25 Parenting Tips
Do you second-guess your parenting choices?
Are you worried that you are parenting “wrong”?
It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure as a parent. But it’s important to know you’re not alone and there is no perfect parenting recipe!
Quick fixes or “one-size-fits-all” solutions do not exist when it comes to parenting. A lot of the time wearing the parent hat feels like a guessing game. Every day it seems like we get bombarded with a million tasks and twice as many decisions!
We hope we choose “right” with each decision we make.
Parenthood is messy, joyful, and confusing all at the same time. While there are no perfect words of wisdom, the more we can rely on the insight and experiences of others, the more equipped we can feel.
In this article we hope you will find some new parenting ideas. Our goal is to leave you feeling more confident and connected with your child. Plus, you might realize you’re already weaving many of these parenting tips into the fabric of your life.
Here are 25 helpful tips for parents wanting to best support and care for their children.
1. Make Reading Together a Habit
Reading is excellent for intellectual curiosity, imagination and bonding time! Reading with your child will help you build your relationship with one another. Cuddle up with your child and read to them each night.
A parent’s voice is reassuring and soothing to a child.
Reading also allows you to model strong reading skills, speech, and vocabulary. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that reading to your child can, “strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships.”
Some people think reading with your child is only appropriate when they’re young. While your child will one day outgrow bedtime stories, reading together can still be a positive experience. As your child learns to read, you might even take turns reading a story.
Reading together can be a lifelong habit! As your child grows older, you can continue to read together. Be sure to lead by example. Inspire your child to read into adolescence, the teen years, and beyond by committing to a reading practice yourself.
Your child will respond to your actions more than your words. When your child sees you participating in reading, you show that you value reading. This communicates to your child that learning is a lifelong practice, and sets a good example.
2. Don’t Fix Everything
As parents, we often want to shield our children from hurt and the pains of the world. While this is a natural instinct, there are times when it is best to allow your child to make a mistake, experience a negative consequence, or even fail at something.
If we protect children from every “bad” experience, we deprive them of the opportunity to learn and develop resilience. It is important to remind kids that challenges are a natural part of life. They help develop our character and growth mindset.
Work with your child to develop coping strategies. Be sure to talk through the challenges they encounter. This can help them feel less alone and strengthen their confidence.
They will learn that they can bounce back from any setback they encounter. It is key that your child knows a mistake does not define who they are and that they can bounce back from any setback they encounter.
3. Enforce Boundaries
Despite what every fiber of your being may be telling you, saying “No” to your child won’t traumatize them. Stand firm on what is and is not acceptable behavior. Children will respect their parents more when boundaries are clear, kind, and consistent. Clear expectations help your child develop a feeling of security and safety. This is key as they learn to navigate their day-to-day routines.
Make sure your expectations are clear. Name them, and the reason why. Often parents will express the sentiment, “you KNOW better than to do that!” But often children may NOT understand what they did wrong or why it is a problem. Take the time to level with them and explain.
Of course, healthy, predictable boundaries are helpful at home. And, they can also spill out into the world in a positive way. When you set clear boundaries at home, it helps in public too.
Boundaries will teach your child to meet expectations and understand how to work with others. They will be able to meet expectations in a variety of settings. These can include settings such as at school or the playground. So, you can feel confident your child will make wise choices even when you aren’t around.
4. Create Rituals
Maya Angelou said it best in this famous quote:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Your children may not remember every detail of their childhood. They will forget the exact words you said and the specifics of events throughout the years. Yet, what will always stay with them is how you made them feel. Creating rituals is a great way to instill a feeling of love, support, and family with your child.
Rituals can be anything that resonates with your family dynamics. Some ideas include evening walks, birthday and holiday celebrations, and annual trips. Rituals can even be something as simple as having the same meal on a specific day of the week. We are big fans of Taco Tuesday or Pizza Friday!
5. Own Your Mistakes
Parents often think they have to have it all together, all the time. But, parents are human too, and we all mess up on occasion. While it may be embarrassing to admit a fault at the moment, treat this as a teachable moment. Apologizing for our wrongs models good justice, responsibility, and humility to kids. They will respect you and will feel more prepared to apologize for their own errors in the future.
6. Catch Random Acts of Kindness
It is common to draw attention to the negative things our children do. This is normal as we try to establish and reinforce expectations and boundaries. But, it can be helpful to offset the negative by praising some of the good things we witness them do!
You don’t have to praise your child all the time, but catching them in the act can boost morale! Be mindful. We don’t want children to show behaviors only for the reward. Positive reinforcement is most effective when a child thinks no one is watching. It is a pleasant moment when they least expect it.
