Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Best Parenting Ideas With Young Children - part 2

Here are a few more parenting suggestions that just might work or at least make your parenting a little more effective during those early years.

Often kids don't want to go to bed.  OK, they never do. But the last thing a parent should allow is kids to determine their own bedtimes or to feel like every night they can "negotiate" a better deal. On the other hand young childen have reasonable, normal reactions and even fears that the wise parent needs to keep in mind.

So one thing to try is letting your child listen quietly to some appropriate music after you've put them into bed.  You can determine the ground rules. Some kids will enjoy reading while others just like the sound of the music to help soothe them.  The point is that the CD becomes the guide for their behavior not you.  They can read or "stay awake" (while still in bed) until the music finishes but then they are to go to sleep.  We found that our kids usually went to sleep before the album finished but even if they don't you now have a stopping point when they know they must settle down.

This idea also gives them more time to meet the requirement of going to bed rather than just facing an abrupt stop when the lights go off and then must immediately sleep.  Of course before too long (perhaps years though) they figure out going to sleep is a good thing!

A second idea relates to TRAVEL.  I know that these days parents have more options in the car for DVD's and other technical advances that can help but as I've suggested in other writings, it's not wise to let kids have too much technology when they just tune you and others out for the entire trip.  Try a few old standard options that keep the family engaged together at least part of the time.

The alphabet game.  You see who can find the next letter of the alphabet on billboards, signs, etc.  The more advanced version requires a word to actually start with that letter except for X.  Or the License Plate Game.  Make a copy of the states that you keep with you or give everyone one if they can all read.  It's usually best to just keep this a family game, however, and see how many states you can find by the end of the trip.  We found that our kids kept looking even in parking lots, strip malls and anywhere else they could think of.

You can go online for lots of other simple, inexpensive ideas, too.  The key is be prepared!

Finally, let kids help with the chores.  Yes, there are many times when doing it ourselves is faster and necessary.  But with a little planning our younger children can learn how to assist, the importance of working together and how to do everyday things around the house.  And this can start as soon as they learn to walk as long as we keep it simple.

As kids get older, chore responsibilities can be tied to allowance, privileges and other disciplines as needed.  And if you have a problem with WHO has to do what on a given day, try this time-tested idea.  Use odd and even days, if you have just two kids.  If you have three or more, try certain days of the week with other days being "free."  Again the calendar becomes the bad guy instead of you.

And let me say it one more time.  Whatever you do - BE CONSISTENT or none of these ideas will work for long.  Happy parenting.  Ideas for older kids next time.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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