Sound too good to be true? It can’t be that easy to fast track your parenting. You know when you read all those articles on the best parenting styles, you click away. You want results and you want to stay sane and raise great kids you can be proud of by positive parenting. We have all been there. So, let’s break it down and cut out all the theory.
1. Boost your baby’s brainpower
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Here’s a question. Many parents wonder if their parenting style is going to affect their baby’s brainpower and overall development. The short answer is Yes. Just consider the fact that many toddlers are able to use a device before they can even talk! But how do you do it? One simple hack is to turn off the TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics says no TV up to the age of two years.
The reality is different. Surveys show 90% of babies are watching TV already! But a new study by Emory University shows that infants can learn from TV but the best results are when they are with their parents and exposure is no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Guess what the best way is to a help your kid’s brainpower? They need lots of time playing, exploring, and creating with their parents. This beats all the educational toys and gadgets hands down. The parent is the baby’s and toddler’s best learning tool. It is all about bonding and communication. This is the view of a paediatrician called Dr. Jill Stamm who is cofounder of New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development. She has written a book called Bright From The Start- The Simple Science Backed Way To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind From Birth To Age 3.
2. Get real on safety issues
Another hack to fast track your parenting is to ignore most of the media coverage which tend to ‘dangerize’ risks to kids. What are the real dangers? Abduction and sexual predators? No, your child has to be taught how to stay safe. An emergency room doctor has said that parents should worry much more about not wearing a seat belt in the car than their child being kidnapped or assaulted. The statistics show that the probability of your child being abducted by a stranger are almost nil – about I in 1,500,000 or 0.000067%.
It is mostly the fault of the media because they are constantly reporting scary stories of kids in danger. It is no wonder that overprotective parents are now almost the norm.
Why do you think Leonore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids has been called the world’s worst mom? She simply let her 9 year old ride the NYC subway alone but not until after she had trained him to do so safely or checked that he knew what to do as they had ridden the subway together many times. Basically, she is telling us that our kids are safer and much smarter than we think and we need to correct our perspective on this one. Watch the video here where Lenore shows some parents going to extreme lengths to overprotect their kids. It is possible to teach them to be safe, safe reliant and independent.
3. Keep your kids safe online
You thought the big bad world outside was dangerous for your kids? What about the Internet? It’s crazy but few parents make sure that their kids are safe online! How many of them have warned their kids that certain criminally minded adults will masquerade as children? Not to mention the frauds, scams and other nasty tricks thieves use to get access to personal details. If that happened in the street, your kids would know what to do but what about when they are online?
Just like teaching your kids how to cross the road, you have to make sure that they know how to surf safely on the Internet. Have you sat with them and explained all the nasty traps on the Net? What about viruses, malware, phishing, scams, privacy settings, social media rules and etiquette? The famous cartoon, On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog explains it all very nicely.
Here are some tips to fast track your parenting online:-
Explain about passwords. Supervise them early on so that you are with them when they invent a password and how important it is to have different passwords for various sites and activities such as Club Penguin
- Make a rule about sharing personal information. Tell them that they would never give such personal details to a complete stranger in the street. The Internet is not much different.
- Teach them about insults on social media and remind them that they would not go around the sports club calling people names and insulting them!
- Remind teens that social profiles are just like extensions of their CV! When they come to apply for a job, these are often checked. Once on the Internet, it is not easy to delete it.
- Browse with your kids when they are young and later on, as they get more independent, make sure that certain sites are blocked. You can use Respect Network for sharing sensitive and private data on trusted private connections. Cynja is a great site to empower kids to make safer and smarter choices when online.
4. Let your kids hear NO when necessary
Establish very early on what the boundaries are, especially for toddlers. Great time saver in the long run. If the limits are not clear or you are simply too lazy to implement them on a consistent basis, the kids will soon start to take over. You want to reduce the chances of them acting out or throwing temper tantrums.
You will have to say NO sometimes. Most of the time though, you should be able to offer support, affection and encouragement as the pillars of your parenting. Now that is much better than spouting all the rules, threats and criticizing their behavior. Emma Jenner, the parenting expert, makes it all very clear in the video below. Boundaries have to be implemented right up to adolescence but starting early gives you an edge to fast track your parenting.
5. Talk to your kids
Sounds a bit facile because why wouldn’t you talk to them? You would be surprised at how few parents actually really communicate with their children. Instead of running to fulfil their every whim and whine, why not expect them to do more? They are going to come up against things at school, in a job and above all in relationships. Talk to them about the consequences of their actions, how they are feeling and above how you are feeling. Set them challenges and tell them what your expectations are but be there when they need encouragement and prompting.
Doing this early on will certainly help you to fast track your parenting. The chances of raising, rude and entitled kids will fade and you can be proud that you have raised great kids who are going to be responsible and caring adults to make the world a better place. Tough call but the rewards are great!
“In the end, that’s what being a parent is all about—those precious moments with our children that fill us with pride and excitement for their future, the chances we have to set an example or offer a piece of advice, the opportunities to just be there and show them that we love them.” – President Barack Obama.