Archive for the parenting tips Category

Parenting Tip: Encourage your children to take naps

June 9, 2009

Napping may have a significant influence on young children’s daytime functioning, according to a research paper presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Results indicate that children between the ages of 4 and 5 who did not take daytime naps were reported by their parents to exhibit higher levels of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression than children who continued to nap at this age.

Previous studies have linked not enough or poor sleep to symptoms of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. Researchers in this study were happy to show the potential importance of napping for optimal daytime functioning in children, as napping is often overlooked in favor of nighttime or total sleep.

Do you use the carrot or the stick for changing your child’s behaviour?

June 9, 2009

From the American Counselling Association. Sponsored by the ACA Foundation

NO parent enjoys constantly warning or threatening his or her child, yet many children do seem programmed to drive mum and dad crazy, at least some of the time. So how can parents encourage good behaviours without shouting themselves hoarse?

Our usual reaction to a misbehaving child is often toward the side of anger, focusing on the negative and warning, ordering or threatening the child to behave.

Sometimes we issue warnings and threats before the child has misbehaved. A young child may be told: “If you don’t behave at grandpa’s birthday party today, you’ll be sorry,” while an older child might be threatened with: “Forget to turn in one more homework assignment and you’re grounded for a week!”

Studies find such warnings, threats and punishments are generally not very effective in modifying behaviour. Yes, a loudly yelled order may halt the immediate misbehaving, but it seldom makes a long-lasting difference in how your child acts.

Researchers find rewards are more effective in terms of achieving desired behaviours. This shouldn’t be surprising. As adults, we don’t like being lectured, threatened or punished, but often work harder and look forward to opportunities to do well, be recognised and reap a reward for our efforts. We all perform better when we feel good about ourselves.

Children respond in the same way. For young children rewards that immediately follow the desired behaviour are most effective simply because delayed gratification is too abstract for a young child’s mind to grasp. Older children, however, are able to look forward to something promised.

Rewards can take a variety of forms. While it can be something tangible, like a new book or CD, effective rewards can also cost nothing. Catch your child in the act of doing something positive and compliment him or her. Or pay more attention to that school work and offer praise when real effort is being shown. Sincere compliments and praise really work, and so do rewards like spending extra time with your child for a special activity, or just granting extra play or TV time for doing well.

Rewards shouldn’t be bribes, but rather a means to encourage positive behaviours so that they become long-term behaviours. To help that happen, don’t reward constantly, since that just makes the rewarding less meaningful. And remember to reward positive efforts, not just final outcomes. Trying hard counts as much as succeeding.

Use rewards correctly and you’ll find that they can be much more effective, and pleasant, than constant shouting, threatening and punishments.


  • “The Counselling Corner” is provided as a public service by the American Counselling Association. Learn more about the counselling profession at the ACA web site,

Parenting Tip: Nip anger in the bud

May 29, 2009

Take steps to control your own rage:

  • Don’t stew over things, distract yourself if you’re feeling mad
  • Practise self-control
  • Learn how to connect with people in a safe and respectful way
  • Find positive male and female role models
  • Care for yourself by connecting to things that are meaningful to you like nature, meditation or art

Thanks to Cynthia Morton of the Emotional Fitness Foundatation for today’s tip (and HT to Stuff)

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Follow your child’s lead

May 28, 2009

Participate with your child in those activities that bring them pleasure, even if it feels strange to you.

Joining your child in their world requires an essential parenting skill-imitate and follow. Don’t make demands, don’t ask them to perform (i.e., “What color is this?” or “What does a cow say?”), and don’t direct the play. While it may sound simple, it’s not! As parents we all want to feel proud of what our children know. We get great pleasure in asking them to show off, especially in front of other people so they can see what great parents we are. However, most children don’t like to be drilled (nor do adults, for that matter), and when too much of this occurs, the child may simply withdraw, or do the opposite, have a tantrum.

Truly joining in your child’s world gives them the feeling that you treasure what comes from inside, not only what you draw out of them. It says “I’m so delighted in you that I’m going to sit here with you and watch what you do, do it alongside you, and wonder with you why this is so fascinating.” Granted, as parents we will always be tickled by our child’s responses to our approaches or our questions, but expecting too much of this will backfire on you. Instead, join in, talk about what you and the child are doing (i.e., “Boy, these rays of sunlight on the floor are really interesting.” or “You really like the sound of that block banging on the table.”). Finally, don’t be afraid to add to the play with your own creations in the hope that your child will someday become interested in you, too.

