Parenting advice is often given liberally and freely by well-meaning relatives, friends, and sometimes even strangers. When you are having an issue with your child (potty training, sleep, tantrums, or anything else) it is difficult to know who to listen to or where to start. In this post, first I am going to share some of my suggestions about parenting that I find myself repeating frequently in consults with employees. Next, I am going to suggest some reliable websites for when you need to search for information on your own.
Parenting Suggestions from Lisa
1- Always rule out a physical cause of behavioral issues by speaking with or visiting your pediatrician. A child waking up in the middle of the night crying could be constipated. A child misbehaving at school might not be able to see the board. Once you rule out any physical cause for behavior change, then you can feel confident in trying new behavior management strategies.
2- Effective behavioral strategies often fail because parents try things that are not developmentally appropriate for their child. For example, sticker charts can be a great way to motivate behavior, but for preschoolers, the rewards or consequences need to be immediate—they can’t wait until the end of the week to earn a prize. In general, rewards for preschoolers need to be within a few hours. Elementary school age kids can wait until the end of the day or maybe a few days for rewards. Older kids can wait up to a week. The same applies to the duration of consequences.
3- For a reward or a consequence to work, it has to be meaningful, immediate, and consistent. What is meaningful to a child might change over and over!
4- Exercise and sunlight, good sleep and proper nutrition can improve almost everything.
5- Give your child 10 minutes of undivided attention as soon as you get home from work. It will buy you time afterwards to make dinner and do chores.
Reliable Websites for Parenting Advice
Healthychildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Babysleep.com from the Pediatric Sleep Council
Infoaboutkids.com from the Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth and Families
Effectivechildtherapy.com from the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
www.kidshealth.org from Nemours
https://www.parentfurther.com/ from Search Institute
https://nyulangone.org/locations/child-study-center/child-study-center-webinars from NYU Langone Health Child Study Center
Wonder about your favorite parenting website (that isn’t listed)? Check out this article on evaluating the reliability of parenting websites.