The Children’s Trust Fund in partnership with the University of Missouri Extension is pleased to provide you with valuable advice from experts in the fields of child development and education, through our Positive Parenting Tips. There are now two easy ways to get these tips, through your mobile device or email. To receive text messages, simply text CTF4Kids to 74574. OR if you would rather receive tips in your inbox, simply click here to fill out the email subscription form.
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Each parenting tip text will focus on short, research-based tips related to the Protective Factors known to increase family strengths. Each tip will be posted below along with a related fact and growth point for encouragement and reinforcement. For additional resources, check out the University of Missouri Extension’s MissouriFamilies.org.
Tip 83: Explosive kids can be frustrating. Two tips: help them label their emotions & come up with options for how to handle feelings in the future
Fact: Many times teaching children to take a pause instead of reacting right away can help them. Even counting to 10 can help!
Growth: Don’t expect the solutions your kids come up with to be as logical as yours, but work with them to build on these ideas.
Tip 82: When you have a rule, be flexible, but don’t give in simply because a child is whining or crying. This teaches kids that complaining works.
Fact: Try having a family meeting & discuss rules & why you have them. Allow kids to discuss rules they feel are important.
Growth: When children feel like they are heard, they are more likely to follow the rules you both set in place.
Tip 81: For at least 5 minutes today, think about what your child’s day was like. Try to see things from their shoes.
Fact: By putting your child’s shoes on, you are better able to develop empathy and understanding about their stressors and needs.
Growth: Each child and each generation is unique, finding the ability to understand others perspective is a key tool to have as a child and adult.
Tip 80: Next time you need your child to change a behavior immediately, focus on the process and being polite in the moment, not the end result.
Fact: When we want our child to be quiet, snapping at them to be quite will not change their behavior long-term, instead, focus on the process of describing why you need a change.
Growth: In the end, the way you choose to interact with your child in the moment is often more important than the end result.
Tip 79: Next time your child spills milk or brings you a drawing, try describing what you see and how it makes you feel. Kids learn from you!
Fact: Names and labels can make a child feel anxious, like being “clumsy” or “lazy”, instead, describe what you see and use it as a teachable moment.
Growth: When we describe what we see to our children, they are more likely to believe that we understand them and are interested in their lives.
Fact: Empathy is a key ingredient in the future success of your child, and is something they may not learn about in school. Show compassion.
Growth: Just having conversations about how others might feel can help strengthen your child’s ability to show empathy.
Tip 78: Give your child a small chore to do this week. Small responsibilities lead to feelings of accomplishment
Fact: Remember the purpose of doing things with your kids is to strengthen your relationship.
Growth: Young kids may need help with chores. Work together & ask questions while you work.
Tip 77: When a misbehavior occurs with another child, ask your child how they think the other child feels?
Fact: Helping your child imagine what another child feels will help develop empathy and consider others’ emotions.
Growth: When reading stories with kids, ask them questions. Ask how characters might feel and why.
Tip 76: Remember to use manners when playing with your child. Set the example. They are always watching.
Fact: Children model many of our behaviors. When we are playing with our children, it is important to model what kind of behaviors we want to see from them.
Growth: It might seem hard when stressed to use kind manners, but this will go a long way in teaching children the best way to interact with others.
Tip 75: What are some rituals you can incorporate into your child’s day? Maybe singing to them as they wake up? Maybe a lunch note?
Fact: Children do best with stability and predictability, especially when they predict good things to happen.
Growth: Bedtime rituals can help your child fall asleep faster and sleep better! Try reading a story.
Fact: When parents and children get stressed, it is hard to see others perspectives, and we have the tendency to think our way or the highway.
Fact: Dinner can be a challenging time, especially for young kids, but did you know over 75% of fights at the dinner table are about preferences?
Growth: Do not worry too much on arguing over your preferences. If it’s not a fundamental value of your family, is it really worth arguing about?
Tip 74: Remember when talking with your child about bad behavior to avoid words like always or never.