If your child has limited awareness of others, you can gently create situations in the play to get your child to notice you. For example, if they are building with blocks, you might “accidentally” knock them over then help build them up again.

Today’s tip comes from Dr Sarita Freedman.  This tip is extracted from her excellent article, “Top 10 Tips for Parenting an Autistic Child“.

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Stop the show

May 27, 2009

When the going gets tough, stop the show.

If you find that your child is misbehaving badly or exhibiting tantrums, for example in a public place, then stop whatever programmes that you’ve planned for the day and go home. This can be tough, especially when you have already planned out your day. But if your child is misbehaving, they need to know that there won’t be any “exciting” activities for the rest of the day unless they stop their bad behavior.

Thanks to James Lehman for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Love and warmth works wonders with kids

May 23, 2009

Love and warmth works wonders with kids.

Like all of us, kids naturally want to please those who love them.  Managing behaviour of children becomes lots less of an issue when the general feel in the home is one of love and warmth.

Of course we don’t get it right all the time and sometimes it’s right to be negative, but sincere praise and encouragement far outweigh any negative remarks. Aim for a split of around 6-8 positives to offset a single negative.

Children who know they have their parents’ support and love are much more keen to please them with their behaviour – they want to get it right.

Thanks to S.K.I.P. for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Structure and security

May 21, 2009

You can help prevent unacceptable behaviour by making sure you don’t put your child into situations which are likely to trigger it.

Children are naturally curious. If you put a small child into a room full of china ornaments, for example, they won’t be able to resist touching them.

Ways of preventing unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour include:

  • child-proofing play spaces and removing breakable things
  • providing several kinds of toys to avoid conflicts
  • varying the tempo of routines to suit each child’s temperament,
  • using calming rituals such as stories, songs or rocking,
  • re-focusing your child’s attention onto interesting , safe and acceptable activities

We need to guide our children’s behaviour so they learn what behaviour is appropriate in the different situations they find themselves in—and what behaviour is not appropriate.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Try to understand how your child thinks and feels

May 10, 2009

Try to understand how your child thinks and feels.

When you understand how your child thinks and feels at different stages of their development you are much better equipped to respond to challenging situations in a positive and constructive way.

This knowledge about your child’s development gives you a foundation for problem solving.  Instead of simply reacting in the moment, you can think about what your child’s behaviour means, and where it is leading them.

Often we misinterpret the reasons why children behave as they do.  When we think that they are defying us or trying to make us mad, we respond with anger and punishment.

When we understand that they are doing what they need to do in order to grow into the next stage, we are more likely to respond with the information and support they need.

Remember — each child is unique and will respond differently at each age and stage. The relationships between each parent and each child are also unique.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Conscious parenting

May 7, 2009

Be deliberate and intentional about the baggage we bring to our children’s upbringing.

As parents we often find ourselves doing the same things to our children as our parents did to us — including things we didn’t like when we were children.

That’s because we bring things from our own childhoods into our role as parents. Most of the time that’s fine, but sometimes it means we end up treating our children in ways that are negative and destructive.

Conscious parenting means becoming deliberate and intentional about what we want for our children. It means making choices about what we bring from our own childhoods, and what we choose to leave out.

One of the challenges to conscious parenting is the belief that parenting comes naturally—that it’s automatic and you should just know what to do. This belief doesn’t always allow us to learn from our own experiences, or from the experience of others.

Becoming conscious about parenting practice involves learning from what we do, and changing our behaviour as a result.  When you find something that works, add it to your parenting strategies—then start thinking about another area of parenting you could change.

Remember, parenting is a journey, not a destination, and for every journey you need to be prepared.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Talking and listening

May 6, 2009

Like all of us, children learn about the world through everyday conversations.

When we discipline our children, we need to make sure they understand the message.

Talk to your child as much as you can and listen to what they say to you.  Be realistic about what they can and can’t do. For example, you can’t expect a one year old to eat without making a mess, or a two year old to sit still for a long time.

To talk to your child successfully, attract their attention, direct their attention to the object or topic under question, and give a specific explanation about what you expect—and why.

Take time to think about how you communicate with your children.  How effective is it? What would you like to change? Select something you would like to change and work on it for a week.

You will be rewarded for your efforts!

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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