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10 Simple Parenting Changes That Make a Big Difference

kid playing with a circuit board

Parenting Shouldn't Be As Hard As This

Your kids just came back with their final report cards these past few weeks. I’m sure there was lots of applauding, congratulating, and a few conversations about ‘certain areas’ that need work.

Since we’re in a period of reflection and re-assessing things that need work with our kids, why not take a pause to reflect on how things are going in your family?

Michele Borba is a parenting expert and has appeared on Dr Drew, The Today Show, Dr Phil, Dateline, and more. She has written more than 22 books tackling everything from children to teens to parenting to bullying and moral development.

A recent blog entry had her explaining 10 Simple Parenting Changes That Make A Big Difference.

What would your report card say on the following parenting ideas?

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  • Increase Quality Family Time 1 of 10
    Increase Quality Family Time
    Borba says you don't need a lot of time, but it needs to be focussed and free from distraction. She encourages we make it an 'unplugged' time where people are actually talking to each other.
  • Don’t overextend so you have more family time 2 of 10
    Don't overextend so you have more family time
    Learning to say no is a key part of putting family first. Borba says to make sure you're thinking of time to spend with your family before volunteering for things at work or in the community.

    Image Credit lusi
  • More positive morning send-offs 3 of 10
    More positive morning send-offs
    Spend some time the night before laying out clothes, getting book bags together, and making lunches. Borba says mornings are only hectic when you leave things to the last minute, so plan ahead to start the day smoothly.

    Image Credit Melodi2
  • Stop being “The Negotiator” 4 of 10
    Stop being "The Negotiator"
    If you're constantly having to step in because your kids aren't sharing, you're not giving them the life skills they need for the real world. Borba says to start simply, by using an egg timer or the like so kids can get the hang of having turns and solving their own disputes.

    Image Credit lusi
  • Boost exercise to reduce stress 5 of 10
    Boost exercise to reduce stress
    Getting exercise is a great release and a chance to blow off steam. If you're finding it hard to mix in with your family time, Borba says why not combine the two?
  • Wean kids off rewards 6 of 10
    Wean kids off rewards
    Instead of using rewards as praise, use praise as a reward. Borba says you can do a simple switch in your phrasing. Instead of saying "I'm proud of you", tell your kids "You should be proud ..." You'll be giving them self-confidence instead of entitlement.
  • Reduce family yelling 7 of 10
    Reduce family yelling
    Get everyone in on this one. Things get hectic, and tempers rise. Borba says to instigate a hand signal the moment someone's voice gets too loud. Keeping everything even keeled will reduce household stress.

    Image Credit dyet
  • Regular family connection 8 of 10
    Regular family connection
    Borba says research proves that families who eat together have less incidence of drugs, eating disorders, and poor grades. It doesn't matter what it is, just make time to sit around a table and share that time as a family.

    Image Credit mjio
  • Nurture self-esteem 9 of 10
    Nurture self-esteem
    As mentioned before, itemized rewards don't create character. Borba says to add the word "because" when you praise your kids. It not only tells them to be proud, but why they should be satisfied with their performance and they'll know exactly how to repeat the action.
  • Focus on the positive 10 of 10
    Focus on the positive
    If you're in a nagging rut, Borba says to try and focus on the positive. Pick a few rays of sunshine in that storm and try to find something to build on and change the situation.

I know I could work on more than a few of those areas. It takes up to 21 days to make a change and have it be ‘the new normal’. Why not pick a few and try to change your behaviour over the summer months?

Increased quality family time, weaning off rewards, and focusing on the positive will be the goals for my summer. What are yours?

via Michele Borba

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