If only kids came with an instruction manual!  Well sadly, they don’t. You don’t learn parenting skills in school, which means we parents are often fumbling for solutions to whatever new behavioral problem is coming our way.

And once we think we have it all figured out, our kids grow, develop and change…and then we’re dealing with a whole new phase of issues!

It’s no wonder we find ourselves resorting to less than ideal tactics such as yelling, nagging, punishing, etc. to keep the kids in line.

Then we get hit with a wave of mom guilt for not being the patient parent we want to be. It’s a vicious cycle that frankly we’re tired of.

Related: Helpful Parenting Books

So let’s break the cycle!

Parenting skills, like any other set of skills, are mastered through practice.

Here are 12 ways you can improve your parenting skills today!

 

1. Make Time For Play

Set aside regular time to engage in quality play with your kids. This strengthens your connection to your child, which in turn results in them being more willing to cooperate. Play also enhances development.

 

2. Model Good Behavior

Rather than telling kids what NOT TO DO, Teach and show them what they SHOULD DO.

 

3. Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Try to see a situation the way your kids see it. Sometimes things can look a whole lot different from their perspective.

You may find you’re being confusing, or an environment is overwhelming, or they’re right when they say your “not being fair”. You won’t know until you look at it from their point of view.

 

4. Practice Active Listening

This is how you find out invaluable information about how your children are doing and what they’re feeling.

Use eye contact, get down on their level, and don’t interrupt. Ask open ended questions to get them talking and then repeat back what you heard to show them you understand.

 

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5. Set Boundaries

Kids actually thrive when they have consistent boundaries. Consistency teaches children to trust what you say and makes them more inclined to follow the rules because they have a clear understanding of consequences.

Related: 9 Parenting Mistakes To Avoid

Learn to hold your “no”, even when your kids try to test your boundaries.

 

6. No Hitting

Many studies have shown that physically punishing a child is an ineffective way to curb unwanted behavior. It can also set your child up for violent tendencies and mental health problems down the road.

Practice positive discipline instead of resorting to fear-based tactics.

Related: Anger Management For Parents: Keeping It Together

 

7. Ask Them To Repeat Directions

If you want kids to follow your instructions, ask them to repeat back any directions you give them.

This ensures understanding, and gets everyone on the same page so there’s no confusion.

 

8. Use Descriptive Praise

When you child does something well, be sure to use descriptive praise to encourage them to repeat the behavior.

“I loved the way you_____  or I noticed how nicely you _____”. Be specific, or they won’t know what action to repeat.

Related: Build Confidence! 55 Positive Things To Say To Your Child

 

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9. Use A Soft Confident Voice

Yelling is an easy way to get attention, but it’s not an effective way to change behavior. Plus, kids learn to tune it out over time.

Related: 21 Ways To Stop Yelling At Kids

Use a soft confident voice to redirect kids when they are upset. They are more apt to actually listen to you.

 

10. Develop A Behavior Change Signal

Nobody likes being called out in front of others, kids are no exception. Develop a nonverbal signal that you can use to let your kids know they are being inappropriate and need to change their behavior.

This way you can redirect them in public without embarrassing or shaming them.

 

11. Help Them Express Their Emotions

Many times kids act out because they are unable to express the strong emotions they are feeling. Help them get it off their chest.

Say, “you seem frustrated” “are you feeling sad?” “It seems like you’re angry about that”…If you can get them to open up, the emotion usually gets diffused along with the bad behavior that comes with it.

 

12. Demonstrate Unconditional Love

You don’t want your kids to think they have to act or be a certain way for you to love them.

If you make it seem like your love is conditional, that you’ll withhold it if they misbehave; you’re potentially setting them up for a lifetime of fear and anxiety.

Show them you love them at every opportunity! Embrace them, kiss them, praise them for good behavior.

Kids who feel loved are naturally more inclined to be cooperative, helpful, and kind.

Related: Step-by-Step For Raising Kind Kids

 

Improve your parenting skills

 

 

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