Catching your kid in the act of doing something kind or thoughtful can help motivate them. It lets them know you see and appreciate the positive choices they make on their own.
Praise can be something as simple as sharing that you are proud of your child. You can praise them for making their bed without an adult asking. Or you could express your pride when they show patience while playing with their sibling.
Take the time to name the positive action you saw and why you thought it was a good choice.
Also, be sure to praise an action that requires effort rather than praising something that they can’t influence such as, “you are smart.” This helps kids move from a fixed to a growth mindset. When a child has a fixed mindset, they do not believe that they can grow and develop. They may pigeon-hole themselves into categories like smart or dumb. These labels are limiting. Children who have a fixed mindset believe that their successes or failures in life aren’t connected to their effort. Instead, they are seen as a result of something outside of their control. A growth mindset, on the other hand, helps children find the value in their effort. They learn that intelligence can grow due to persistence and perseverance. It allows them to focus on their own progress, rather than comparing themselves to others.
7. Take a Timeout
This isn’t a timeout in the traditional, discipline way. Think of this as a timeout for some much needed alone time. Sometimes parents and children alike simply need a break from each other. This is especially true if you spend most of your day in each other’s company.
Give yourself permission to have some time to yourself. If your child is old enough to be on their own, have them work on something quietly in their room for a set amount of time. This will let you have a moment or two to yourself so that you can regroup, clear your mind, and be ready for the rest of your day.
8. Eat Dinner as a Family
Many studies have confirmed that eating dinner as a family helps children feel more connected to their parents. There is also a strong connection between family dinners and better academic performance.
Family looks different for everyone. Whatever your family unit looks like, take time to regularly come together and share a meal. Mealtime is communal and helps to anchor the evening. This is a great time to share good food, some laughter, and a few stories from your day. Plus, you’ll feel much more tuned in to your kids’ lives and emotions.
9. Restful Evening Routines
Set a calm environment in your home at night as your family winds down for the day. This intentional routine can be beneficial for all family members. Carve out time for soothing baths, reading, playing a basic board game, or some conversation. Try to step away from the devices and television. Limiting blue light exposure before bed helps kids and adults fall asleep with more ease. Taking time to truly settle down will lead to deeper sleep and easier mornings
10. Show and Tell
You cannot love your children too much so do not hesitate to show them and tell them often. Something as simple as saying, “I love you” goes a long way. Showing affection in your own way helps your child feel loved and valued. Showing nonverbal love is just important. A great example would be showing up to events your child is part of. Express this love consistently, even at times when you might feel disappointed in your child.
This sense of unconditional love is important.
It’s also important to show love to other family members such as your spouse or your own parents. This helps your child learn how to express love to others. They will be able to share this affection in a wide variety of relationships.
11. Get Involved in Community Events
Local communities often offer lots of fun, free events, and opportunities. Participating in your community is good for both you and your child! It will help your kids meet new people and take part in unique experiences. These opportunities can help to push them outside of their comfort zone in a healthy way. Also, you will be able to meet other like-minded parents and develop friendships. In the future, this may open up some more opportunities for playdates and grown-up get-togethers alike!
12. Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected
It is healthy to express a range of emotions in front of your child. But, it is also important to be mindful of the tone you use with them. Reduce expressing anger, ridicule, or sarcasm. This is especially important if you direct the tone to your child. Sarcasm can be hard for kids to interpret. Ridicule or anger may cause them to feel worse about a situation than they already do.
13. Advocate For Your Child
Believe your kid. Show them you’ve got their back! When you go bat for your child it communicates to them that you trust them. You prove that will support them through tough times. It also ensures that your child will be more likely to be honest with you in sticky situations in the future. As they get older, they will be able to self-advocate better because you taught them how.
14. Create a Home Learning Center
Let your child know that you value their education and focus on it, even at home. Being involved in your student’s learning helps them develop positive study habits. It also teaches accountability. Plus, it shows that you care how they spend their day and what they are learning about.
Set up a designated homework area that is comfortable, clear, and well lit. Be sure to ask them engaging questions to challenge their knowledge and curiosity.
15. Encourage More Play Time
It is important to encourage your children to take time away from technology and devices. They may not appreciate it at the moment, but the benefits will pay off. They can play inside or out.
Time outside is good for children of all ages and can boost mood and overall well being. Scheduling time for unstructured play lets kids develop emotionally, physically, socially, and mentally. Soaking up the sun, breathing in fresh air and enjoying nature can further aid our welfare too.
