Everyone’s got an opinion of the best parenting advice, whether that’s strict and regimented to footloose and fancy-free.
We have gathered the most useful personality development tips for kids.
1. Let your kids mess up
Perhaps one of the best pieces of parenting advice we can think of is in teaching your children that it’s okay to mess things up. Like you and me, and everyone we know, there will be times when your kid does their absolute best, and things still don’t work out. That’s how we learn and grow and develop as human beings.
Standing back and allowing your kids to learn from their own mistakes means you’re going to have to cut off your helicopter wings and give them the chance to go it alone. But before you jump in to micromanage everything your little one (or teenager) is doing, ask yourself this: Is your child in real danger?
That’s the difference between giving your children permission to learn and being careless. If they’re only in danger of some mild discomfort, let them put the red sock in with their whites, or do their homework without your input.
The conclusion? A teenager who learns how to do their laundry, or a child who knows when and how to ask for help, and how to develop their own ideas and work ethic.
2. “Eat the frog”
Mark Twain, oh he of the pithy statement, is famous for saying, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” While it might sound like funny parenting advice, it’s actually rock solid.
Teach your kids to do the difficult thing first.
In fact, you can think of Eating the frog as a great life lesson when it comes to parenting advice. Teach your kids to get the challenging thing out of the way, so they can then focus on what they enjoy.
In practice, this looks like doing their homework the minute they get home, stopping themselves from being distracted, and tidying away their schoolwork to have an evening free of frogs AND nagging—a win for everyone.
3. New parenting advice: H.A.L.T
This one mainly applies to the new parents out there, although it works for handling kids from the ages of 0-100.
A child typically has a tantrum for one of four reasons: Hunger, Agitation, Loneliness, or Tiredness.
Think of these are your child’s fundamental basic needs – and enjoy how closely they mirror our own! Before you head into an anxiety-laden breakdown about the best way to handle your child’s moods, take a deep breath and HALT.
4. Teach gratitude
Skills like gratitude and kindness aren’t just nebulous floating practices that appear in your world-view. Instead, they’re skills you can teach your children from the early days.
Create kindness challenges where your children learn to focus on other people and ask for help – whether speaking with a neighbor or helping another kid clear their place at lunch.
Encouraging your children to focus on other people is a great way to enable them to prioritize gratitude and kindness so that it becomes a part of who they are.
5. Be strict about bedtime
According to scientific research, irregular bedtimes can be one of the leading causes of behavioral problems. So it’s something that you have to crack as early as possible so that you – and your children – can enjoy your relationship.
Establishing a bedtime routine – and sticking to it – is one of the best pieces of parenting advice.
6. Encourage reading
While you might love the thought that your child would pick up Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, the good news is that it doesn’t really matter.
Research has found that children who enjoy reading for pleasure do better in academics – not just English, but also in math. So if you’re hoping for the best parenting advice to encourage kids to read, the answer? Make sure no book is off-limits.
Allow your kid to develop their own relationship with reading and encourage them to talk to you afterward.
7. Don’t pay for chores
Say you pay your kid $1 to make their beds. All that’s happening here is that they’re going to start to monetize various tasks – leading them to be money-driven, rather than driven for benefit.
Instead, if you’re hoping to teach your child practical money management skills, then introduce the concept of an allowance. But don’t encourage them to work on dollar-for-dollar everyday chores. Encourage them to understand that these are necessary parts of everyday life.
8. Be brave
It’s impossible to overstate just how much children mimic the behavior of the adults around them. So if you want a confident and happy kid? The best parenting advice is to demonstrate this behavior.
Let your children see you laugh when you do something silly or embarrassing. Encourage them to spend time alone and be self-sufficient. Show them how to admit when they’re wrong. Demonstrate how to have conversations, and yes, even arguments in a way that is safe and non-destructive. It’s a great way to encourage actively engaged children who become actively involved adults.
9. Offer a choice, within reason
Instead of an all-or-nothing approach to dinner time, encourage your children to pick from a range of foods – with the understanding that they will learn to eat what you eat.
Offer the main course, plus rice or pasta, a salad, or milk and water. This way, your child can choose for themselves what they’re in the mood for, without increasing your dinnertime workload.
10. Focus on 14
We’ve all heard of the terrible 2s, but another critical number is in a child’s age: 14. This is when most children will start to think for themselves and establish their place within their peer group.
To engage with children at this point, check-in in a place without screens or phones. Ask what their friends are up to and how they feel about it. This is a pivotal way to understand what’s happening behind the scenes, as well as allowing your child to ask for your advice or support.
11. Common sense approach to fear
Perhaps one of the best parenting advice pieces is to ease your child’s fear with common sense. So if your child is developing a fear of dogs, try to demystify it by encouraging your child to engage.
The same is true when it comes to other fears – from the dentist to getting their shots. Acknowledge their fear sympathetically, but don’t be too emotional. Let them understand that sometimes unpleasant things are necessary, but that it’ll be over very quickly.
12. Speak softly
If you’re trying to get your children to pay attention, but they’re being too rowdy, don’t raise your voice – instead, lower it.
This will force your children to focus.
If you’re trying to herd a whole bunch of children, whisper something like “If you want to know what happens next, hop on one foot” or something equally silly. This is a great way to get their attention and resist any fighting.
Don’t forget that all of this advice only works if you remember the most essential piece of parenting advice: take care of yourself.
You can’t be an engaged parent if you’re running on fumes and feeling wrung out. It’s okay to take 15 minutes for yourself and show your children that you need time to breathe and engage with life. Remember, this, too, is a life skill you’re teaching them.
Do your best, give yourself a break, and provide your children the space to be themselves. We can’t say fairer than that!