If you ask a parent what their hopes are for their children, you’ll probably get variations of the same answer—to be happy, healthy, and thriving individuals. The question is, how do you make that loving aspiration a reality for your little one?
Regardless of the strategies you choose to use, you might still find yourself wondering how to be a good parent. Good news—wondering that alone already means you’re consciously doing what you can to ensure your little one’s success, and that’s excellent.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what healthy parenting is and provide you with four healthy parenting tips you can start implementing today.
What Is Healthy Parenting?
There’s no doubt that healthy parenting is a full-time job, as it involves many aspects of your young child’s life as well as your own. In a nutshell, healthy parenting means:1
- Being a positive role model for your children
- Helping your kids develop positive character traits, such as kindness, compassion, fairness, respect, and resilience (to name a few!)
- Nurturing every part of your child, including their intellectual, mental, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing
Healthy parenting is important for your family (and yourself) because it helps you build deeper, more meaningful relationships with your children as they grow. They’re also more likely to develop integral skills, such as:
- Empathizing with others
- Being honest
- Practicing effective communication
- Learning to be self-reliant
4 Healthy Parenting Tips
Sadly, parenting doesn’t come with an official manual, but you can find some useful tips from trusted resources. We’ve compiled a list of four tips to help you on your healthy and positive parenting journey:2
#1 Spend Time With Your Children
Life can get busy when we’re in a hurry, and sometimes we overlook the needs of others as we try to finish everything on our own to-do list. But number one on your “Be The Best Parent Possible” list? Spending time with your child.
As they grow and change, your little one may not always remind you that they want to spend time with you. That’s why it’s critical that you prioritize time for them each day.
During your time together, remember these tips:
- Let them be your sole focus when you’re together.
- Limit distractions such as cell phones, televisions, or intrusive thoughts about work or other things you have on your plate.
- Actively listen as you talk and play with them. Use positive language and show them that you’re present and that you cherish this special time together.
#2 Be a Positive Role Model
Parenting is a little bit like a never-ending game of “Monkey See, Monkey Do” with your little monkey. What you do, they’ll want to do.
Much of your child’s behavior is learned from those closest to them (a.k.a. you), so they’re more likely to imitate your behaviors. If you’re quick to anger, they might be too, whereas if you communicate your feelings calmly and rationally, they’re more likely to handle their frustrations in a positive way.
Why is communicating with your child important? There are a number of reasons, but maintaining overall good communication helps develop a positive parent-child relationship and makes it easier to talk through more difficult topics with them.
Remember to focus on the positive traits you want them to learn. You can model by example by remembering the following suggestions:
- Showing kindness to others
- Being patient when you’re frustrated
- Offering gratitude when someone does something nice to you
- Treating others (and your children) the way you’d like to be treated
#3 Be Flexible With Your Parenting Style
Thanks to the internet (as well as friends and family who have their own opinions), parents often have a mental road map for how their children should behave at certain stages in their lives, e.g. “They should be potty trained by this age…they should “know better” by that age.”
What Google and your family may not always remember is that every child is unique and learns at their own pace. As they’re expanding their wings and experimenting with what’s okay and what’s not, try to be flexible and remember these tips:
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and your little one. Give them (and yourself) a little patience and grace while they’re learning new skills and testing their boundaries.
- As they grow, you’ll likely alter your parenting style to meet their needs. What worked six months ago might not work now, and that’s okay.
- Sometimes changing their environment can improve a certain behavior. For example, if they continue to touch the remote on the couch after you’ve asked them not to, try moving the remote. It makes the remote off limits, and once it’s out of sight, they’re more likely to move on to something new (and hopefully child-friendly).
#4 Show Them Your Love is Unconditional
As a parent, you’re the voice of reason and are responsible for guiding and helping your children, even when they have outbursts. Instead of blaming them or criticizing them for their behavior, try to nurture and inspire them to do better next time. This positive discipline helps you and your young child develop a healthy relationship and a stronger emotional connection.
What matters is that they know you love them through the good times (and the not-so-good times.)
#5 Take Care of Yourself, Too
Have you ever traveled by plane? While reviewing flight safety procedures, flight attendants provide a lot of necessary flight safety directions, but there’s one instruction that sticks out—in case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Why?
In order to provide support to others, you first have to take care of yourself. Of course, this applies on an airplane, but it’s also useful in other areas of your life, like parenting.
Although you might feel like you want to do everything perfectly for your little one, consider the concept of being a “good enough” parent. In 1953, psychocanalyst D.W. Winnicott created the idea that instead of aiming to be a perfect parent, you instead try to be good enough3. But what does that mean?
If your child feels safe and loved and you’re meeting their physical and emotional needs, you’re doing everything you can for your little one. So instead of focusing on perfection and leaving no time or energy for yourself, give yourself time to take care of your social, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs.
Here are a few ways you can sprinkle self-care into your routine:4
- Pamper yourself with a relaxing spa day
- Experiment with a new fitness routine
- Give yourself an hour to lie down with a good book and read after the kids go to sleep
- Grab lunch with your friends
- Write in your journal and self-reflect on your experiences over the past week or month
- Sit back, take a deep breath, and speak one of your favorite affirmations
If you need help making the time for yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support.
Let Slumberkins Become Part of Your Healthy Parenting Routine
Whether your little one is still in diapers or already in school, now is a perfect time to reflect on your current healthy parenting skills and implement a few new ones. And you don’t have to do this alone.
Slumberkins understands that it takes a village to raise happy and healthy children, and we’re ready to be part of your village. We’ve created tools you can use with your kiddos that complement your good parenting skills. From social-emotional learning books to fun and fluffy Kins that encourage self-esteem and gratitude, we’ve got plenty of ways to help your family thrive.
- Peterson, Tanya. "What Is Good Parenting?" Healthy Place. https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-skills-strategies/what-is-good-parenting
- "9 Steps to More Effective Parenting." Kids Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nine-steps.html
- Sacks, Alexandra. "The Good Enough Mother." Medium. 4 May, 2018. https://medium.com/@alexandrasacks/the-good-enough-mother-ab19fd7dad06
- "9 essential self-care tips for busy moms." Kaiser permanente. https://wa-health.kaiserpermanente.org/self-care-tips-for-busy-moms/