Tips for Parents

A child’s parents have a huge impact on how the child behaves. While there are many parenting tips out there, each family has its own set of values and approaches to parenthood. It’s okay to throw some of the “best parenting advice” out the window and follow your instincts. Ultimately, how you raise your children will be more important than all of the parenting books and classes in the world.

Kids want to know that you love them, and nothing will make them feel more secure than a hug or words of praise. Even in the teen years, children need positive attention. Without it, they may seek out negative attention, which often leads to bad behaviors.

Parents must be willing to set firm boundaries and stick with them. If kids are misbehaving, it’s important to be calm and logical, not angry or yelling. If you can’t manage to calm down, try breathing exercises or repeating a calming mantra. It’s also helpful to remember that discipline is not punishment, but rather teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to be responsible.

It’s not easy to balance work, parenting and life, but it’s important to take care of yourself, too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to step back and ask for help or to put some of your obligations on hold. It’s also important to give yourself some time for fun. Whether that’s reading a book for an hour or having a game night with your kids, it’s important to spend some quality time together. Kids will likely remember those memories far more than any parenting lectures you’ve given them.

As kids grow, they’ll become more independent and need to be taught how to problem-solve. Having open, honest conversations is the best way to teach them this. Make it a point to talk with your kids regularly about their schoolwork, extracurricular activities and relationships. Having these open conversations will help them feel comfortable coming to you for help in the future.

Many kids are nervous about new situations, including a new classroom or school. If your child is anxious, rehearse heading into the new situation and make sure they are familiar with teachers or classroom rules before school begins. It’s also a good idea to reach out to other parents from last year’s class and set up play dates, carpools or a lunch group.

As the kids get older, they will need to learn to prioritize their responsibilities and juggle many demands on their time. To help them navigate these challenges, it’s a good idea to talk about what makes each family member happy. It can also be helpful to encourage them to log their emotions, so they can see which ones are most frequently triggered and how to avoid or cope with certain feelings. This will make them more self-aware and allow them to make better decisions as adults.