11 Parenting Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

How your grandparents raised your parents and how your parents raised you are probably very different from raising your children. It is clear that technology and, more recently, COVID are important reasons why parenting styles have changed.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore past parenting strategies. Whether you’re expecting, have a baby, toddler or young child, you can benefit from some of the classic parenting tips that your older friends and family have used and scientists endorse. You will wish you had known them earlier.

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11 Time-Tested Parenting Tips

Don’t think of past parenting tips as rusty relics. Instead, look at them as proven strategies to make your life and the lives of your child and your family more manageable, healthier and happier. Not sure where to start? Check out 11 of the best, proven tips we’ve found.

1. Introduce them to the library

Children in Library
Take your children to children’s programs at libraries to develop their love of reading and broaden their interest in the world.
Anita Jankovic/Unsplash

At one time, a child’s first trip to the library was something akin to a right of passage. This has changed in recent decades as library use has declined. Good news though. The increasing number of children’s programs at libraries has brought children and their parents back into the fold.

Do you want your children to enjoy going to the library rather than roll their eyes and dread it? Make the visits fun. Parents suggest that you teach your child how to obtain and use a library card, show them how to find books (perhaps the written version of movies they enjoyed), and of course choose shows for them to attend. live

Another tip: Make library visits a regular part of your child’s week. Do this by visiting multiple branches, so kids can find different books, enjoy a variety of programs, and a variety of librarians. Why try? Well, library visits increase children’s interest in reading and broaden their interests. Libraries are also quiet places to relax.

Plus, everything is free. What don’t you like?

2. Set a routine

Children and routine
A daily schedule for children encourages family normalcy.
Vitolda Klein/Unsplash

Above we told you to make library visits a regular part of children’s weeks. But now, especially since COVID has led to homeschooling and hybrid programs for many children, a regular daily schedule is a must, many parents say. This is because it instills normality, reduces stress and encourages productivity.

Also, don’t think you have to wait until kids are pre-teens or older to establish solid routines. Even toddlers can follow picture schedules that you create with them. Encourage older children to combine words and pictures for the daily schedule.

3. Develop Ground Rules

Children need discipline
Setting firm ground rules and using firm discipline helps children develop into more respectful, productive adults.

A daily routine is ideal for children, but not without a few ground rules. It sounds silly, but the first rule of thumb is to follow the schedule. You don’t have to follow it like you’re in the military – some wiggle room is essential – but try to be as consistent as reasonable.

Another idea for ground rules could involve the library. As we suggested above, if you take your children there, make sure your children understand that they must be quiet, treat books with respect, and interact politely with the library staff and other patrons. When setting such rules and limits, be sure to explain the reasons to children. Ground rules will eventually lead them to habits that make them more respectful, courteous and kind adults.

4. Eat dinner as a family

Family Dinner
Family meals allow children to discuss challenges. That communication can increase children’s vocabulary, lower risks of obesity and even lower risks of pregnancy.
The National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

No, it’s not just something fictional from 1960s TV shows. Parents say that getting everyone together for dinner helps bond family members, encourages everyone to eat healthier and can even help kids get better grades. Why? Positive family interaction allows children to express themselves and find solutions to challenges.

The Family Dinner Project, part of Massachusetts General Hospital, even reports that benefits for children can include a greater sense of resilience, a lower risk of substance abuse, lower chances of teenage pregnancy and even strengthening vocabulary.

5. Don’t constantly save children from failure

Child failure
Allowing children to fail increases learning and self-reliance.
Annie Spratt/Unsplash

You’ve heard of the “everyone gets a trophy” culture. His cousin may be the “my child will not fail” syndrome. You know how it works. Your child forgets to write a book report or science fair project, and you rush in to save the day. This might involve running to the store for supplies, giving kids an oral summary of the book they should have read, or, heck, maybe even ghostwriting the report.

Stop. Allowing children to fail not only teaches them a sense of responsibility, but according to an article in Scientific American, helps children learn from their mistakes and can increase their self-reliance.

6. Limit Praise

Praise children
It is wise to praise children for specific actions rather than showering them with constant praise.
Nataliya Vaitkevich/Unsplash

Of course you love your child and think they are perfect. But too many parents tell their children everything they do is excellent. This can give your child an inflated sense of ego. Rather than throwing a party when your child does something appropriate, wait for a specific act before giving praise.

“Good for you, finishing your homework early” or “Thanks for hanging up your clothes” are two types of praise.

Praise naturally increases children’s self-confidence, but specific praise also teaches children positive behavior and values.

Tip: Make sure your words are sincere, but not exaggerated.

7. Realize you are your child’s role model

Role models
You are the most important role model in your children’s lives, so your kindness, honesty and integrity are essential.
Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash/Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is a phrase that parents have used for centuries. But now most researchers say that the opposite is true. In fact, some scientists note that children who frequently act out in anger or aggression model their behavior after their parents.

Nobody is perfect, of course, but it’s smart to try to be on your best behavior as often as possible. Show patience, act honestly, be neighborly and otherwise stay as positive as possible. Again, no one is perfect. But when you slip, explain to children why your actions were inappropriate.

8. Talk to your children

Talk to children
Daily chats with children help develop their conversational skills and allow you to tune in to their challenges and interests.
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

No, we don’t mean telling them to put away their toys and wash their hands. Of course you do. Parents say it is wise to talk to children about their lives every day. A good rule of thumb is to ask three questions such as “Who is your best friend at school?” or “What was the best thing you learned in school today?” or “Are there any sports you want to try?”

Such conversations teach children conversational skills. These opportunities also allow you to learn more about your children to support their interests and challenges.

Encourage your parents and other family members to connect with the children as well.

9. Limit screen time

Children and screen time
Limiting children’s screen time has many benefits, including improving concentration and lowering body weight.
Erik Mclean/Unsplash

Of course, screens are an essential part of modern life, but research shows that overuse has many negative results, including lower grades, poor social skills and even weight gain.

One step is to keep TVs out of children’s bedrooms and into your family or living room. This way you can monitor how often children watch. But what about computers and phones? Also set limits on it. The World Health Organization recommends screen times for children including: No screens for children two and under; one hour a day for children aged two to five, and two hours for children aged five to 18.

10. Don’t skimp on sunblock

Children and Sun
Put sunscreen on your children every day to prevent skin damage and sunburn.
Feri & Tasos/Unsplash

You make sure you bathe your child. You shampoo their hair. You make sure they brush their teeth, and their clothes are clean. You are attuned to their daily hygiene, right?

Well, while we think these are important points, you should also put sunscreen on children over six months of age every day. Some parents recommend keeping it near their toothbrush so you don’t forget to put it on them.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association also recommends that you keep children in sun-protective clothing, keep babies in the shade, and apply water-resistant SPF 30 or more to all of your child’s skin not covered by sun-protective clothing. Doing so prevents sunburn and eventually even skin cancer.r

11. Abandon the Helicopter

Children swimming
You want to keep a close eye on your children without suffocating them.
Janko Ferlič/Unsplash

You want to protect your children, but don’t suffocate them. Of course, you will watch them when they are in the water and otherwise in potentially dangerous situations. For example, insist that they tell you where they are going and with whom. But also let them have some freedom, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., author of “10 Basics of Good Parenting,” told Metro Parent.

Freedom is essential for older children. If you see them struggling with something small, like an argument with a friend, back off. Have them communicate regularly with teachers, potential employers and older family members. As we said above, a few mistakes help them grow and learn.

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