Whether your child is 10 months old or 10 years old, it’s never too late to brush up on parenting basics. For this reason, I’ve listed five principles that I consider to be the foundation of great parenting.
February 11, 2010
5 rules every parent should follow
Laugh a lot. Laughter increases feel-good endorphins and lowers stress levels. Research also shows that when we see someone laughing, our brain responds by preparing our facial muscles to smile. This response encourages groups of people (like your family!) to laugh together, which in turn builds relationships.
Get the family moving. Find what works for your clan — it might be anything from yoga to rock climbing to basketball games in the driveway. Enlist the kids’ help in picking a physical activity everyone can enjoy. Getting your children active will go a long way toward lifelong good health.
Avoid labels. Childhood pigeonholes (like “soccer star” or “math whiz”) can stick around well into adulthood and send the insidious message that your child should stick to what he or she is good at — and not challenge him- or herself to try something new or difficult. Even worse, a negative label (like "all thumbs" or "scaredy cat") can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Read to kids every night. Even a few minutes can make a huge difference in developing language skills, especially if you are interactive when you read with your kids, according to research. Kids with a variety of reading materials at home score higher on standardized tests, so be sure to stock up on audio books, magazines, word games — anything that will help to exercise their reading muscles.
Catch kids being good. If you pay attention and verbally compliment good behavior every day, you probably will see less of the bad. Another upside to positive reinforcement: It cuts down on sibling rivalry. More often than not, kids fight as a way of getting Mom or Dad to pay attention, not about who controls the remote for the TV.