Terry's Tips

Terry’s Tips for Parenting Babies

Babies are wonderful! They will go through many changes in the first 18 months of life, from being totally dependent on their adult parents or care givers to talking and walking on their own. Parents of teens sometimes reminisce about these earlier, simpler times.

  1. Making your baby feel loved it the single most important thing a parent can do.
  2. Your child's needs are simple at this stage of development so be sensitive to their cries for hunger, pain, discomfort.
  3. All babies cry, and some cry for long periods of time.
  4. Don't worry about the old rule that you can spoil a baby by picking it up too much. Respond to their need to be soothed and feel safe.
  5. For help calming a new born baby, I highly recommend "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D. Written for parents with babies under 3 months of age.
  6. There is a fine line between joy and anger at this stage, so be cautious about over stimulating your baby. Five minutes is a good rule of thumb for 'fun'.
  7. Around six months, your baby may begin to develop fears. Loud sounds, new people, animals, or anything unknown may become problematic.
  8. Be sensitive to new fears and try to help your baby cope by slowly letting him/her approach these things until he/she is comfortable with them.
  9. Talk to you baby as often as you can even if you think he/she can't understand you.
  10. Engage in pretend conversations and pause to let you baby have his/her say. You'd be delighted at how your baby's talk has the exact cadence and intonation of English (or your language) even when the sounds don't make sense to anyone.
  11. Offer your crawling baby as many textures as possible for sensory stimulation and brain development. Going from carpeting to hardwood to tiles is great.
  12. Keep your house warm enough so that your almost walking baby can scrunch little toes on warm floors. Bare feet can grip better than stocking feet and your baby will develop strong foot muscles.

Terry’s Tips for Parenting Toddlers

Children at this age are beginning to define who they are. Parents will find that their children will assert themselves. The word 'no' will become part of their vocabulary. They want to be in control of what they do and don't do.

  1. Impulsivity is very difficult to control at this age so try not to get frustrated when your child continues to act out the same behavior even after you've intervened several times.
  2. Repeat lessons over and over again. It will begin to sink in eventually.
  3. Be prepared for emotional highs and lows - one minute they want you, the next they don't.
  4. Give your toddler lots of LOVE and security.
  5. Be careful in what you say about their abilities and appearance, for this can affect the way your child sees himself/herself.
  6. Don't worry about sex stereotyping at this age. Choice of toys does not reflect their sexual orientation or identity.
  7. When disciplining focus on good behavior, not on the child. Rather than saying 'Good boy/girl', try say 'Good sharing' OR 'Good work getting dressed.'
  9. For every negative comment you make, a child needs at least five positive comments to counter it. Toddlers take what we say very much to heart.
  10. ENCOURAGE your children to motivate them to behave.
  11. Be PATIENT with your child and know that their learning is very slow at this stage.
  12. Begin using 'time-out' to arrest negative behavior, rather than punishment.
  13. 'Time-outs' should be short and limited to the age of the child.
  14. Try using the 'One Minute Rule' for 'time-outs' - in other words use one minute for each year of age.

Terry’s Tips for Parenting Pre-Schoolers

Children at this stage of development are beginning to separate from the parents. They are beginning to understand that there are boundaries as to what they can and cannot do.

  1. Teach new lessons by repeating them over and over again.
  2. Be consistent in what you say and do.
  3. Set clear limits as to what they can and cannot do.
  4. Be fair.
  5. Children need a great deal of ENCOURAGEMENT in order to feel successful.
  6. Encourage what the child does. Get rid of the words in quotations "rather than who the child is." In other words rather than saying 'good girl' or 'good boy', try saying 'Good job setting the table.' Better yet, focus on who the child is BEING and say, "Thanks for being so helpful by setting the table."
  7. Make an effort to notice the good behavior, and minimize drawing attention to the bad.
  8. Encourage your child to celebrate his/her own successes, by saying "You must be so proud of yourself," rather than "I'm so proud of you."
  9. Children want your attention, so offer them positive reinforcement for their behavior, rather than focusing on poor behavior.
  10. Be PATIENT with your child and know that their learning is very slow at this stage.
  11. Begin using 'time-out' to arrest negative behavior, rather than punishment.
  12. 'Time-outs' should be short and limited to the age of the child.
  13. Try using the 'One Minute Rule' for 'time-outs' - in other words use one minute for each year of age.
  14. Use their mistakes as learning opportunities.

Terry’s Tips for Parenting School Aged Kids

Children at this age can do things for themselves. They need lots of love and affection, but may not want you showing it in front of their friends. They need to feel they have some control over their lives, but still need guidance.

  1. Be respectful of your child's differences. They are beginning to think separately from you and need to know it's OK to do so.
  2. Teach your child to make decisions for himself/herself.
  3. Allow logical consequences to be part of your strategy for choices your children have made.
  4. Remain CONSISTENT.
  5. Give your child lots of opportunities to be successful.
  6. Love your children for who they ARE, and not what they DO.
  7. Try and spend 30 minutes with your child, one-on-one each day.
  8. Respect that your child's opinions may differ from yours.
  9. Teach your child to count to 10 before he does anything. This will help him think things through and not give in to impulsive behavior.
  10. Acknowledge your child's feelings as real.
  11. Limit the lectures and listen to what your child has to say.
  12. Try and see things from your child's perspective.
  13. Continue to reinforce family rules and boundaries.
  14. Be a role model for successful behavior with your child.
  15. Strategize with you kids and have them be part of the solution instead of the problem.
  16. Give them some control by allowing them to make some decisions.
  17. When decisions they've made are poor, don't say "I told you so," instead ask them what they've learned from this experience. This encourages the child to not be afraid to try something new or different next time.
  18. Don't come to the rescue when the consequences of your children's choices don't work out. Teach them to be responsible for their decisions and actions.
  19. Encourage family values as often as you can. Express those values out loud with comments like, "I can see that Trisha is a really loyal friend to you. I admire that in a friend." OR "I think I'll make a lasagna for Mrs. Mavis next door. Her father passed away yesterday and I bet she doesn't feel like cooking. I think showing kindness to neighbours and friends is important."

Terry's Tips for Parenting Teens

Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. Right?

A recurring fear of parents with young children is that the teen years are going to be difficult and filled with conflict. Yet that doesn't have to be the case. Parenting teens can be very rewarding. While it may appear that they have withdrawn from you, in actual fact they very much need you to love them, respect them and support them. Try using the following strategies to connect with your teen.

  1. Listen attentively to what your teen is saying.
  2. Respect your teen's perspective.
  3. Try to understand what your teen is feeling and verbally acknowledge that.
  4. Be PATIENT with your teen.
  5. Be PATIENT with yourself.
  6. Problem solve together.
  7. Be consistent on all levels.
  8. Lecture less.
  9. Communicate your own feelings.
  10. Take a look at your situation and evaluate it on a scale of 1 - 10. Don't make everything a 10.
  11. Be affectionate with your teen. They may seem like they don't care, but they do. They NEED to know you love them.
  12. Add the following phrase to your vocabulary around your teens: "I really respect... about you." It will do wonders for their self-esteem and your relationship with them.
  13. Know that at this stage the peer group is of great importance. Continue to encourage family values.
  14. Encourage and verbalize positive behavior in your teen that demonstrates family values.
  15. Remember that these teen years are transition years between childhood and adulthood. They're difficult for them and for you.
  16. Remember what it was like being a teen yourself.
  17. Encourage your teen to talk by listening attentively, and not judging.
  18. Try understanding things from their perspective.

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