Tip 73: How have you worked on fostering your connection with your child today?
Fact: Many times parents feel like all they are doing is correcting bad behavior, this can become overwhelming for both you and your child.
Growth: We all want caring children. When you build a strong connection and bond with children, teaching takes place instead of correction.
Fact: Researchers have found the best predictor of children’s academic and overall success in life is not their IQ, but instead, their emotional intelligence!
Growth: Remember to explore your children’s emotions with them, and teach them how to best handle them.
Growth: Getting comfortable with emotions does not mean excusing bad behavior. It is important to separate emotions and behaviors.
Tip 72: This week, review all the support your children are getting in their socioemotional development. Is there anything more you or others can be doing to help them?
Fact: Each child is unique and have their own strengths and weaknesses, if your child is diagnosed with any special needs, it is very important to get them all the support they need.
Growth: Many times children just want parents to respond positively to their emotions. This can be the difference between a tantrum and a fun day.
Tip 71: Today, use your emotional mirror. If your child comes home very excited, match that excitement level.
Fact: Many times children just want parents to respond to their emotions with the right reaction. This key moment can be the difference between a tantrum and a fun day.
Growth: When you hold up your emotional mirror, it will make it easy to teach children later on, this teaching will help avoid any tantrums or future correction.
Tip 70: Recall the phrase: Good for them, not for me, when you feel yourself or your children judging others
Fact: Be an example to your children. Teaching children respect is one of the primary goals of being a parent. They must see it from you.
Growth: It can be easy to make fun of others for being different, but we all need to avoid this and model respect to our children
Tip 69: When your child is hitting another sibling, firmly tell them we do not hit our siblings, and ask them what is bothering them.
Fact: When children fight, attacking the child for his/her actions will not help prevent future arguments. When children fight, attacking the child for his/her actions will not help prevent future arguments.
Growth: When you talk through issues children are having, you are able to offer alternate ways for them to handle their conflict.
Tip 68: Next time your child throws a tantrum, take three deep breaths and try responding in a more friendly tone.
Fact: Fighting anger with anger usually leads to a lose-lose situation for you and your child.
Growth: Avoid teaching children lessons during a tantrum. Wait for them to calm down. Remember connection before correction.
Tip 67: By observing your child, try to figure out which love message they most appreciate and start giving them this type of love.
Fact: There are many ways to show your love for your child, some might like more showing of love, others want to be told, and others might want a touch to feel loved
Growth: When children feel the love you share as a parent, the emotional bond between you two will strengthen.
Tip 66: Sometime this week, try to label your child’s emotion or ask them questions on how they are feeling next time they are upset
Fact: Dismissing feelings can happen frequently with busy parents. Telling children to “just get over it” is hurtful.
Growth: Being open to your children’s emotions will help them feel more comfortable coming to you in times of need.
Tip 65: Answer your child’s request with agreeing with how amazing it would be to grant that dream.
Fact: Grant in fantasy what you can’t grant in reality. It’s more important that your child knows you heard them than granting what they want.
Growth: Showing you understand your child’s request and not just dismissing it will help prevent tantrums in public.
Growth: Remember, no matter how many times children want to show you something, show your excitement.
Growth: By calming down before a discussion, both parents and children are better able to learn from one another.
Fact: Timeouts should not be used just to punish children. They can be times of instruction and connection. Connection before correction.
Tip 64: Use a timeout to calm yourself and your child down before trying to teach them about the mistake they made.
Growth: Reinforce good social skills by complimenting your children when they greet others and act appropriatly in front of strangers.
Fact: Do not just tell kids life skills are important. Describe WHY these skills are important now and in the future.
Tip 63: Once in awhile, talk to your child about life skills you find important (e.g., taking turns and manners).
Growth: Devloping a child’s ability to problem solve is an important life skill. If you solve all of their problems, they may not learn problem-solving skills.
Fact: Instead of saying “that’s a dumb idea”, invite kids to explain, create a list of their options and talk it through with them to find a solution.
