Top 4 parenting tips
As the year draws to a close, it can be helpful to look back and see what things worked and what things weren’t so successful with our parenting. By doing that we can then look forward to 2022 with positivity of moving forward.
Michael Grose has written these tips for us to think through in his blog from a few years ago that are still helpful for this year.
1. Switch on your kids’ strengths
Most of us have been conditioned to focus on what kids can’t do. It’s not your fault. You were trained by teachers and parents who were adept at picking up your poor behaviours, highlighting errors and encouraging you to eliminate your faults.
There is a better way. The Positive Psychology movement lead by US-based psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman showed that when we can unearth kids’ strengths we are, in effect, unlocking their true potential for success and happiness. Three elements come together to make a strength, and parents need to be mindful of all three: performance (being good at something); energy (feeling good doing it); and high use (choosing to do it). Rather than locking on to your child’s weaknesses, set your antennae to your child’s strengths.
2. Balance kids’ extra-curricular activities
Alongside social media and news events, being busy is now recognised as a major stress for many children and young people. Over-scheduling kids’ lives is a relatively new phenomenon. Go back a couple of generations and a few sports, music lessons and things like scouting movements were the mainstays of after school life for most kids. Now the choice of activities to keep kids busy after school hours is mind-boggling.
Having so many options is wonderful but it does place a new set of pressures on parents. Many complain that family life is like now living in a hamster wheel, always in constant motion, with hardly a time to catch their breath. The cost of loading kids up with scheduled activities is that many don’t get the chance for free play, or simply ‘vegging out’ on the couch. The benefits of all this activity in terms of kids’ skill development, personal growth and broadening social horizons is well-founded. However, finding a balance is tricky as every child, like every family is different.
3. Focus on friendships
Friendships are an important part of the road to adulthood for a child or young person. With families shrinking in size peer relationships are now fundamental in providing kids with a sense of belonging, a place to hone their identity and a group upon which they can develop their future relationship skills such as tolerance, empathy and forgiveness.
Friendships can be problematic. Not every child is naturally outgoing and makes friends easily. If your child is like this, but generally seems happy, then there may be no need to do anything. If your child has difficulty forming friendships and is worried by that, then there are many ways to approach this including: encouraging kids to spend one-on-one time with others, making extra-curricular activities fit their interests, and coaching kids to develop friendly behaviours.
4. Give kids tools to manage anxious moments
Let’s just say it upfront. We don’t have a childhood resilience problem as many teachers and professionals say, but we do have a childhood anxiety problem. A big one! And it’s mostly undetected as community understanding of anxiety is low. It’s our experience at Parenting Ideas that many parents are anxious and they don’t know it, and many children routinely experience anxiety, which goes unrecognised.
Everyone feels worried from time to time, but these feelings pass when the stressful situation has passed. Anxiety occurs when these anxious feelings don’t pass, and happen for no obvious reason. It’s a serious condition that can be managed and minimised with their right tools.
Will anything be different this year?
Change and improvement in anything worthwhile generally comes incrementally rather than in one giant leap. We pointed you in the direction that we feel is important for you and your kids to take kids next year. It’s you who has to implement changes and do the work.
I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year. It can only get better! 😊
Look forward to sharing new ideas and suggestions with you next year.
Year 5 Leader