Parenting is such hard work. I know that every mother who is reading this wants to be a better parent. *I* want to be a better parent! Sometime it’s so difficult though to know how to do just that.
We all know the effects of good parenting (happier, better adjusted children), the problem though is knowing how to get there.
Instead of just giving you more good parenting principles though, I am going to give you five effective parenting tips that are actionable steps that you can take right now that will actually get you moving in the right direction, instead of wondering how to implement.
Let’s get started!
Effective Parenting Tips #1- Stop Fighting With Your Child
First of all, I’m not talking about big blow-up fights, I’m talking about bickering and power struggles here. You are the Mom, you get to make the rules.
There are two very important things to remember when you decide to stop fighting with your child.
1. Be a just and kind ruler. Do not just decide that a child must stop doing something without a good reason. Remember that your child is a person.
Let me give you an example of how this might look. Your child is singing a song from Moana for the 10th time in an hour, and it is driving you bonkers. Instead of just snapping at your child to stop singing, consider your child.
She loves singing. She loves Moana. Singing is making her so happy right now.
Instead of telling your child to stop, you get up and go in another room, or step outside, or put in some earbuds and listen to something else.
2. When you decide on something, explain yourself first (be proactive), explain your expectations, and then don’t argue.
Your child cannot argue with you if you don’t participate. If your explanation is not good enough, and the child will not drop it, a consequence is probably in order.
So, to recap, no more fighting.
Effective Parenting Tips #2- Stop Yelling At Your Child
Yelling and fighting are not the same thing. You may be yelling for two different reasons.
1. Your children are loud, and they cannot hear you, so you yell.
2. You are angry because your children either aren’t listening to you or because they are refusing to follow through with what was asked of them.
It’s time to change your mindset about yelling, Mama. Let’s think about this. What is yelling? It’s really a loss of self-control.
You don’t want to be a woman without self-control, do you?
If you were in an upscale boutique, would you yell? If you were in the middle of a restaurant, would you yell? Would you yell in church?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding no.
So if you have the self-control to moderate your volume in those situations, then you can summon the same self-control with your children, some of the most important people in your life.
You just need to change your mindset and decide that yelling at your children is just not acceptable.
Now, there are definitely times, as a mother of nine children, that I do need to raise my voice to get everyone’s attention. But, if I can help it, I find another way.
I have a whistle now, thanks to my sister, who is a lifeguard. I will also grab a wooden spoon and bang it on the counter a few times if I’m in the kitchen and my children turn into a mob.
But, sometimes, I just have to yell out “Hey! Everyone quiet down!”
The most important thing to remember is, don’t yell because you are angry or out of control. It damages your relationship with your children. It’s not one of the qualities of a good parent.
Effective Parenting Tips #3- Stay Consistent
One of the most important qualities of a good parent is consistency. Children crave consistency and order in their lives.
This covers everything from a daily schedule or routine to weekly activities, to the types of food they generally eat, right down to expectations set by parents.
A consistent life gives a child confidence, because they know what is coming next. They don’t have to constantly wonder and worry about their day. They know what will happen.
Consistent expectations, set by you, also give children a sense of stability. If your child knows that you expect him to clear off his dishes after dinner is over, and you always follow through and make sure that he meets your expectations, then you are teaching your child that you are a person of your word.
If you say no, and you mean no, and you enforce no, then your child knows that you mean what you say. This will carry over into other areas of your child’s life that have nothing to do with his behavior.
If your child has learned that you are consistent then he has learned that he can trust what you say. So if you say to him, “I’m proud of you”, it will actually mean something. Because he knows that you wouldn’t have said it if you didn’t mean it.
So if you are struggling with consistency, whether it’s a consistent schedule, or consistent expectations, let me just encourage you, start today.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Map out the order of your day, and follow through. It doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule. We follow routines in my house. But work on consistency. It will pay dividends.
Effective Parenting Tips #4-Spend Quality Time With Your Child
Another one of the most important ways to be a good parent is to spend quality time with your child. This may seem like a no-brainer, but why do we struggle with it so much?
Well, I guess we should define “quality time”. Quality time in my book means that I am not looking at my phone, or looking at my computer screen.
Quality time means that I am fully engaged in whatever it is I am doing with my child.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Or, maybe I do. Just because you are spending quality time with your child, that doesn’t mean that you are spending hours on end playing Legos or baking mud pies.
This is where you start to pull your child into your daily life, and not just interact with him in his world. I’m not saying to never play Legos with your child, we’ll actually discuss that for tip #5.
What I’m saying is, there’s no reason to keep your worlds separate. If you are working on laundry then get your child to help out. He can put wet clothes in the dryer as you hand them over (my 2 year old LOVES this!), my four year old folds dish towels, hand towels, and wash cloths for me, my daughters group socks together.
When I am cooking dinner, I will lift my four year old up on the counter and let him drop ingredients into the bowl for me, and my daughters and my 6-year old son love helping me chop vegetables or fruit.
Your chores and responsibilities don’t have to be a solitary effort. This is where you can get in more quality time. I’m not saying that your children need to be by your side constantly.
But it is an excellent idea to pull your children into your world and use that time to instruct them in something new, like talk to them, ask them questions, and build that relationship!
Will the jobs take longer? Almost certainly (until they get a little older between 7-9, then they will truly be helping you, which is A-mazing!). Will the job be done perfectly? Not likely. But that’s ok!
Your children are more important than perfectly folded towels, and symmetrical vegetables.
Building those connections with your children will let them know they are important and valued.
Pro tip: Praise your children for their hard work and genuinely thank them. This is the perfect opportunity to fill up their little love tanks.
Effective Parenting Tips #5- Learn Your Child’s Passions
Finally, in order to really know your child, you have to know what lights him up and makes him tick. You’ll win him as a friend and confidante forever if you show interest in what interests him.
Six of my children are involved in martial arts, they’ll be black belts next year. I do not go to class, however, my older sons really want me to learn to defend myself. I offered to let THEM teach me.
We spend 15 minutes a few times a week, and they teach me punches, kicks, blocks. Do I love it? No, not really. Do I love that my boys want to spend that time with ME? You betcha!
My girls love crafts, so I take them to Joann for some girl time. My little boys love their cars, so I will spend a few minutes playing cars with them, or reading them one of their favorite car books.
If you are having trouble figuring out things to do with your children, then here’s a few ideas to get you started. Try a bunch, and see what they enjoy the most.
- Play a video game
- Play a board game
- Read a fun book
- Play a game of PIG or HORSE
- Draw hopscotch on your driveway and show your kids how it’s done
- Put up a badminton net and kick some tail (I love badminton!!!)
- Bake cookies together (you don’t have to make this hard, even store bought cookie dough provides a fun experience!)
- Build a Lego wall (that’s the only thing I can build with Legos)
You don’t have to spend hours each day doing these things. Even just a 15 minute session is enough. But it’s nice to meet your children where they are and do the things they love to do.
Effective Parenting is not for the faint of heart, and it’s not for the lazy. Most of all it’s for the parents who love their kids enough to do right by them, even when it’s hard, and even when they don’t feel up to the task.
I know that you are one of those parents, because you are here. Don’t feel like you have to tackle this whole list at once. Start with one of my effective parenting tips, and then go from there.
Do you have any other effective parenting tips that you would like to share?