Tip 62: Involve your children in problems solving. Ask them what they believe is the best solution to a struggle or challenge.
Growth: Just as you remember how good it was when your parents repsonded positively to you, try to do that with your child.
Fact: When you respond positively to your children, it actually boosts their brain development and helps buffer them against later stressors in life.
Tip 61: This week, if you feel like yelling at your child, just remember how important your love and positivity is to their future success.
Growth: When you show your child you are interested, they are more likely to open up to you later.
Fact: Instead of asking kids, “How was school?,” just ask them specifically what they did today.
Tip 60: Today, make it a goal to find out everything you can about your child’s day.
Growth: Remember, no emotion is a wrong emotion to have, every time a child shows an emotion, it opens up a time to teach!
Tip 59: Try to not just say “No” all the time to your children, try to hear them out. Remember, before you say no, ask yourself, why not?
Tip 58: Children usually feel pain and hunger more severely then adults do. Try to be aware of this next time you think your child might be overreacting.
Tip 57: Even if we believe that our own childhood was easier and we were better behaved, it is important to remember kids today live in a much different world.
Growth: When we are better able to understand the context our children grow up in, we are better able to show more empathy.
Tip 56: Next time you feel stressed about your child, try to think of how you can help manage the situation better in the future.
Tip 55: When your child gets in trouble, try to avoid Why questions, instead ask what is going on, try to label their emotion, and come up with a solution with them.
Fact: Many kids can’t explain why they misbehaved. Asking them “why” questions stresses them out & is rarely helpful.
Tip 54: Write a list of three things this week that you are thankful for, related to your kids. Tell them throughout the week some of the items on your list.
Fact: Showing appreciation for small tasks your kids do can be hard during a busy day, but making time for this will help your kids feel better.
Growth: Children are more likely to repeat good behavior when they know parents notice it & realize how proud parents are of them.
Tip 53: Next time a disagreement occurs, try to not see it from your side or their side, write out what a third party would say is the most fair solution.
Growth: Particularly when parents get stressed, it is hard for them to see any other perspectives but their own. Try to see others perspectives.
Tip 52: Next time a disagreement occurs, try to not see it from your side or their side, write out what a third party would say is the most fair solution.
Growth: Particularly when parents get stressed, it is hard for them to see any other perspectives but their own. Try to see others perspectives.
Tip 51: Today, when you want a task to be completed, try using humor instead of yelling.
Fact: Humor can be a powerful tool with all parents. When screaming and yelling has not worked try using humor to teach.
Growth: Using humor will keep chores light and make them seem to go by faster for both children and parents.
Tip 50: Next time you go grocery shopping with your child, give them something they would want to play with while at the store.
Fact: Instead of fighting with children, try using distraction as a way to prevent future conflict.
Tip 49: Next time you take your child out with you, try to have a minute of face-to-face time before entering the grocery store or mall.
Fact: All children want attention from their parents, and when they do not get this, they might act out to get it.
Tip 48: What is an appropriate consequence to a child not getting up fast enough in the morning? How about: Rise and Shine, or get left behind!
Fact: Punishing is not always the answer when children misbehave. Using consequences instead of punishment can help shape children’s behaviors.
Growth: Consequences help teach children to view how their choices impact their lives. Punishments might make your child hide these behaviors.
Tip 47: Write down at least 3 rules you think you can let slide that you constantly are fighting with your child about.
Fact: When parents set too many rules, their child might become overwhelmed with everything they have to follow.
Growth: When parents let the smaller things slide, they are better able to focus on enforcing the more important rules.
Tip 46: When your child comes to you & they are upset, express sympathy & then help them label their emotion before resolving the issue.
Fact: By showing understanding to children, they are more likely to behave better and reduce conflict between you and them.
Growth: By labeling emotions, your child will feel that these emotions are normal and be better able to process them.
Tip 45: With your child, write down the steps needed to complete a task. Then work together to tackle a task or chore.
