Ministry of Education, Guyana

Three Ideas for Positive Parenting

As parents, it’s only natural to wonder if we’re doing a good job raising our kids. We are bombarded with information from many sources — from parenting “experts” to well-meaning family members — about what we “should” be doing. The truth is, what a child actually needs is a caregiver who shows them love and tries their best.

Here are some positive parenting tips to keep in mind as you navigate raising children:

Model positive behavior.
Children are sponges, absorbing everything about the world around them. The biggest influence of all on our young children is us. From our manners, to the way we treat other people, to being healthy and organized — our kids are always watching us, and, whether they realize it or not, taking mental notes.

Putting our children first should not mean putting ourselves last — that leads to the opposite of what we want. If we want our kids to be happy and healthy, the best thing we can do for them is to show them what happiness and health looks like. Take time for hobbies you enjoy, such as reading, cooking, yoga, or crafting, and engage your children in them.

Of course, there is a difference between doing the best we can and trying to be perfect all the time. Resilience is an important part of positive behavior: Show your children it’s okay to make mistakes, and that we can bounce back from them.

In the rush of daily life, we don’t always remember to keep the channels of communication open with our children. I sometimes feel frustrated when my children don’t respond to my questions, and yet I sometimes shut them down if they open up to me when it’s not a convenient time. With this in mind, I try to keep my communication with them positive — using words and body language that show my kids that I am open to their thoughts and ideas.

Mister Rogers once said, “Whether [a] person is speaking or playing or dancing, building or singing or painting, if we care, we can listen.” When you simply listen to a child, you are showing them love and acceptance. Having a positive dialogue is a great habit to start. That way, once your little kid grows into a big kid, they’ll still feel comfortable coming to you with their problems.

Try and then try again.
Children don’t come with manuals, although on some days it would be nice if they did! What works for one child might not work well for another. When my son was a toddler, I felt frustrated that he wasn’t open to trying new foods and flavors. One day, after spooning up plain buttered pasta for the millionth time, I remembered that a childhood friend loved a meal she called “Dippy.” Her mom would give her cooked noodles and let her dip them into different sauces — tomato, cheese, pesto, etc. I tried it one day with my kids, and to my surprise and delight, my son actually tried the sauces he was dipping. I was thrilled with my parenting win.

No one has all of the answers to parenting, but we do have what it takes to help our kids grow, develop, and thrive. Be open to new approaches with your child... you never know — our kids can surprise us.


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