It’s a start of a new year! Why not start off with a positive parenting resolution? positive discipline parenting is a great way to deal with your child on a daily basis and handle conflict and difficult situations while keeping your cool and supporting your child’s independence and development.
Dr. Jane Nelson, author of the Positive Discipline series, initiated a great idea for this year on her blog. Using a new positive parenting tool every week! In support of this initiative and helping to spread support for parents on how to implement these tools in daily life. I’ll be blogging about the practical implementation of some of these tools from my personal experience and different references. Take a look of the full list of 52 positive parenting tips.
Week 1 – Listen
Week 2 – Encouragement
Week 3 – Connection Before Correction
Week 4 – Family Meetings
Week 5 – Compliments
Week 6 – Routines
Week 7 – Special Time
Week 8 – Take Time for Training
Week 9 – Validate Feelings
Week 10 – Positive Time Out
Week 11 – Jobs
Week 12 – Mistakes
Week 13 – 3 R’s of Recovery
Week 14 – Problem Solving
Week 15 – Limit Screen Time
Week 16 – Follow Through
Week 17 – Agreements
Week 18 – Focus On Solutions
Week 19 – Logical Consequences
Week 20 – Natural Consequences
Week 21 – Teach Children What to Do
Week 22 – Put Kids in the Same Boat
Week 23 – Allowances
Week 24 – Hugs
Week 25 – Wheel of Choice
Week 26 – Act Without Words
Week 27 – Understand the Brain
Week 28 – Back Talk
Week 29 – Winning Cooperation
Week 30 – Distract & Redirect
Week 31 – Decide What You Will Do
Week 32 – Practice
Week 33 – Empower Your Kids
Week 34 – Motivation
Week 35 – Kind and Firm
Week 36 – Pay Attention
Week 37 – Small Steps
Week 38 – Control Your Behavior
Week 39 – Sense of Humor
Week 40 – Silent Signals
Week 41 – Letting Go
Week 42 – Eye to Eye
Week 43 – Closet Listening
Week 44 – One Word
Week 45 – Show Faith
Week 46 – Break the Code
Week 47 – Avoid Pampering
Week 48 – Anger Wheel of Choice
Week 49 – Encouragement vs Praise
Week 50 – Limited Choices
Week 51 – Curiosity Questions
Week 52 – Mirror
Photo from Nameberry.com
Bonding with your baby can help you form a secure attachment that will last a life time. Attachment is a deep bond that is formed between the baby and his caregiver in the early years. This attachment can greatly affect your child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Babies who form a secure bond with their parent have a better chance of being trusting and supportive adults themselves later in life.
An attachment bond is formed based on your (or other primary caregiver’s) patterns of interaction with your infant. Your baby learns that she can depend on you when she experiences a pattern of consistently responsive and attentive behavior from you that fulfills her need for food, security, warmth or comfort. Your baby is then able to form a secure bond with you (or other primary caregivers that show the same behavior) and uses you as a secure base from which to confidently explore the world. A common example is taking your child to a new setting: initially your child may seem shy to explore. However, given time and positive support by the parent he eventually begins to wander and explore his surroundings, all the while returning to his parent and venturing out again. Repeating this cycle and increasing his zone of exploration every time as he remains confident that his parent will still be there and respond if any trouble occurs.
Some parents are worried about spoiling their child if they are responsive to their every demand. However, there’s a big difference between being responsive to your child’s needs and your child’s material wants. Giving your child love, warmth and responding to her cries helps establish a secure relationship by letting her know you will be there when she needs support. This is completely different from answering your child’s needs by giving toys, presents or other material objects. Children with secure attachment tend to be more independent, not less.
Secure children have been found to have better peer relations, handle conflict better, develop faster than insecure children, show less behavior problems and have more positive romantic relationships as adults. A child’s attachment bond is related to different factors but most importantly is how sensitive his parents (and other main caregivers) are to his needs. It’s important to know that children form different attachment bonds with different people depending on the adult’s behavior.
What You Can Do
- Try to learn your baby’s cues and expressions. Be responsive to your infants cries for warmth, food, comfort or reassurance.
- Pay attention and encourage positive signals from your baby as well. Like smiling, laughing and other happy baby noises. Notice the touches, sounds and expressions that your baby enjoys.
- Support your toddler positively. Give him the space needed to explore new activities and places while being there to support if things get too tough.
- Don’t be over intrusive with your child’s initiatives. Avoid taking over your child’s activity and being over involved. This will just push your child away.
- Try to find a balance between giving your child independence and support. Your child needs to know you will be there when she needs help.
- Communicate with your child and explain things. Why you will leave him at daycare? Where will you go? When will you return?. Make sure to stick to what you say!
- Be positive when correcting your child’s misbehavior or when offering your child help. This helps give your child a sense of confidence and positive self esteem.
Taking Care of You
- Make sure to get enough rest to have the energy to be responsive to your child. Ask friends or family to help you out from time to time.
- If you’re dealing with feelings of postpartum depression, make sure to get professional help or talk to your partner about your feelings. Depression can lead to frustration and other behaviors that can affect your bond with your baby. By taking care of yourself you’re putting your family’s health first as well.
- You don’t have to give up your job and stay home for your baby to have a secure attachment to you. What’s important is the quality and responsiveness you shown when you are with your baby. Make sure other caregivers in your baby’s life are on the same page with your parenting ideas to give your child a consistent experience.