Tip 44: Next lunch time, let your child decide how they want their sandwhich cut, or what kind of sandwhich they want.
Fact: Your child will do best when he or she develops their own confidence in making decisions, this can start with very simple tasks that allow them to be in charge.
Growth: By starting with small choices, kids will develop a sense of confidence they will apply to other parts of their lives.
Tip 43: Directly praise your child for their unqiueness, find a different strength in each of them today.
Fact: Each of your children is an individual. By accepting and finding the positives in each child, they will feel better about themselves.
Growth: Even if you think comparing children in school is motivating, this can backfire and is more likley to make a child feel discouraged.
Tip 42: This week, let your child pick an activity and participate in it with them, this will help build an emotional bond with them.
Fact: Remember, it is connection over correction, not vice versa. Are you spending more time building a connection or correcting your child?
Growth: Schedule brief weekly or monthly times for just one-on-one time with your child doing something they enjoy.
Tip 41: Go to your local library or a reliable internet source and look-up what to expect at specific age groups. A good example is Parenting 24/7 on the web or Facebook.
Fact: Wouldn’t it be great if children would listen and not cry?! As great as that would be, remember that you were also a child once!
Growth: By understanding appropriate expectations for children, you are better able to meet their needs and understand their perspective.
Tip 40: Make time for 9! When your child wakes up, spend 3 minutes with them snuggling or tickling their back. This helps the morning go better.
Fact: Parenting is no easy job, no one is a perfect parent. But there are plenty of times throughout the day to improve our relationships.
Tip 39: This week, find a time to show your child love in the way they prefer the most.
Fact: Every child has a unique way they like to be loved. Some like to be shown love, some told, and some touched.
Growth: By understanding each child’s specific love language, you can make sure your love & affection are being seen and absorbed by your children.
Tip 38: Teach your child about alternatives to their actions that got them in trouble. For example, they could draw on paper instead of drawing on the wall.
Fact: Getting angry every time a child makes a mistake can be harmful to them and make them less willing to explore the world and try new things.
Tip 37: Next time a problem arises say something like, “That must be really frustrating”, or “I can see why you are upset”. Try to show understanding before you solve.
Fact: Understanding should always come before advice. As parents we want to quickly resolve our children’s problems. This might not be best for them all the time.
Growth: Showing understanding will let children know you are focused on problem-solving WITH them, not FOR them.
Tip 36: All children do something well, find a compliment to give your child when they are playing with a friend or sibling.
Fact: Showing encouragement and appreciation to children during good playtime will make it more likely they will continue these behaviors.
Growth: After every positive social interaction or completed task, express your appreciation to your child. Compliments never become old!
Tip 35: This week, try to build a fort or play outside with your child. Spending at least 9 minutes per day with your child makes all the difference.
Fact: Young children can learn a lot from exploring their envionrment and playing. Just as school is important for learning, so is playing for young kids.
Growth: Try to incorporate some play time into children’s day. You do not need a big yard to play; play can be done anywhere!
Tip 34: If it is your child’s job to take out the trash, don’t demand your child take out the trash, instead point out the trash is getting full.
Fact: It’s hard for children to successfully complete a task when parents are constantly demanding things of them.
Growth: As reminders to your children of the chores they have, try to describe what needs to be completed, not demanding they do it.
