Raising your children right is a big responsibility. If you’re just a littlebit like me, I bet you’ve thought more than once: “If only kids came with a guidebook!” – I certainly have!
Raising your child to be happy, healthy, self-confident and responsible depends on a number of influencing factors. These factors include exposing them to a life that makes them want to be those things, providing continued support and guidance and letting them make mistakes. And being a role model!
In this article I have compiled a list of 10 surprisingly simple steps that will help you level up your parenting within just one week or less. In fact, when a friend of mine just recently actively incorporated these into his parenting, he could see a big improvement in his relationship with his kids in just 3 days! Sounds too good to be true? Let’s see…
10 Surprisingly Simple Steps To Parenting Young Children
Kids learn through example. Right from the start, they assimilate language from listening to us and they learn social skills by mimicking us. This is why the influences we expose them to, throughout their childhood – both our own and that of others – is so important when it comes to building lifelong values.
In this article, I have listed some of the important factors that can help us influence our children positively. The source information for this came from the writings of Carl E. Pickardt Ph.D., a Psychologist who has written 15 parenting books, who is a Father of 4 and Grandfather of 3 from Austin, Texas.
Step 1 – Appreciation
No matter how small the achievement, be quick and thorough in encouraging for anything well done. This can range from something as small as your child remembering to wash their hands after visiting the bathroom to learning to write their first words. Encouragement stimulates a child to want to repeat the behavior as naturally, they like receiving your approval.
Criticism, on the other hand, discourages your child from trying. It will undermine their confidence quickly, lowering their self-esteem. Giving supportive feedback is okay, showing them how something could be done in a different way to make it easier or to produce a better result, for example. But never tell them they did a bad job. A kid that is scared to fail won’t try new things.
Step 2 – Problem Solving
Always encourage your child to develop their abilities. Let them learn that by setting themselves small challenges they can often achieve great things. Learning to ride a bike is a good example of this. Your child will start out with training wheels and gradually the wheels can be raised until eventually they are removed altogether.
It can be scary to see your young son or daughter try out new things for the first time, particularly if there is a small element of danger involved. But this is how they learn their most valuable life lessons. They quickly understand that no matter how scary or difficult something appears to be, they can conquer it.
When your child does try something new, like playing an instrument or trying a new sport, it can take time for them to master the necessary skill. Be sure to praise and support all their effort to encourage them in their endeavors.
Step 3 – Let Kids be Kids
Many parents seem to want their tiny tot to have the same standards as an adult. This is wrong and damaging to a child’s development.
Don’t expect your children to have the same understanding of social etiquette as an adult. Instead of a reprimand, explain to them why their behavior is not acceptable for the situation they are in. Explain how it affects you and other people. This is how children learn respect for themselves and others.
And allow your kids as much time as possible to play! PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!!!
Step 4 – Curiosity
It is natural for a child to be curious. They are often full of questions, which can become rather tiring at times. But to spark the desire of learning in them at a young age is really valuable.
A friend told me about his daughter, aged 4, who asked how the car engine worked. He wasn’t sure how to answer her at first but quickly decided that despite her young age, he would give her a proper, if somewhat simplified, explanation.
This was exactly the right thing to do. He encouraged her curiosity. In fact, he could have taken this even further and shown her simple illustrated pictures when they got home or taken a look at the car engine together. Kids are never too young to start learning about things we think of as complex if they have an interest in the subject.
By answering your child’s questions, you will provide them with an edge at school, because your child will be used to taking in information from you and will be able to adapt that to taking it in from their teacher. The result will be that they will learn faster and more easily than their classmates.
Step 5 – Mistakes
When we make a mistake, it can often be a powerful way to learn as you don’t want to make the same mistake again. This is the same for a child. It’s totally okay for your kid to mess up every so often, as it is part of being human. No one is perfect or should ever be expected to be.
Your kids shouldn’t fear failure and, provided they learn from it, it is a positive thing. It’s totally okay to ask them what they learned if you do it in the right way. You ask them “Is that what you wanted to happen?” Hopefully, they will admit to the mistake and say “no.” You can then ask, “What has that taught you?” When they give you a response, praise it and perhaps offer alternative solutions for them to also think about.
Step 6 – Adversity
Life simply isn’t fair. In reality, it is generally hard and you can only protect your child from this fact for so long.
When something happens that your child finds unjust or difficult to cope with, you can explain how having these experiences makes them a stronger person. Explain that throughout life they will experience setbacks that they will need to overcome. Ask them to tell you how they are going to deal with the difficulty and hopefully resolve it. It is okay to offer additional solutions, but ask your child to tell you theirs first.
Step 7 – Teach Them Your Skills
While they are young, you are your child’s hero. They are sponges eager to learn all they can from you. Your attitude towards them and other people shows them how to think, speak and act. This is why it is essential to set a good example and be a worthy role model to them.
If you enjoy cooking or have a hobby, let them get involved. It will bring both of you a great deal of joy and help to further cement your lifelong bond.
What I’m trying to say is: Don’t be afraid to share YOUR passion with them!
Step 8 – Help and support
Don’t try to solve all of your child’s problems. I’m serious! Don’t!
It is fine to be there to support them and to offer further advice when you are asked for it.
But by always jumping in to defend them, you will not be helping them. Children have to learn to fight their own battles and take responsibility for their own actions. This will make them independent, confident and responsible.
Step 9 – Provide Some Real Education
It is a very sad thing that today so many children become addicted to an artificial stimulus such as computer games at younger and younger ages. They live in an artificial world with artificial values and learn none of the skills required to survive in the real world.
Be your child’s savior and provide them with activities and interests that are real and will help them live happy and meaningful lives. People need to communicate with people, face to face, not from behind a computer screen. They need to learn real-life skills and keep their bodies active.
Step 10 – Rules
Kids like to know the rules, but the rules must be consistent and they must be fair. It is completely natural for kids to break the rules from time to time and to test their boundaries.
However, rules should never be ends in themselves. By explaining the reason behind rules, children often see why they are necessary and they are much more likely to accept them. Give it a try. And: If you can’t come up with a reason for a rule, don’t question your kid! Question the rule and kick it if it turns out to be unnecessary 🙂
One of the most important rules in our family is to always be honest. Find out why it is our #1 rule here!
I think you will agree that this is all great stuff to keep in mind. I’ll be sure to make sure I put this into practice with Benni.
Now it’s your turn! What do you feel is the most important tip I’ve listed above? Do you already incorporate it? What is the biggest challenge that you face day in and day out with your children and how do you tackle it? Did I miss something important? If you have anything to add to this story, please let me know in the comment section below! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Thanks for reading, I hope you come back again soon!
P.S.: If you REALLY want to level up your parenting skills and get rid of all the power struggles that can stand between our kids and us as moms or dads, then make sure to read my FULL REVIEW of “Positive Parenting Solutions” HERE.