Countless factors go into being a good parent. There are also many different types of parenting styles out there, so there aren’t too many catch-alls that work for all parents.
Some tips would behoove almost any mom or dad out there, though. We’ve rounded up a few of the best actionable, psychology-backed tips you can use to raise your kids without overloading on stress.
There are plenty of great parenting tips, like studying the latest parenting blogs and neuro-psych journals, that really work. They’re not exactly straightforward, though. In this list, we’ve tried to focus on things that don’t add much to your workload.
Create Memorable Moments
Try to fill the time you spend with your child with as many memorable moments as possible. How do you make a moment memorable, you might ask? Here are a few key ways:
- Break the script by doing things out of the norm. Of course, this only works if there is a norm already, and children value the comfort of a routine… most of the time.
- ‘WOW’ your child by boosting sensory appeal. New sights, sounds, and smells are even more exciting to a child than they would be to an adult.
- Sharing a struggle creates memorable experiences, whether that means doing a difficult jigsaw puzzle together or weeding the garden together.
- Celebrate with your child when they are already riding a wave of happiness or pride from something else. If you take part in commemorating the accomplishment, your quality time spent with your child instantly becomes as memorable as the accomplishment itself.
Listen to Them
Always make an effort to listen to your child, and learn about their life directly from them, whenever possible. These actions will show the child you care about them, and that will translate to feelings of mutual love and respect.
Many children have the habit of ignoring questions posed to them, and this can sometimes make parents feel the child is not interested in communicating. Don’t let this deter you, though. Virtually all children value your questions and interest, even if they do not show it.
When you listen to your child, look them in the eye and show with your body language that you are processing everything they say.
Your child feeling loved is only one benefit of this tip. You’ll also learn more about what’s going on in their life, and you’re teaching your child invaluable interpersonal communication skills.
Let Them Fail and Learn from Mistakes
Many parents do all they can to keep their children from failing, not realizing that failure is one of the best kinds of learning opportunities available to kids.
Children are surprisingly good at examining their own behaviors, especially if you give them a push to do so. Another thing they have a knack for is seeing patterns and gleaning life lessons from them. Together, those two things make failures more of a positive than a negative for their personal growth.
The point is, you should let your children fail. It will help them learn about some of the harsh realities of life, and it will go a very long way in preparing them for the future.
Stick to Your Own Rules
Kids need a set of rules. Their moral compasses just aren’t too well-developed yet, so they need guidelines. As a parent, you need to set them.
But after you do, you need to stick to them just as you expect your child to do. Kids love identifying hypocrites, and your rulings will not have as much authority if you are one of them.
Stop With the Warnings
While it might feel unfair to assign a punishment after just one warning, it’s the best way to deal with an unruly child.
Issuing repeated warnings that you’re going to do something ‘bad’ will make a child more indecisive. It shows them it’s okay to put things off until next time. This philosophy may very well end up translating to the child’s mindset even in situations besides crisis management.
It would help if you carried out punishment immediately after your first warning is violated. This will set a strong example for your child. It will also minimize the length of time you have to talk to them harshly.
Make Your Quality Time Count
It would be great if parents could all spend 40 hours a week with their kids, but many just don’t have time. And that’s okay. As long as you make the time you do spend count.
First of all, quality time with your kid should be an undivided time—just you and them. Constant cell phone checks do not come into the equation. It’s not enough to walk next to your kid, either. You need to talk with them and work on your bond.
Second, do something fun. Don’t just sit around the house during your quality time if you want to make it memorable and special.
“You know I love you, but…” It’s good to include some variation of this phrase when you have to lecture your child on anything.
No matter what, they should never for a second feel like they did something irredeemable, and you do not want to be their parent anymore.
And that might sound extreme, but that’s how children’s minds work. They can very quickly feel dejected when they are chastized, so you have to be careful and always remind them you are still on their side to avoid scaring them.
Also, never even suggest that you might leave your child or anything of the like.
It’s incredible how hurtful being yelled at is for the psyche of a child. Studies have shown repeatedly that children who are yelled at even semi-regularly tend to be a lot more verbally and physically aggressive than those who are not.
So take a step back and think about why you might yell at your child. Take every action you can to stop yourself from doing it and talk to your kid about how they can help prevent it too.
Remember that no one is a perfect parent. There isn’t a single one of us that follows all of these tips all of the time. No, you’re not a bad parent because you have violated any or all of them. Just be mindful and try to minimize them.
IF YOU HAVE ANY SIMPLE PARENTING SKILLS OR TIPS NOT MENTIONED HERE, LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!