Tip 33: Overscheduling activities can cause family stress. Remember u don’t have to say yes to every event. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Even kids need a breather sometimes. When pushed too hard they can suffer physically and emotionally. Source: Real Simple
Tip 32: Kids model behavior they see. Think about this in relation to driving & other responsibilities. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Injuries can be prevented by not only telling your kids how to do things, but showing them in a positive way. Source: National Safety Council
Tip 31: Encourage creativity in ur kids, not just for fun. It can help them reach developmental milestones. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: art helps young children develop fine-tuned motor skills, and it impacts visual learning, language development, decision making and cultural awareness. Source: Child Development Institute
Tip 30: Talk to ur kids about when it’s OK 2 use cell phones for talk, text & other things & when it’s not. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: It’s important to remember that children with cell phones may not have the maturity to make good decisions about how they use phones without an adult’s guidance. Source: SafeKids.com
Tip 29: Stay calm with ur kids. Children of anxious parents are more likely to exhibit anxiety themselves. CTF4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Kids look to their parents for information about how to interpret ambiguous situations; if a parent seems consistently anxious and fearful, the child will determine that a variety of scenarios are unsafe. Source: Child Mind
Tip #28: Daily routines & rituals such as nap time & mealtime with positive feelings are a comfort for kids. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: When children have consistent and predictable routines, they know that they can count on you with a sense of security. Source: Missouri Families
Tip #27: Find an activity that excites your child and encourage their special interest, to boost motivation. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Your support can give them the extra confidence they need to really get into an activity that they love. Source: ParentFurther
Tip #26: It’s National Safety Month, a great time 2 talk to your kids about being safe outdoors and at home. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: There are many accidents and injuries that can be avoided with quick reminders to kids. Source: National Safety Council
Tip #25: Teaching your kids to lead healthy lifestyles should also include early substance abuse prevention. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Opening the lines of communication with your child, about things such as drugs and alcohol, can help keep those lines open when they’re older. Source: SAMHSA
Tip #24: Teaching kids responsibility takes a long time. Know that going in and be patient. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Household and other types of responsibility can be overwhelming to a child. Give them the time and assistance they need in learning to fend for themselves. Source: ParentFurther
Tip #23: Be aware of your tone and body language when talking to your child. CTF4Kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Young children have a heightened awareness of emotions. Source: PBS Kids
Tip #22: Pay attention to how other parents interact with their kids. U can learn a lot, both good and bad. Ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Children thrive in an orderly world with reasonable rules. Source: Office of Child Development
Tip #21: Battling misbehavior doesn’t have to be stressful. There are fun ways to turn bad behavior around. Ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Guiding through activities and interaction can be a great way for kids to have hands on learning, while also getting in some family bonding time. Source: CDC
Tip #20: A key to parenting can be spotting potential risky behaviors and preventing them before they arise. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Stopping risky behaviors before it begins will ensure a child won’t fall victim to accidents or addictions that can take hold quickly. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Tip #19: Kids may want to talk at inconvenient times. Stop what you’re doing and listen. Show you care. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: You want to be available for you child when they’re ready to tell you things. Placing a high level of importance on your child’s desire to chat about something gives them a better path to open communication and makes them more likely to share more details. Source: Missouri Families
Tip #18: Parenting is 1/2 natural 1/2 learned. Understand child growth to know when not to expect too much. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Understanding child development can be key to keeping frustration at bay. When you know the milestones your child should be reaching, you can better understand their behavior. If you know a less than pleasant behavior is normal you may be less likely to stress about it. Source: Protective Factors
Tip #17: The National Parent Helpline provides emotional support 24/7. Call 1-855-4APARENT if you need help. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: From time to time, parents feel overwhelmed or need someone to listen to them. Source: National Parent Helpline
Tip #16: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Use parenting resources to build Strong Families, Safe Kids. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Parenting is difficult, but there are resources across Missouri to help parents and caregivers who may be struggling. When a parent or caregiver doesn’t get the assistance they need, intervention may be necessary. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, Missouri offers a hotline # at 1-800-392-3738. It’s everyone’s responsibility to report situations in which you feel a child is in danger. Source: MO DHSS
Tip #15: Kids can be tricked into thinking they’re talking to friends online. Educate them on cyber safety. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Confusing information can make it hard for kids to behave responsibly in cyberspace. Kids should know what information should be off limits online, even if they think they’re communicating with a friend. Source: CyberTipline
Tip #14:In winter don’t use extra blankets in the crib. It can block baby’s airway. Get safe sleep tips at ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: It’s more important to focus on what your baby is wearing. Try a sleep sack if you think it’s too cold in your baby’s room. A tight-fitting sheet and your baby is all that should be in the crib. Anything else could be a hazard. Source: Safe Kids Worldwide
Tip #13: Create a hard copy checklist for stressful times so you can assess your parenting skills in a crisis. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: It is easy to lose sight of communication and effective parenting skills during uncomfortable situations. Check in with your child. They can sense your stress and often times it will rub off on them. Source: New Hampshire Children’s Trust
Tip #12: Let young kids assist with simple chores to help develop independence. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Developmental milestones can sometimes be made easier in young children by teaching them how to do things they haven’t done before. Source: CDC Child Development
Tip #11: Remember to never leave children unattended in or around a vehicle. Not Even for a Minute! ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: In addition to the dangers of overheating, children left unattended become targets for car jacking, abduction, backovers, frontovers, power window accidents, trunk entrapment and vehicles set into motion. Source: Kids and Cars
Tip #10: It’s Internet Safety Month. Gets tips to protect against cyberbullies, predators and unsafe sites. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: There are potential risks to privacy and personal safety online. Kids may not see the red flags.
