Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parenting Pointers

A few weeks ago I was having a hard time remembering all the things I'm supposed to be doing to be an awesome Mom.  So I jotted down some bullet points from my parenting classes and taped them up on the kitchen wall.  I meant to share them here for Mother's Day, but was too busy having an awesome time by myself at the outlet mall (thanks to my husband for allowing me to take off for 7 hours--the best Mother's Day present I could have asked for!). 

I hope some (or all) of the following points are helpful:

  • Be a role model
  • Act more and talk less
  • Love the kids when they least deserve it because that's when they need it the most
  • Appreciate and acknowledge effort
  • Kids love being useful so put them to work
  • Be firm but friendly
  • Ask kids for their ideas
  • Make time to play
  • Set the stage for success
  • Actively listen to them
  • Mistakes are OK--it's how we learn
  • Connection then correction
  • Encourage, encourage.  Not praise, praise.
  • Explain "when...then..."  For instance, "when you finish cleaning your room, then we can go to the park."
  • Set limits and don't back down under pressure
  • Train kids so they can be involved.  Teach them responsibility
  • Use a timer (like setting your cell phone alarm to go off when it's time to leave the park)
  • Use reverse psychology
  • Be more playful--make a joke to diffuse the tension
  • Respect each other
  • Let kids make choices
  • Explain "either...or..." For instance, "either you wear the blue sweater or the green one.  Your choice."
  • Discipline, not punishment
  • Be more specific so they can replicate the action in the future.  For instance, "I noticed that..."
  • Focus on the process, not the final product
  • See things from their point of view and recognize their feelings
  • Smiles, hugs, and kisses go a long way
  • Stand back and don't rush in to rescue them
  • Don't hold a grudge
  • Simplify the kids environment
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Plan ahead so things can go smoothly
  • Allow kids to experience the natural consequences of their actions
  • Redirect attention
  • Allow time for transitions
  • Anticipate and prepare for difficult situations
  • Stick to the routine
  • Do not blow your stack when kids try to engage you in a battle--lead by example
  • Have the courage to be imperfect
I'd like to thank to Parent Encouragement Program in Kensington, Maryland for helping me realize the benefits of every single one of the above bullet points.  While it is impossible to do all these things at once, it sometimes helps to work on a few things every week.  I'm told that eventually it becomes second nature, although I am still eagerly anticipating that day. Until then, I'll just keep trying.

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