Posts Tagged parenting tips

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: Teach your children how to solve problems

May 8, 2009

Don’t try to solve problems for your children, but teach them how to solve problems themselves.

Conflicts are inevitable in children’s lives and therefore children should learn as early as possible how to problem solve. Unless a child is in danger, parents need to let the child try to figure out options to handle their problems. Our task as parents is to listen and not try to solve their problems for them.

To deal with these behaviors, a parent has a number of choices. The action of choice for most parents is punishment. My mom used to wash out our mouth with soap when we used “dirty” words. A second choice would be to reward or bribe a child to address the behavior. This would be a parent who says, “If you will pick up your toys, you can have some ice cream.” A third choice of parents would be to ignore the behavior and pretend it didn’t happen or to pick up the toys for the child to avoid a fight.

Punishment, although needed at times, runs the risk of damaging the parent/child relationship. Rewards set up the expectation that bad behavior has benefits and will not change unacceptable behavior, in fact, it may increase it. Denial and/or picking up after a child encourages irresponsibility, since the child does not experience the consequence of his behavior.

“Parent Effectiveness” author and psychologist Dr. Thomas Gordon teaches parents to use “I Messages” to deal with unacceptable behaviors. An “I Message” has four parts. The first component is a non-blameful description of the unacceptable behavior. The second part is the feelings of the parent. Third is the tangible concrete effect the behavior has on the parent and lastly, is a request to the child.

Here is an example of an “I Message.” Parent A is disturbed when the children fail to close the outside doors in the middle of the hot summer. Parent A takes the children outside to the electrical meter box and says to the children, “When the doors are left open (a non-blameful description of the problem), it causes the hand on this meter to turn more quickly and every time this hand makes a circle, it costs us money (tangible concrete effect). When we have to pay a large electrical bill, I am afraid (feelings) I will not have enough money to pay our bills and still have money for all the fun things we like to do. I need for both of you to remember to close the doors each time you come out or go in” (request).

Try an “I Message” this week as an alternative to punishment, reward or denial. See what happens!

Thanks to Dr. Bill Mitcham, the Director of The Marriage Maintenance Center in Davidson, North Carolina, USA 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: Set clear expectations

May 5, 2009

Set clear expectations for your child’s behaviour, and explain why you want them to behave that way.

By the age of one or two most children can understand more words than they can say. That means they can start to learn from the explanations you give them.

All of us can think of times when we have gained someone’s co-operation by providing them with an explanation.

Managing children’s behaviour is no different.  Explanations tell children what, why, or how.  Be clear about what you want your children to do—and what you don’t want them to do.

Explain to your child how their behaviour affects others, or why you want a request to be followed.

Reflect on a recent incident with your child, and what you said to them. Did you give a clear explanation? Did your child understand?  Did you behave in a way that maintained a warm relationship between the two of you?

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

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


Parenting Tip: Say YES more often

May 4, 2009

Create a safe learning environment where you can say “yes” more than “no” to your child, so they can explore, learn and develop their curiosity.

Your child is born to be curious. They need to experience the world through their senses. This develops learning pathways in their brain, which are the foundation for your child’s future learning.

It is important to create a safe “yes” environment for your child so they can explore freely and be curious without hurting themselves or others, or breaking precious things.

Thanks to the Ministry of Education’s Team-Up for today’s tip!

[Editor’s note: Of course, we’d like you to say YES too – on the upcoming referendum!]

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


Parenting Tip: Children see, children do

May 1, 2009

Children see, Children do.

Managing behaviour of kids doesn’t have to be a mystery. Stepping into their shoes and seeing the world from their eyes is often quite revealing. That could mean asking yourself why they might be doing what they’re doing and what your own behaviour is saying to them.

Children explore and experiment to find out about the world and their place in it.  They climb, taste, poke, jump, touch and ask a million questions to make sense of what’s around them and learn where their boundaries are.

Guiding all this exploration by making sure they stay safe and have plenty of new things to learn about means you’re helping them develop the skills and understanding they need for the years ahead.

Consistency is the key – always behave in the way you want your children to.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

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


Parenting Tip: Reward good behaviour

April 30, 2009

Take notice when your child behaves well, and reward them in a small way.

Much of the time kids misbehave, a large part of it is to attract attention.  Try though we will, most of us focus most intensely on our children when they’re behaving badly.  If we take the time to focus our attention on them when they’re not misbehaving then the won’t feel the need to be outrageous to get the attention they crave.  And when they go out of their way to be nice, be sure to give as much positive reinforcment to them as possible; reward them with praise, a hug, or a small treat in exceptional cases.  Result: better behaviour without the need for physical discipline.

Thanks to Dave Moskovitz for today’s tip!

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


Parenting Tip: Better sleep = better behaviour

April 29, 2009

Would you like your kids to behave better? Make sure they are getting enough sleep.

A recent Finnish study of 280 healthy children showed that children who slept the least were the most likely to display the kind of symptoms associated with ADHD.  The findings suggest that maintaining adequate sleep schedules among children is likely to be important in preventing behavioural symptoms… even an additional 30 minutes per night has been shown to give a major improvement in behaviour.

The Finnish study resonates with another recent study by the University of London which linked sleep problem in children to later emotional and behaviour difficulties.

Thanks to the team at for today’s parenting tip!

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

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