16. Discuss Your Family History
Help your child discover their sense of self and heritage. Take time to discuss your family tree and unique family features. You may want to tell stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. When you share your family legacy you instill a sense of belonging in your child.
They will feel connected to something greater than themselves.
17. Practice Active Listening
Carve out time each day to sit down and talk with your child. Truly listen! Ask them questions, validate their concerns, brainstorm solutions and show them you are engaged!
Also pay attention to their body language and cues to read between the lines.
You may learn more about your child’s current state by what they don’t say instead of what they do say. Some indicators of anxiety or stress may include fidgeting, lack of eye contact, and a slouched posture. Taking time to check in with your child will allow you to listen and observe on a regular basis. You will be better able to notice shifts or changes in behavior so that you can proactively support your child.
18. Help Your Child Develop a Gratitude Journal
Journaling is an excellent tool for your child to develop self-regulation. It lets them process and reflect on their emotions. You can help them develop a gratitude journal to grow appreciation in their lives.
According to Dr. Robert Emmons, a gratitude practice can increase happiness by up to 25%.
No matter how big or small these gratitudes are, they can help your child find the good in any situation.
19. Set Aside Time to Create
Allow your children to explore different creative outlets. Provide them with opportunities to craft, paint, sing, draw, dance, or play an instrument. Some children like to explore many different creative tasks. Others will gravitate to the ones they prefer the most. Creativity offers healthy strategies to reduce stress while spending quality time together. Plus, in the end, you will have something beautiful to enjoy and appreciate as a family!
20. Volunteer with your child
It is meaningful to instill a sense of service in your child at a young age. This is an activity you can do together while giving back to your community.
- You can choose to volunteer at a local food bank
- You might decide to walk dogs at the local animal shelter
- Or you and your child can clean up litter at a neighborhood park.
Volunteerism instills a sense of generosity. Your child will learn that helping and giving to others feels good.
Your child may also want to research charitable organizations. Your child may be able to find a cause that is important to them. They could work with you to design a fundraiser or spread awareness about a cause they like. This can give them voice, choice, and ownership of the project. Activism will teach your child that their voice matters.
21. Be Flexible
Perfectionism and rigidity in parenting will always leave you falling short. Give yourself grace. Expect that things will change, and be willing to go with the flow when plans don’t work out as anticipated. This will maintain your mental health. It will also help your kids cope with unpredictable situations that come up in life.
22. Be Consistent With Discipline
It is important to give a consistent consequence when disciplining your child. If you react in a different way each time the problem occurs, your child may continue to do this behavior. They might hope the consequence will be different or less severe next time. This is their way of testing you and the boundaries you have put in place. Be predictable with consequences.
23. Set Goals Together
Help your child set goals and dream about their future. Goals can be small or big like passing the next spelling test or auditioning for the school play.
It is healthy to set goals with your child on a regular basis. You can teach them how to outline the steps and actions needed to achieve the desired end result. Map out a plan, develop an accountability system, and track their progress.
Provide opportunities for them to feel successful and learn time management skills. Set your own goals as well so your child can understand that growth is for grown-ups too!
24. Display Photos of Your Child’s Big Moments
Having photos of your kids around the house isn’t just for you or guests to admire. When a child sees a picture of them holding the soccer ball at a big game or wearing a graduation cap, they feel pride. It will remind your child that you are proud of them too!
25. Trust Your Intuition
You have more parental wisdom than you may realize.
It is normal to self-doubt as a parent. But, remember that no one knows or understands your child better than you!
Tips can be helpful and inspire new habits, but each child is different. Every kid needs different things from their parents. Take time to reflect on the tips you found interesting. Decide if they will be a beneficial addition to your parenting approach.
At the end of the day, it is all about connecting with, honoring, and supporting YOUR child.
Good Parenting Over Perfect Parenting
The intention of these tips is to give you some new perspective. To validate your current parenting practices. To leave you feeling more prepared.
Good parenting is not about perfectionism or doing things in a specific way. Being a good parent is about choosing what is best for the young person in your life.
At the end of the day, what matters most is spending quality time with them, listening to their concerns, and creating memories together.
These priorities will build the foundation for a strong and loving parent-child relationship.
25 tips may seem like a lot to add to your lifestyle all at once. Take time to identify the practices you have already woven into your relationship with your child. Then, identify 2-3 new pieces that stand out to you the most. Which tips do you think would enhance your parent-child relationship? What tip would help you find more ease or confidence in your parenting choices? Commit to building these new habits, routines, and traditions slowly and intentionally. The other 20+ tips will be here to come back to when you’re ready for more.