedule and routine and ensuring that their child is not overly hungry or tired, or missing their nap time.
3. Give toddlers options.
Parents should give toddlers a few good options and let their child choose. This gives your toddler a sense of autonomy over the decision, while allowing the parents to feel good that their toddler chose an acceptable option.
For example, if your toddler doesn’t want to get ready for, or go to bed, ask them if they want to brush their teeth first or read a book first. They get to choose and the bedtime routine is off to an easy start!
4. Treat your toddler with respect.
Even though your toddler might not fully understand the concept of respect, they will mirror their parents good behavior. Your child learns positive and negative behavior patterns from their parents. Speak to them politely and respect their opinions. Pay attention to them when they are speaking and do not interrupt them mid-sentence. This will encourage them to act the same!
5. Play with your toddler.
Set aside time each day to play and engage with your toddler. This play time allows you to encourage your toddlers’ positive behavior and establish a positive relationship.
Remember that the time you spend with your child is all about quality, not quantity. Don’t stress yourself out if there isn’t much time during the day to interact. Just make the time you have count!
6. Be a good role model.
Your child looks to their parents for guidance and follows their cues. Try not to argue with your spouse in front of your child. Children mirror and replicate their parents behavior, so be mindful and think about the words and actions you choose. This will encourage them to mirror you in a positive manner with a positive attitude in situations when you aren’t around.
7. Avoid using food as a reward or comfort.
The best way to reward a toddler is with parental attention as opposed to rewarding them with a cookie or treat. This may work in the moment but it is not a sustainable or desirable way to handle difficult situations in the long run.
According to pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. Harvey Karp, “young children are wired for social relations. For them, parental attention is more than just ‘getting enough’- it means everything in the world to them. Your attaching a treat to the deal alters that perception. You’re demonstrating that an object or a sweet has more merit and value than does a simple hug and a smile.”
How to be a good parent to a baby.
Being a good parent to a baby is fairly straightforward since for the most part they just need love, affection, food and sleep. That said, with so many parenting links and articles on the internet, first time parents often get overwhelmed with an overload of information. We’ve narrowed down some tips for how to be a good parent to your baby!
1. Keep it simple.
For the first few months of your newborn’s life, they really only need the essentials: milk, sleep, a clean diaper and love. So during this phase don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to be the perfect parent, but rather spend this time getting to know your baby and easing into your new roles as new parents.
2. Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Caring for a newborn or infant around the clock, 24/7 can lead to parental burnout! Have relatives, friends or even older children run an errand for you, or hold the baby while you take a much needed shower! Hire help if you need it and have the means.
There is no shame in accepting a helping hand. You will actually be a better and more present and patient parent.
3. Don’t panic!
Many parents panic and get worked up over every little thing in the first year of their baby’s life. The concerns run the gamut from feeding and diapering to colds and childcare.
According to Leon Hoffman, MD, director of the Pacella Parent Child Center in New York “many new parents have overblown physical reactions to spitting up, vomiting and other things a baby does, and the baby picks up on that anxiety.” Hoffman says “parents can waste the entire first year of their baby’s life by worrying about the small stuff. This worry gets in the way of being spontaneous and enjoying your infant’s first year of life. Babies are far more resilient than we give them credit for.”
4. Embrace the chaos.
Keep your plans simple and be prepared for them to change on a moments notice. Babies behavior is often very unpredictable and even your best laid plans may have to be abandoned if your baby is not cooperating. Just roll with it and know that it’s not the end of the world!
Qualities of a good parent.
Parenting is a full time job that will definitely challenge you emotionally, physically and mentally. However, with hard work, dedication and a clear focus you have a great chance at raising well-adjusted children. Here are some qualities that are defining characteristics of good parents!
Flexibility and an easy going attitude, as well as the ability to resolve conflict in a relaxed manner, are cornerstone qualities of how to be a good parent. If a parent is inflexible, this often increases defiance in children.
Engage in discussions with your children, keep an open mind and allow them to make choices. Being flexible doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries, but allowing your child to have a voice will pay off with them showing respect and self-restraint.
2. Having a sense of humor.
Having a sense of humor and a playful attitude encourages an openness and trust from your child. It also encourages an open dialogue from your child and reduces their stress and anxiety if they know their parents are coming from a place of good humor and understanding.
Even the youngest of children have their own individuality and are trying to define their sense of self. Try not to coddle your child too much and do everything for them. Empowering your child will allow them to take pride in their hard work or in the choices and decisions they make. Nurture their independence and individuality!
Patience is a true sign of great parenting, but as we all know it’s not the easiest virtue to uphold. A patient parent handles conflict in a calm manner and allows their child to make mistakes without losing their cool. It will also teach your children to be patient. If you can remain patient in the face of toddler meltdowns, colicky babies and general defiance, you will be winning at the parenting game!
Jennifer O’Neill is an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip, helping families travel lighter and happier. She is a mother of two boys and enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends and of course, traveling.