Positive Parenting Tips By Mary Wolff #TeachMeTuesday

Being a positive parent doesn’t only mean better outcomes for your child, it also benefits you as a parent. As children develop they go through natural stages of development and attachment. Positive parents recognize these stages and respond accordingly, teaching their child that behaviours matter, and that loving relationships are stable and secure, no matter the circumstances. A major part of parenting is learning how to talk to your child. The way you talk to your child teaches them how to talk to others. Here are some tips to help you guide your child in a positive and loving way.

  • Connect Before You Direct

Before giving your child directions, squat to their eye level and engage in eye-to-eye contact to get their attention.

  • Keep it Simple

Use the one-sentence rule: Put the main directive in the opening sentence.

  • Make an offer the child can’t refuse

Avoid power struggles by reasoning with your child. “Let’s get dressed so you can go outside and play.” Offer a reason for your request that is to the child’s advantage and one that is hard to refuse.

  • First … And Then

“First we will put on your shoes and then we can go outside.” This language implies your expectations. Using the phrase “if,” suggests the option of a choice when you don’t mean to give them one.

  • Begin your Directives with “I want”

By saying “I want,” you give a reason for compliance rather than just an order. Instead of “Come here,” say “I want you to come here.” This works well with children who want to please but don’t like being ordered.

  • Speak Developmentally Correctly

The younger the child, the shorter and simpler your directives should be. Consider your child’s level of understanding. For example, a common error parents make is asking a three-year-old, “Why did you do that?” Most adults can’t even answer questions about their behavior. Try instead, “I saw you throw that toy and I didn’t like it.”

  • Speak Psychologically Correctly

“I” messages have been proven quite responsive with young children. Instead of “You need to clear the table,” say “I need you to clear the table.” Don’t ask a leading question when a negative answer is not an option. Rather than saying “Will you please pick up your coat?” Just say, “Pick up your coat, please.”

  • Let Your Child Complete The Thought

Rather than “Don’t leave your mess piled up,” try: “Matthew, think of where you want to store your soccer stuff.” Letting your child fill in the blanks is more likely to create a lasting lesson.

  • Be Positive and Give Choices

Avoid “No” and give likable alternatives. “You can’t go by yourself to the park; but you can play in the back yard.” If your child doesn’t want to get dressed, you can offer a choice. “Would you like to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?”

  • Give Advance Notice

“We are leaving soon. You have 5 more minutes to keep playing before we have to say goodbye.”

  • Ask Thoughtful Open Ended Questions

Carefully chosen phrases will open up little minds and mouths. Stick to topics that you know your child gets excited about. Ask questions that require more than a yes or no. Stick to specifics. Instead of “Did you have a good day at school today?” try “What is the most fun thing you did today?

Mary_HeadshotMary Wolff

As R.E.C.E, Executive Director and Co-founder of Smart Cookie Club, Mary provides a positive perception, a sense of understanding and unique ideas to support and educate children, parents and caregivers.


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