Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever have but also the most rewarding. Hindsight is a wonderful thing so we decided to survey some of our members to create a list of the Top Ten Parenting Tips of All Time.
We reached out to some of our Tiny Steps Kids community to ask what they would change about their parenting if they went back in time and did it all over again.
The results of the survey have generated some next-level parenting tips. So if you’ve just started your parenting journey and are in need of some inspiration from likeminded parents then this blog is just for you.
#1: Let Them Fail on Their Own Two Feet
We all learn by trial and error and our young children are no different.
As a parent, the hardest aspect of raising a child is being there for them when they need us most.
To keep them protected and safe from harm is very important and there was an underlying response from our members that children need to learn how to stand on their own two feet. Sometimes without the supportive hand of mum and dad.
Lots of our community commented that they were always there for their children. But often right up to the point where they literally don’t have to worry about doing anything for themselves.
Many commented that they wished they'd allowed their child to find their own solutions and at times fail if necessary.
There are long term benefits for your child if you allow them to try and find solutions to problems alone.
As a parent, you need to make a call on the danger of the task at hand. If your child is learning how to do something that may be harmful, then you, of course, want to be there for them at every step of the journey. But if your child is learning something less dangerous, perhaps how to clean their bedroom, or for older children how to use the washing machine, there really isn’t any benefit in you dominating their learning.
Think ‘is my child in danger here?’ when you decide on how to support their learning.
#2: Be Consistent About Television and Tablet Time on the Internet
All parents agreed that children as young as 2.5 years old would happily sit in front of cartoons and YouTube all day if allowed!
That is rather frightening for parents. As much as television and learning apps can be beneficial for your child to learn, they need to be moderated (time and safety).
There were lots of comments about using their mobile phones too much in front of their children.
Toddlers quickly understand that if mum and dad are on their phones, there should be no reason why they can’t have cartoons on a tablet too.
Try to keep key parts of the day technology-free.
Many apps now have social responsibility timers. Use them to ensure that your children are not having too much time in front of a tablet.
#3: Learn How to Understand the Drivers Behind Your Child’s Tantrums
Children have tantrums because they are either tired, scared, hungry, or want your attention. Don’t confuse tantrums with illness as they are both very different signs of distress.
Tantrums can also often be related to key developmental milestones. You can learn more about these developmental milestones in our Parenting Tips For Babies And Toddlers blog.
#4: Teach Them Early What Kindness Means
Try to teach your child that entitlement is not a trait they want to take into adulthood.
As soon as possible teach your little person what manners mean. How to treat people with respect. How acts of kindness can make them feel warm inside.
In everyone’s class at school there was always an unpopular entitled child. A child that has been spoilt rotten by their parents – don’t let that be your child.
#5: Bedtime Means Bedtime
Interestingly, bedtime was a hot topic for our parents.
Almost every community member that participated in the survey agreed that bedtime rituals were one of the most important times of the day.
Those parents without a bedtime routine commented that their child’s behaviour at bedtime was difficult. Not having a bedtime ritual hampers a child's ability to settle properly at night time.
#6: Don’t Be Afraid of Asking for Help From Friends and Family
Almost half of our members admitted they didn’t feel comfortable asking for help from friends and family because it would like they were not coping.
Parenting, especially in those first few years, is a very exhausting and tiring event in the lives of a couple. Always seek help if you don’t feel like you are not coping.
#7: Join Baby Clubs and Use Other Online Resources
It was lovely to receive feedback from our community about all the free Baby Club resources available online. Most parents agreed that using Baby Club resources helped them learn about different facets of parenting and parenthood.
It was also noted that Mums found online forums especially useful in those early years to help bounce ideas and seek help to other likeminded parents.
Remember to register with the Baby Clubs (the best ones are always free) and seek out advice on other online forums and groups.
Always be sensible and safe when using online forums and support groups. Never share any personal data or phone numbers unless you are 100% sure the forum is moderated properly and safe.
#8: You Can’t Spoil a Baby With Too Much Love
Looking back, lots of members wished they had spent more time spoiling their baby. Remember that time goes by very quickly when you have a new baby.
It might not feel like that at the time, but many members wished they had spent more time with their baby, rather than adopting a ‘let’s get through the day’ mentality.
You can’t spoil a little baby with too much love and cuddles.
#9: There Is No “Right” Time to Wean Your Baby Onto Solid Food
The internet is full of advice on when to Start Weaning your baby. It can be a very confusing time for parents, especially if you are caring for your first baby.
We received lots of advice about weaning. A common theme on the subject was to trust your instincts and your baby’s behaviours as you approach the recommended six-month age.
Try not to set a rigid six-month date for weaning because there is no ‘right’ time to wean your baby onto solid foods. All babies are individual and will develop at different speeds.
#10: Trust Your Parenting Instincts
No one else knows your children as well as you do, as their parent. There is nobody better qualified to raise your child than you.
Don't waste time concerning yourself with people that judge how you decide to raise your child. Remember that mother nature has given you maternal instincts that are extremely powerful.
When your instincts tell you something about your child always listen to them. Never ever dismiss your feelings based on medical opinions, what you read online (apart from these top ten parenting tips!), or what friends or family advise.
No one in the whole world knows more about what is best for your child than you. Never forget that.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the Tiny Steps Kids Community memebers that took time out of their busy schedules to participate in our 'Top Ten Parenting Tips' survey. We are positive these short punchy tips will make a real difference to lots of new parents - thank you!
You can read more of our Parenting Tips for Babies And Toddlers right over here.