Being aware of the risks and engaging with your children about safety are the most important things you can do to keep your family safer online. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Tip #9: You may be able to diffuse a tantrum by using a distraction technique. Change location or activity. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Tip #8: Young kids often respond favorably when they’re given a choice. It allows them to feel in control. ctf4kids.org/text-msgBecause: You can guide your child to the outcome you’re looking for while also giving them some independence. Be careful about the choices you offer, though. Don’t make threats a part of them. Source: Proactive Parenting
Tip #7: Respond to wanted behavior more than unwanted behavior. Explain and show the behavior you expect. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Your kids want recognition. It’s best to give it to them when they model positive behavior. If they never get attention for the good things they do, they might get attention for not so good behaviors. Source: CDC
Tip #6: For older children, put rules in writing. It can help cut down on confrontations. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: When expectations are clear it limits the option for debate when a child breaks a rule. It also gives the family opportunity to discuss the expectations with full understanding. Some kids, especially older ones, may have solid reasoning for why they think a rule might need to be adjusted. Listen to them and consider their thoughts and feelings. Source: HealthyChildren.org
Tip #5: Be specific when you compliment your child on an accomplishment, to help build self-confidence. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: If a child knows that they’ve done something well it helps them feel confident. Specific details about what they’ve accomplished will help them recognize their worth. They will be better able to go out into the world with a can-do attitude. Source: KidsHealth.org
Tip #4: Find out what your kids really think by encouraging them to share opinions, even if you disagree. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Disputes are inevitable, but how you handle them is important in defining how your children see you. Children need to know that their feelings are taken into consideration, even if they don’t get their way in the end. Source: HealthyChildren.org
Tip #3: During holidays, be flexible with traditions & expectations. When stress heats up, keep your cool. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: Looking for alternatives when you’re feeling stressed out can make a big difference in your attitude and the way you deal with stressful situations when they arise. Flexibility gives you the power to make changes that will take away some of the unnecessary stress of the holidays. Source: Family Edcation
Tip #2: Make sure kids under 5 know how to unlock and call 911 on a cell phone if something is really wrong. ctf4kids.org/text-msg
Because: These days, if you don’t have a landline you may also have to show the kids where you keep your cell phone (always in the same spot!) and how to unlock it. Without going into specifics, you can tell kids this is a number that gets help if something is really, really wrong. Source: ParentFurther
Tip #1: When frustrated by a mistake your child makes, pause. Remember kids are kids. Teach, don’t scold. ctf4kids.org/text-msgs
Because: If we get angry when children make mistakes they may learn to be afraid of trying anything. That is why we should react to mistakes with calm problem-solving and gentle teaching. As our children get older, the most important teaching may happen when they start making sense of their experiences. We can encourage them to learn from these experiences. This is much better than punishing, lecturing, or scolding. Source: Navigating Life’s Journey