Positive parenting and child development are essential partners in the parenting techniques we use to raise our children. We must use developmentally appropriate strategies that change as our children learn and grow. In this post, I will be discussing different developmental milestones of children and effective parenting strategies for each stage.
The Parenting Handbook: Positive Parenting and Child Development
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My first post in this series, The Parenting Handbook: Developing Positive Parent and Child Relationships was about building trust, having open and honest communication, and teaching positive behaviors. You can view the post by clicking on the link above. If you would like a list of 20 Positive Parenting Strategies That Work, be sure to subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this post for your FREE copy.
Today’s post is all about developmentally appropriate parenting strategies. I am focusing on the first 3 years, as these are the most crucial to child development. I will also include some helpful parenting tips for children of all ages toward the end of the post.
Positive Parenting and Child Development
Birth to 3 Months
Being in the outside world is a big adjustment for brand new babies. By caring for their needs, you are creating a strong bond with your baby. Your child is getting to know you and the world around them, and they are learning how to tell you what they need. This is the hardest part for parents. We must learn their signals and respond to the need accordingly. The best parenting strategies for early on is caring for their needs, love and comfort, as well as talking, soothing, and cuddling with your baby often.
3 to 6 Months
Children during this stage will start to discover their fingers and toes, move by rolling over, and play with toys that grab their attention. They will also start to communicate through facial expressions and sounds. There is nothing better than seeing that first smile and hearing that first laugh. Parents should offer tummy time and other positions to encourage movements such as rolling over and sitting up. I love the play mats you can buy because they offer a safe space for moving while engaging a child’s attention with the different toys and textures. Here are some great examples you can purchase through Amazon. Just click on the picture to view the products:
The best parenting strategy for this stage is communicating. Talk, sing, read, and respond in conversation to their noises. Your baby is learning the ins and outs of language development through your conversations with them.
6 to 12 Months
This is when parenting gets really interesting! Your child is learning to crawl, walk, and explore. Baby proofing is a must to keep them safe. Communication is still key at this stage as they are learning how to say words. Teach them how to say different things they point to or pick up. Besides language development, parents should also focus on teaching their child through sensory play. How things feel when you touch them, how things smell or taste. They can learn about the world around them by using their senses.
1 to 2 Years
Language development continues to be a major milestone at this stage, along with problem solving skills, expressing and understanding emotions. Your child will learn how to put words together to form simple sentences, and will begin expressing themselves. They will want to begin doing things independently. Give them just enough help so that they succeed. When you see your child is frustrated, angry, sad, happy, excited, and so on, help them put these feelings into words. Encourage exploration and pretend play to ignite their imagination.
2 to 3 Years
During this stage, children are learning how to interact with others. It is important that you teach social skills, offer encouragement when they are doing well and re-direction when needed. Parents must give their child opportunities to play with other children their age, whether at the playground, by scheduling play dates, or with family members. Offer an encouraging smile or word of praise when they are sharing and playing well with others. Help them problem solve and understand how their friends are feeling. If they are having trouble sharing, offer a solution of taking turns or playing something they can both participate in. If the other child is upset, prompt your child with how they seem to be feeling and help them remedy the situation if they’ve done something wrong. For example, if your child was playing too rough, point out that the other child doesn’t like to play that way and suggest a gentler activity.
Educational Resources for Young Children
In addition to teaching social and emotional skills, you should also focus on age appropriate learning activities. You can find tons of hands on activities and crafts on Pinterest that encourage early learning skills. View my Learning Activities, Quiet Time Activities, and Crafts boards for some inspiration. Educational toys are also a fun way for children to learn. Here are some great toys you can find on Amazon. Click on the picture to view the items:
Summary of Parenting Strategies for the First 3 Years
Here is a list of the parenting strategies discussed above you can reference at a glance:
- Learn your child’s signals and respond to the need accordingly.
- Give love and comfort by talking, soothing, and cuddling your child often.
- Communicate by talking, singing, and responding in conversation to their noises.
- Baby proof your home for safe exploration.
- Teach your child how to say the different things they point to or pick up.
- Teach them through sensory play and using their senses.
- Encourage Independence by giving just enough help so that they succeed.
- Help your child put their feelings into words.
- Encourage exploration and pretend play.
- Teach social skills, problem solving skills and redirect behaviors when necessary.
- Offer opportunities for your child to play with other children.
- Teach through age appropriate learning activities, crafts, and educational toys.
Positive Parenting Strategies for All Ages
If your children are older, here are some parenting strategies you can use with your kids, no matter what age they are.
- Model the behavior you want to see.
- You can never be too loving.
- Be there for your children; be involved in their life.
- Use parenting strategies that best fit your child’s personality. Be flexible and willing to change if your methods are not working and as your child learns and grows.
- Have set rules and consequences and explain why these rules are important.
- Be consistent with your expectations
- Show respect to your children by speaking kindly, valuing their opinions, and actively listening while they are talking.
- It is important that your child feels safe to express their thoughts and how they are feeling. Teach them how to express their emotions in healthy ways, and that they should never hold big feelings inside.
- Encourage Independence by allowing your child opportunities to do things for themselves whenever possible.
- When your child makes a mistake, use it as a learning experience and teach them what they should have done or how they should have responded. Be sure they understand that everyone makes mistakes and that its OK, but that they also learn something in the process.
Child Development Resources
If you are looking for more information about child development, here are some resources you may find helpful. Just click on the image:
Additional Resources for Positive Parenting
If your goal is to create a more positive relationship with your children and to learn more about positive discipline techniques, I encourage you to check out these resources on Amazon. Just click on the image to see the resource:
If you missed the first post in this series, you can read it here: The Parenting Handbook: Developing Positive Parent and Child Relationships. And if you are looking for positive discipline techniques, check out my post: The Discipline Techniques That Really Work.
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