Words of wisdom come from all directions. The below list includes My Favorite Pieces of Parenting Advice compiled from friends near and dear to me. I have a Type A personality. I overthink everything in life. I care a lot, probably too much, and I try really, really hard pretty much all the time. It is exhausting!
I am taking a child development class, and, along with new and exciting experiences every day with our 28-month-old and our 9-month-old, subsequently my mind is going nuts (in a good way) thinking about development and parenting.
So I decided to jot down a list of parenting advice that I hold near and dear to me at this juncture. I wrote them down to organize my thoughts (because that is the type of person I am) and to gently remind myself of a few simple words that may just make some days go by a bit smoother.
My Favorite Parenting Advice That Wasn’t Rude
With that said, I decided why not share these tidbits with you all.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Be kind (in tone) yet firm with your words of discipline and hugs are always good
- Hours and days may seem long but the years are short
- Leading by example is powerful – children respond better to modeling than to verbalizing behavior
- Ask yourself – Is this mountain the one you want to die on?
- Consistency is key across caretakers and approach
- Choices are good – gives children a sense of ownership, independence and “empowerment”. Choice of what to wear, if your child won’t sit down to eat dinner, saying something like, “you can eat dinner, read books and go to bed or you can go straight to bed. It is your choice.” You can apply that last one in a number of situations. One of my favorites.
- Immediate and direct feedback, whether positive or negative, is always best
- The trade is key with teaching the concept of “sharing” and “negotiating” – avoid the “distraction” approach
- Follow through with your words – if I threaten to leave the playground, then I have to leave. If I tell him he can watch his favorite show after dinner, then I follow through
- Don’t interfere too early – see if the children can work it out themselves. Conflict resolution is a skill far too many of us lack so do yourself and your children a favor. If you have to guide them to use words to describe their emotions. For example, instead of screaming at each other, teach your child to say, “It makes me upset when you do X. Will you please stop doing X? Thank you.” I am trying this every day with my 28 month old. It is amazing the progress these little ones make on such a profound concept and skill.
- Be friends with your children later in life
- Don’t do for them what they can do for themselves. Even at two years old I have found this list is long. He can help load the washing machine, the dishwasher and set the table. With a stool he can put his own dishes in the sink. The best part? He feels really good about helping out.
- Positive is best – instead of saying, “no you can’t have a cookie”, acknowledge and say “you would rather have a cookie to eat now and not your dinner. you may have a cookie after you eat your dinner.” or instead of saying, “do you want to go to bed early?” say “do you want to choose and read stories with dad after dinner? then please help pick up your things and set the table.” One other trick I’ve been using that works well if my boys are acting out is to say “Am I going to have to give you a Tickle Torture?” That usually gets a giggle and the behavior stops. Positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement never works in my experience.
I’d love to hear your words of wisdom. I am still new at this parenting thing. Some of you have loads more experience than me so please send your words my way.