21 Practical tips for parents


Experts are always telling us how to bring up our kids, but surely we parents know a thing or two? Here are some tips from ordinary parents – in their own words – giving their tried (or is that tired?!) and tested techniques on a range of parenting ‘challenges’.

Read, try out some of the suggestions with your own children, share with your friends. The advice is from parents of children of all ages. It makes an interesting read :) Even if one piece of advice can make daily life with your children easier and happier, it’s worth a read! My favourite is the bath time one, I love the idea of washing worries away – it’s deeply symbolic.

Parenting, a journey of discovery

  1. Keep twenty marbles in a container. Add a marble for a child’s good behaviour and take one away for unacceptable behaviour. At the end of the week, if there are more than twenty marbles; turn these into rewards, such as more pocket money or weekend treats.
  2. At the end of bath time, we mix up all my daughter’s “worries” in the bath water and while the water is draining away, I ask what worries are going down the plughole. It gives us the chance to talk things over and allows her niggling worries to be ‘washed away’.
  3. Put a low-wattage red light in a lamp in your baby’s room. This way when he or she wakes for a feed it’ll still be fairly dark but you’ll be able to see – and your baby will stay calm.
  4.  Try not to tell your children they can’t do something without explaining why. I often say to my children: “I’m not telling you off, I’m teaching you.”
  5.  Get pre-schoolers to join swimming lessons the term before they start school. It’s a way of getting them used to being in a new class, listening to instructions and meeting other kids.
  6.  Give your teenagers a monthly allowance. I give my daughter £60 per month which she’s in charge of, so she doesn’t ask for money and she thinks twice before spending.
  7. My daughter wouldn’t sleep at night. So with my son I decided not to pick him up all the time and accept his cries. I sat next to his cot reading a book and, by four months, he slept right through.
  8.  Get rid of the dummy and start talking to your children from the moment they’re born. Early communication is a great way of reducing all the tears and tantrums when you make simple requests later on.
  9. Establish routine. With all my children I’ve adopted the same bedtime routine – a bath at 6pm, followed by a feed in a darkened room and, for the older children, a story with Mum or Dad. They have all slept from a few weeks for 11 to 12 hours a night.
  10. Shop online when you’re a new mum so you don’t have to drag a screaming baby around the shops.
  11. If you have more than one child, devote 10 minutes exclusive ‘special time’ to each child every night. Let them choose the activity you can both get involved in. It’s great for bonding.

Happy parents raise happy kids Explain in advance to your toddler what he's going to be doing in the next few hours. For instance, when he gets up, tell him you're going downstairs for breakfast and then getting ready to go to nursery. That way your day runs more smoothly.

12.  Keep some cleaned savoy cabbage leaves in the bottom of the fridge for when your breasts feel sore. Put them inside your bra – they feel wonderfully cooling next to irritated skin.

13.  Have a sleep every time you put your baby down for a nap. That way you won’t feel shattered all day and can still get things done.

14.  Don’t waste time feeling guilty – chances are you’re doing your best;)

15.  Don’t throw away parenting magazines – cut out the baby faces and paste them on a board near your baby’s changing station. Charlie still smiles and coos at his baby ‘friends’, which makes changing him so much easier.

16.  Don’t give kids the chance to get hungry or grumpy. We rarely manage to eat together during the week but I still cook for four and put two portions aside for the kids to eat the next evening.

17.  Buy orange or green jumper-style bibs to disguise stains.

18.  Try not to stress too much. Sleeping through the night, potty training, eating well and so on will all happen eventually. The more you worry about it, the more they will resist.

19.  Keep your own pencil case with pencils, crayons, rubbers and sharpeners ready for homework, so you’re not scrabbling around when you get in from work looking for the right pencils for the writing and colours for the drawings.

20.  When learning spelling, write each word out on an A4 sheet of paper and stick them all around the house. Get your child to run around the house finding each word and repeating it. It helps them learn the spellings very quickly

21. And when things are difficult, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Happy parenting.

Photograph courtesy of  http://koa.com/

 

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