A good parent is one who strives to make decisions in the best interest of the child.
What makes a good parent is defined not only by their actions, but also by their intent.
A good parent does not have to be perfect.
No one is perfect.
No child is perfect either – keeping this in mind is important when setting our expectations.
Parenting can sometimes seem like a series of experiments that test your patience, resilience, and emotional bandwidth.
Familiarizing yourself with different parenting styles and techniques will give you the skills you need to best meet each challenge.
Whether you’ve been a parent for a long time and long for a change, or you’re full of drive and want to hit the ground running, positive parenting techniques can benefit children and families at all stages.
Just remember that no matter how prepared you feel, mistakes and missteps will happen – and that’s okay, because you’re only human and doing your best!
To help you do your best, we’ve put together this guide that covers the basics of positive reinforcement parenting and some proven positive parenting tips.
1. Be a good role model
Don’t just tell your child what to do.
We are programmed to copy the actions of others in order to understand them and adopt them into our own.
Children, especially, watch everything their parents do.
So be the person you want your child to be – respect your child, show positive behavior and attitude, show empathy for your child’s feelings – and your child will do the same.
2. Don’t try to fix everything
Give young children a chance to find their own solutions.
When you lovingly acknowledge the child’s small frustrations without immediately intervening to save them, you teach them self-confidence and resilience.
3. Encourage time with the father
The greatest untapped resource for improving our children’s lives is time with their father – early and often.
Children with engaged fathers do better in school, solve problems more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.
4. Play with your children
Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules.
Just go with the flow and have fun.
That is the essence of play.
5. Always tell the truth
You want your child to behave that way, don’t you?
6. Respect different parenting styles
Support your spouse’s basic approach to parenting – unless it is completely inappropriate.
Criticizing or arguing with your spouse will do more harm to your partnership and your child’s sense of security than accepting standards that differ from your own.
7. Give yourself a break
If you’re too tired to cook, that doesn’t make you a bad mother.
8. Schedule special times each day
Let your child choose an activity where you are together for 10 or 15 minutes without interruption.
There is no better way to show your love.
9. Remember that discipline is not punishment
Boundary enforcement is really about teaching children how to behave in the world and helping them become competent, caring and confident.
10. Do not accept disrespect from your child
Never allow him to be rude or say hurtful things to you or others.
If he does, tell him emphatically that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.
11. Share your plan
Ask your child’s other caregivers – your partner, grandparents, daycare provider, babysitter – to help you reinforce the values and behaviors you want to teach.
This includes everything from saying “thank you” to being kind to not whining.
12. Take Responsibility
Children crave boundaries to help them understand and cope with an often confusing world.
Show your love by setting boundaries so your children can safely explore and discover their passions.
13. Talk about what it means to be a good person
Start early: For example, when reading bedtime stories to your child, ask if the characters are mean or nice and explore why.
14. Show your child how to become a responsible citizen
Find ways to help others throughout the year.
Children gain a sense of self-worth when they volunteer in the community.
15. Keep sunscreen next to your child’s toothpaste
Apply it every day as part of the morning routine.
It will become as natural as brushing your teeth.
16. Choose your rules
Children can’t handle too many rules without completely shutting down.
Forget about fighting over little things like clothing choices and occasional potty expressions.
Focus on the things that really matter – that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.
17. Kiss and hug your partner in front of the children
Your partnership or marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like.
So it is your job to set a good example.
18. Keep putting a dish on the table
If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope.
You may have to offer it six, eight, or even ten more times before he eats it and decides he likes it.
19. Enjoy the moments
Yes, parenting is the most exhausting job on the planet.
Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry is piling up, and the dog needs to be walked.
But your child just laughed.
Enjoy it now – it will be over way too quickly.
20. Don’t raise a spoiled child
Keep this thought in mind: every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe.
Raise it accordingly.
21. Don’t clip your child’s wings
Your toddler’s mission in life is to become independent.
So if he is developmentally capable of putting away his toys, clearing his plate, and dressing himself, let him.
Giving a child responsibility is good for their self-esteem.
22. Have your children vaccinated?
Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and around the world.
23. Protect your child from excessive technology use
Pay special attention to exposure to violent media.
