As a parent, we KNOW you’ve encountered your fair share of unsolicited parenting advice.

The know-it-all waitress, your mother-in-law, the lady at Target…or basically anyone who has ever taken care of a kid and feels the need to be “helpful” by offering up their pearls of wisdom, AKA answers to parenting questions you never asked.

This is not that kind of article.

 

“Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.” – Matt Walsh

 

We know darn well that parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition!

Every child is different, and learning their individual personalities, strengths and weaknesses is what makes you uniquely qualified to determine the best way to parent them.

BUT, and there’s always a but, that doesn’t mean we all couldn’t use a little bit of parenting help, inspiration, or insight now and again.

We know you didn’t ask for parenting advice, but we also know you’re always on the lookout for ways to improve your parenting skills. It goes hand-in-hand with wanting your kids to grow up to be awesome adults.

That’s why we wanted to share some positive parenting advice you’ll actually want to hear.

Advice that child psychologists, educators, and seasoned moms have all used with good results.

These are parenting tips rooted in research, not hearsay. You know, science and stuff…not some nosy mom offering her two cents in the produce aisle.

So even though you didn’t ask, here are the top pieces of parenting advice we know you’d want to hear. This is the stuff we wish someone had told us when we became parents!

 

Parenting Advice:

Behavior

 

1. HALT Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums happen when a child’s needs aren’t being met. To reduce the number and duration of tantrums you have to deal with, remember the acronym H.A.L.T.

“HALT” stands for hungry, agitated, lonely, or tired; the four main reasons young children tend to have meltdowns.

If you can figure out which one your child is experiencing, you can address the root cause and stop the tears.

It’s a great little parenting hack. Especially if you’ve got a toddler at home.

 

2. Consistent Bedtime

Enforcing a consistent, early bedtime for your kids will save a lot of headaches later down the road.

We know it’s hard, especially if you work late or during summer when school’s out, but it’s worth the effort.

A study published in the 2013 journal Pediatrics found that 7-year olds with inconsistent bedtimes had more behavioral problems then those who went to bed at the same time each night.

And the longer a consistent bedtime was not enforced, the worse the behavior problems became.

 

3. Lower Your Voice

Yelling rarely get kids to do what you want. In fact, it often escalates a situation and gets the kids to raise their voices too!

Related: 21 Ways To Stop Yelling At Kids

If you want your kids to really listen to what you have to say, try getting in close and lowering your voice instead. This forces them to lean in and focus to hear you.

 

School and Learning

 

4. Get To Know Their Teachers

Some of the best parenting advice we ever received was to get to know your children’s teachers. Start in preschool, and continue taking the time to build a relationship each consecutive year.

Teachers spend a lot of time with your kids! They are great allies in this whole parenting thing, and can give you all kinds of good insights into your child’s behavior, needs, strengths, etc.

 

5. Encourage Reading

Kids who read for fun excel in school. And not just in language, they do better in other subjects like math as well.

Start reading with your kids when they’re young, and do it often. It’s a great bonding experience that sets them up for a lifetime of reading.

Related: Our Picks: Best Children’s Books

As they get older, find books about topics they like to keep them interested. Baseball, vampires, superheroes, talking dogs….the subject doesn’t matter.

What’s important is your child building a habit that will serve them well throughout their lifetime.

 

Parenting Advice
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6. Homework Rules

Get your kids to follow the three golden rules of homework to make study time effective.

  1. Do the hardest thing first. Don’t push it off to the end when you’re too tired to think clearly.
  2. No phones during homework time. Kids can’t do their best work if they’re being distracted.
  3. Once homework is done it immediately goes into the backpack along with any text books. Then the backpack goes by the door. No more excuses about forgetting assignments at home.

 

Life

 

7. Let Them Make Mistakes

To develop a growth mindset and self-sufficiency, kids need to learn how to recover from a mistake and do better next time.  They can’t learn this valuable lesson if you always swoop in to make things easier for them.

We’re not suggesting you never help your kids, that would be ridiculous. Particularly if they’re trying something totally new or beyond their current skill set.

We’re just saying you don’t have to fix everything. Give them a chance to find their own solutions before you step in to help.

 

8. Teach Empathy And Kindness

Show kids that thinking about other people’s feelings and helping those in need is part of being a responsible citizen.

Find ways to incorporate (not so) random acts of kindness into your regular routine.

