The fact that you want to improve your parenting suggests you're already a good parent. Use these tips to get even better.
- TIP: Child's play is serious business that involves learning how everything works and how to realize their dreams -- share their joy and wonder.
- Step 1: Express and demonstrate your appreciation for all they try to do, encouraging their creative attempts to stretch and learn about themselves.
- Step 2: Work to be an ideal role model. Children, like all of us, only believe and emulate behavior they can see from their parents -- practice what you preach.
- FACT: According to an British study tracking nearly 19,000 children, at age 5, those who were read to every day were ahead 2.4 months in math and 2.8 months in communication and language, versus those whose parents never read to them.
- Step 3: Adapt to each child's needs. Make time to be available to them, following their lead in games. Observe and learn who they are, what they like, and how best to reach them.
- Step 4: Communicate directly with eye contact, keeping in mind the child's limited attention span, and make it short. Before reacting when they don't follow instructions, check in and have them repeat the message they understood.
- Step 5: Explain reasons for consequences after setting a limit. Ease these as the child earns trust or achieves an age of more independence.
- TIP: Don't forget to make learning fun. Keep your sense of humor and be prepared for them to surprise you.
- Step 6: Coordinate expectations and set rules with the other parent, and don't undermine their authority. Children have to rely on clear expectations.
- Step 7: Ensure predictability and security for the children in a cooperative and loving environment through basic disciplines and scheduling. A firm daily dinner time for everyone and regular family activities bond the parent to the child.