24. Put your baby to bed sleepy but still awake
This will help your child learn to rock himself to sleep and prevent bedtime problems later on
25. Listen to the doctor
If your pediatrician thinks your child’s fever is caused by a virus, don’t push antibiotics.
The best medicine is rest, plenty of fluids, and a little attention.
Prescribing too many antibiotics for your child can cause medical problems and increase the risk of developing superbugs that are immune to treatment.
26. Allow your children to make an order
Once a week, let your children choose what to have for dinner and cook it for them.
27. Avoid fights over food
A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat.
If he refuses to finish the food on his plate, just leave it.
It will not starve.
28. Leave the TV in the family room
Research has repeatedly shown that children who have a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, have lower grades, and have poorer social skills.
29. Get kids moving
Recent research shows that infant brain development is related to their activity level.
Put your baby on his or her stomach several times a day, let your toddler go for a walk instead of riding in a stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.
30. Set up a gratitude circle every night at dinner
Go around the table and take turns talking about the different people who have been generous and kind to you that day.
It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.
31. Teach your children this courage trick
Tell them to always pay attention to the color of a person’s eyes.
Eye contact helps a hesitant child appear more confident and helps a child be more confident and less likely to be teased.
32. Say “I love you” whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day
You simply cannot spoil a child with too many loving words and too many smooches.
33. Teach your baby sign language
Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to say a lot of things.
Using simple signs, you can tell what he needs and how he feels before he finds the words to tell you.
34. Protect the smile
Encouraging your child to brush his or her teeth twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will prevent tooth decay.
35. Explain to your children why values are important
The answer is simple: being kind, generous, honest and respectful makes those around you feel good.
Even more important, however, is that you feel good about yourself.
36. Be vigilant about security
Thoroughly secure your home, and never leave children under 5 alone in the bathtub.
Make sure car seats are properly installed, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter.
37. Create warm memories
Your children probably won’t remember everything you say to them, but they will remember the family rituals – like bedtimes and game nights – that you do together.
38. Recognize the right time for toilet training
Watch for these two signs that your child is ready to go potty: He senses he needs to pee and poop (that’s different from knowing he’s already gone), and he’s asking for a diaper change.
39. Read books together every day
Start doing this as a newborn; babies love to hear their parents’ voices.
Snuggling with your child with a book is a great bonding experience between you and your child, setting them up for a lifetime of reading.
40. Acknowledge your child’s strong feelings
When your child gets over his emotional outburst, ask him:
“How did that feel?”
“What do you think would make it better?”
Then listen to him.
It will be easier to recover from a tantrum if you let him talk it out.
41. Ask your children three “you” questions every day
The art of conversation is an important social skill, but one that parents often neglect.
Ask your child:
“Did you have fun at school?”,
“What did you do at the party you went to?”
“Where would you like to go tomorrow afternoon?”
42. Remember what grandmothers always say
Children are not yours; they are only lent to you for a time.
Do your best during these fleeting years to help them grow into good people.
43. Just say “no.”
Resist the urge to take on extra responsibilities at the office or become the volunteer queen at your child’s school.
You will never regret spending more time with your children.
44. Give appropriate praise
Instead of just saying, “You’re great,” try describing exactly what your child did to earn the positive feedback.
For example, you might say, “You waited until I was off the phone to ask for cookies, and I loved that you were so patient.”
45. Fess up when you mess up
This is the best way to show your child how and when to apologize.
46. Live a little more environmentally conscious
Show your kids how easy it is to do something for the environment.
Waste less, recycle, reuse, and save every day.
Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.
47. Eat at least one meal together with your family every day
Sitting down at the table together is a relaxing way for everyone to connect with each other – a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke.
It also helps your children develop healthy eating habits.
48. Praise the good things
When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let them know how you feel.
This is a good way to reinforce good behavior so that he or she is more likely to keep doing it.
49. Trust your gut feeling as a mother
No one knows your child better than you do.
Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being.
If you think something is wrong, you’re probably right.
50. Gossip about your children
The fact is that what we overhear is much more effective than what we are told directly.
Make praise more effective by “catching” your child whispering compliments about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy bear.