Parenting is a tough job. Everyone wants to be a great parent, but no-one teaches you how to be a great parent – you have to pick it up yourself. There are lows and highs, and it can be tough to be the perfect parent every day. The main priority is making sure your child is happy, well-fed, loved and safe.
Check out 50 small things you can do to be an amazing parent.
1. Don’t try to fix everything. Often your child will need your help, but don’t run in to help every time without thinking. Sometimes your child will be able to solve their own problems, and letting them do so will teach them to be self-reliant.
2. Pay attention to your child’s interests so that you can help them to develop their interests.
3. Share as many different experiences as you can with your child. From sports to reading to dressing up, these experiences could turn into future talents.
4. Let your child decide what’s for dinner one night of the week.
5. Remember that discipline and punishment are two different things.
6. Read books with your child for at least a quarter of an hour each day. This is a great way to bond with your child.
7. Encourage family time. This gives your child the chance to bond with their extended family.
8. Admit when you are wrong. After a tough day you may snap at your child. Instead of secretly feeling guilty, apologise to your child to teach them about fairness and honesty.
9. Accept that your partner may have different ideas about parenting and then make a compromise that you are both happy with.
10. Don’t pressure your child to learn. If they complain repeatedly about their violin lessons, don’t force them to go. This is only making your child deal with stress and worry.
11. Have high expectations for your child, but always remain realistic.
12. Praise your child whenever they succeed so that they know they have supportive parents.
13. Ask your child five “you” question every day, such as “Did you enjoy school?” or “Did you like your lunch?”
14. Teach your child responsibilities while they are young. From putting their toys in their toy box to putting their juice carton in the recycling, your child is never too young to become aware of the world around them.
15. Eat one meal as a family together every day. Your child may not remember each individual meal, but they will always remember the tradition.
16. Love your children equally but remember they are unique in different ways.
17. Don’t label your child. Once you do, it can be very difficult for them to grow out of the label.
18. Be silly with your child. Tell your child silly jokes, and encourage them to make up their own jokes to tell you.
19. Listen to your child without dismissing their thoughts for being young.
20. Give your child open-ended toys like Legos or blocks. These will encourage your child’s creativity.
21. Savor the great moments. Being a parent is a wild ride with highs and lows – let yourself enjoy the amazing moments.
22. Don’t compare your child to others. They are a unique individual and comparing people is often more damaging than it is useful.
23. Encourage your child to think about their future without influencing their decisions.
24. Keep the TV in the living room. This encourages family time and provides your child with fewer distractions when they are supposed to be sleeping.
25. Keep sunscreen next to your child’s toothpaste, and put it on every morning during summer as part of the same routine.
26. Take your child to different places, like the museum, the swimming pool, the library and parks to to expand their interests.
27. Give your child gifts that encourage their interests.
28. Always put anything your child makes for you on display in your home to show you are proud.
29. Introduce your child to your most interesting friends.
30. Give your child choices to help them to work on their decision-making skills.
31. Set aside part of your home as a play-space for your child.
32. Accept your child for who they are.
33. Tell your child that you love to play with them, and that it is just as fun for you as it is for them.
34. Tell your child stories about them as a baby.
35. Let your child help you while you are cooking to help them to develop an interest in cooking.
36. Hug your child every day.
37. Put down your phone when you are playing or reading with your child.
38. Remember that when they are a teenager, they will be potty-trained, so don’t worry too much about it to early.
39. Don’t force your child to hug or kiss extended family or your friends if they don’t want to. They know what they are comfortable with and what they don’t want to do.
40. Keep a diary of all of the funny things your child says to show them when they get older.
41. Practise what you preach – follow the rules you teach your child to teach them about fairness.
42. Have a weekly movie night with your child. This is a cheap, easy and fun way for you two to bond.
43. Trust your gut instincts with your child – you know them better than anyone else does.
44. Get involved in your child’s education by always attending Parent’s Evening and helping them with their homework.
45. Take your child for long walks so they can experience the magic of nature while bonding with you.
46. Accept that both you and your child will have flaws.
47. Count to 10 before you react to your child’s anger or sadness.
48. Buy a joke book and tell your child a silly joke every day.
49. Show your child lots of affection. Hold their hand when you walk together and high-five them when they have good news.
50. Speak to your children as equals and respect their opinions.