Related: Random Acts Of Kindness For Kids: 30 Day Challenge

This helps kids develop gratitude and gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in their community.

 

9. Assign Chores

And we mean unpaid chores.

While it’s fine to let kids take on extra tasks for extra cash, like washing the car or doing yard work, assign everyday chores like putting clothes in the hamper, making the bed, or washing dishes without monetary compensation.

Related: Why Chores Help Kids More Than You Think

This is how kid learn responsibility. Nobody is going to take care of their stuff when they’re older, so it makes sense to teach them good habits now.

 

Meal Time

 

10. Practice Healthy Eating Basics

Look, we’re not going to tell you to never order pizza or that chicken nuggets are off the menu, we’re not insane. But what your kids eat does have a huge impact on their health, so at least pay attention.

Read labels and watch for high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals your kids don’t need. Don’t make soda and sugary treats an everyday thing.

Teach your kids cooking basics, and introduce them to new vegetables periodically.

Related: How Can I Get My Picky Eater Child To Try Vegetables

Lifelong eating habits begin when your kids are young.

If you can make those habits MOSTLY healthy, you’re setting them up for future success.

 

11. Eat At Least One Family Meal A Day

Research shows that families that eat together are healthier, happier, and more connected.

Related: Make Family Dinners Fun! 30 Conversation Starters For Kids

Make it a habit to gather the troops for at least one family meal daily. It’s the perfect time to catch up, share stories, and get on the same page.

 

parenting advice
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Play

 

12. Schedule Unstructured One-On-One Time

Try to find some time each day when you don’t have anything pressing on your to-do list and spend 10-15 minutes just hanging out with your child, no interruptions.

This ‘downtime’ is when the two of you can really connect.

If you make focused attention a regular habit, your child will feel closer to you, which means they’re more likely to open up to you.

The daily one-on-one becomes a safe space for your child to bring up any problems they’re having, ensuring the lines of communication stay open. This becomes invaluable as they get older.

Plus, it’s just a nice way to show your kids you love them.

 

13. Daddy Time

A great, often underutilized, resource for improving kids’ lives is spending more time playing with dad.

Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, are better problem-solvers, and tend to be more resilient.

Related: Different Parenting Styles? How To Get On The Same Page!

Scheduling quality dad time is even more important for divorced parents. Taking the time to create a solid co-parenting plan with your ex that ensures your kids get regular dad time is worth the effort!

If you’re a single parent who has little to no contact with your child’s father, another man in the family who’s willing (like a grandpa or uncle) can take on this role.

 

14. Create Special Memories

Your children aren’t going to remember a lot of what you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals; like family game night, Christmas Eve hot chocolate, and bedtime stories.

Take the time to craft some meaningful family traditions you do again and again. These become the childhood memories your will kids treasure and carry into adulthood.

 

Self Care

 

15. Take Care Of Yourself

Listen to your flight attendant when she says “put on your own oxygen mask first, then help your children”. If you don’t take good care of yourself, you can’t be a fully engaged and present parent.

There’s a lot of parenting advice out there telling you to put your children’s needs first all the time. They are playing on your mom guilt. Don’t believe them!

If you were to do this consistently, you’d soon find you’re so emotionally and physically exhausted that you aren’t much good to anyone.

We know that your kids will always be a priority, just make sure you set aside time to make yourself one too.

Ask for help if you need it! Get someone to watch the kiddos and take an hour or two to do something for you.

Plan some self care activities, like a hot bath or a good book and a cup of tea, for after the kids go to bed.

Whatever it takes to keep yourself centered and sane.

 

16. Pick Your Battles

Kids can only take in so much information before they shut down. So quit arguing about the little stuff, like what outfit they wear or which toy they pack.

Let all that go and focus on things that really matter; empathy, integrity, and being a good citizen.

Related: Positive Discipline: Parent With Love Not Fear

By not sweating the small stuff you’ll have more emotional energy and bandwidth to deal with the bigger parenting issues.

 

17. Trust Your Gut

Nobody knows your child better than you do. Mother’s intuition is a real thing!

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

So if your instincts are telling you there’s more to a story, keep digging until you find out what it is. This is our number one piece of parenting advice.

You are your child’s champion. If your gut is telling you something, listen to it and take action.

 

Also In Beenke: Top Ten Helpful Parenting Books

 

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