- Remember to have fun! Laugh, talk and play with your baby every chance you get!
- Work on your marital relationship. Studies have found that parents who have a supportive spouse are more able to be responsive to their child’s needs and provide higher quality of care resulting in more security.
- Everything in this post is directed to fathers just as it is to mothers. Research has shown that fathers play a crucial role in their children’s development and that the father-child bond is an important factor in your child’s life.
- Working fathers may feel they aren’t spending enough time with their children. Try to engage your baby in any opportunity that presents itself. Bottle-feeding, changing diapers, and putting your baby to bed can all be great times to bond.
- Read, talk and sing to your baby and let her hear your voice. Take time to play and participate in your older child’s interests as well.
- Remember to be positive when correcting or redirecting your child. Research has shown that positive parenting is very effective in correcting unwanted behavior while maintaining your child’s positive self esteem and secure bond.
Read More On..
- Tips for Bonding with your Baby, by the U.S Department for Health and Human Services.
- More information on attachment and what more you can do to promote the bond here.
- More great practical tips on what you can do today to bond with your baby here.
Photo from salwa4ct
Every parent knows that their child is unique and different. Children differ in their development (early/late bloomers), abilities and strengths( some are great at ball games and others fine-motor activities like drawing) and interests (animals, vehicles, painting, etc..). Children also have their unique way of learning.
In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner argued that children don’t all learn the same way but that there are multiple ways to learning and several intelligences at work. Gardner also argues that intelligence is best expressed through our idea and products not a scored test. Unlike other intelligence measures, he also stated that culture is an important context of intelligence expression.
Gardner identified 8 intelligences. Each of us has all these intelligences in some form or the other. However, some are more dominant and obvious in our learning and expression.
- Musical Intelligence (“music smart”): The ability to think in music and audibly recognize and repeat patterns. The ability to create and communicate meaning through sound. Yes, musical abilities are considered a talent but they are also a form of intelligence. Certain parts in the brain aid in the production and perception of music. Expose your baby to music early on and explore her interest in playing an instrument. Rhymes and songs may make learning easier for your child. Famous examples: Mozart, Omar Khayrat. Child example: Akim Camara
- Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence (“body smart”): The ability to use your body for expression or solving a problem. These children learn best with hands on experience and experimentation. Try providing hobby or science kits as well as acting or role-playing. Examples include athletics, actors, performers, dancers and surgeons. Famous example: Charlie Chaplin.
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”): The capacity to think in a logical and systematic fashion. It’s associated with solving mathematical problems and the ability to think scientifically. It is often characterized by rapid problem solving and a nonverbal nature. Children can learn through experimentation, problem solving and logic games. Famous Example: Issac Newton.
- Linguistic Intelligence (“word smart”): The capacity to use words and language to express yourself. As well as, the ability to understand the people around you. People with this intelligence are sensitive to language and an ability to learn languages. They also use language as a means to remember information. Examples are poets, writers, public speakers and lawyers. Famous examples: Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Nizar Qabani
- Spatial Intelligence (“picture smart”): People with this intelligence think in terms of physical space. They like to draw, read maps, do jigsaw puzzles. May be interested in photography. These people learn best through drawing, verbal and physical imagery. Provide your child with creative material for learning and self expression. Examples are architects, photographers, graphic designers, artists. Famous example: Picasso. Child example: Aelita Andre
- Interpersonal Intelligence (“people smart”): Are good at understanding and interacting with others. They learn best through interaction, group activities and dialogue. Your child may learn best through discussion or through social interaction. Examples are teachers, therapists, politicians and leaders. Famous examples: Gandhi.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence (“self smart”): Have an understanding of their own interests and goals. They are able to self reflect and are in tune to their inner feelings. May prefer independent methods of learning. You can encourage your child to keep a journal, read books or learn from creative material such as hobby and experimental kits.Examples include counselors and philosophers. Famous examples: Plato.
- Naturalist Intelligence (“nature smart”): People with this intelligence are drawn to the natural world. They understand it very well and are able to work in it. They are able to learn through nature exploration. You can provide your child with outdoor exploration time, nature walks or keeping a pet. Some different ideas include having an ant farm or butterfly house. Examples include chefs, biologists, farmers, naturalists. Famous examples: Charles Darwin.
So What Does that Mean to You as a Parent?
It means that just because your child isn’t “good” at multiplying, it doesn’t mean that he is less intelligent than a child who is. It just means your child has a different intelligence strength. Try to find out what your child’s intelligence is and introduce other concepts through this point of interest. For example, a child who shows naturalist intelligence may not be as interested in reading stories, writing or geography. However, try introducing this child to books on animals, writing about a new species or learning about the different terrains that animals live in and you will probably see rapid interest and learning. This is because you addressed his prefered intelligence.
Young children can also benefit from understanding the many ways they are smart. Expose your child to different experiences; include music (real music not just children’s songs), books, give enough outdoor time to run, climb and explore nature, play with blocks and Lego, encourage self expression in words and art.
You can find Music for babies here! As well as great discovery kits for young children here!
For those interested in learning more about multiple intelligence and tools to implement in your home or classroom, the multiple intelligence institute offers online classes for both parents and teachers.
Picture from arthur-cha