An important part of helping your child grow is to encourage them to play and explore their world and the first step is to make sure that their environment is safe and interesting. When environments are free of health hazards like sharp objects, cleaning supplies and uncovered electrical outlets both children and parents can relax and enjoy quality time together. As a parent you can create an interesting environment without having to spend a lot of money. By providing children with a variety of toys and crafts to play with, you keep your child busy and they are less likely to become bored and misbehave.2
Children need a supportive, nurturing environment in order to develop their skills. As a parent you can help create a positive learning environment by paying attention to your children. This doesn’t mean you have to be with them every minute but it’s important for your child to know you are there for them when they come to you for help or attention. There are many ways you can create a positive learning environment for your child including:
•spending short but frequent amounts of quality time with them;
•speak nicely to them;
•Ask them about their day and take time to listen to their stories;
•use descriptive praise by pointing out the actions that you liked and letting them know you appreciated it; and
•When your child comes to you with a question prompt them to talk about it and find the answer, instead of just telling them the answer. This is called incidental teaching.
Discipline plays an important role in a child’s emotional and social development. It can help children learn to accept rules, develop self-control, consider others when expressing their feelings, and take responsibility for their actions. Assertive discipline involves being consistent, acting quickly when children misbehave, and teaching them to behave in an acceptable manner. How parents deliver discipline plays a key role in how successful it can be. For example, when parents use strategies like preparing in advance, setting ground rules, giving clear calm instructions and praising good behavior, they are more likely to be successful than when they resort to yelling, name calling, threatening or spanking as forms of discipline. Assertive discipline works best when parents support each other and use the same approach.4
Children are all individuals with different personalities and even within the same age group they can develop at different rates. It’s important that you as the parent don’t expect more, or less, of your child than he or she is physically or intellectually able to do. For example, parents who expect that their children will always be polite, happy and cooperative or always neat and helpful are setting themselves up for disappointment and conflict with their children. If you are unsure whether your child is ready to learn a new skill, seek advice.5
Raising children can often feel like a full time job and it’s easy to get into a pattern of putting off your own personal needs. But parenting can actually be easier when you take the time to seek out peer support, companionship, intimacy, recreation and even time alone! If your own needs as an adult are being met, it’s much easier to be patient, consistent and available to your child. Some tips to help you take care of yourself include, balance work and family by having realistic expectations of yourself at work, when you are upset with your child take time to identify what negative things you might be saying to yourself and try to change those thoughts to more helpful ones, and work as a team with your partner by finding ways to back each other up.
All Content © 2013 Triple P.