Parenting is a perfect example of family readiness and resilience – it’s an “always-on” job. Like a military mission, responsible parenting requires attention, smarts, skills and support. Here are 19 tips to help you step up your parenting and improve your childrearing skills. Everyone wins with responsible parenting.
19 tips to step up your parenting
TIP 1: Up Your Play Time
Take just 15 minutes a day to play one-on-one with your child – doing what he or she wants. Engaging in positive activities together reduces the need for negative discipline.
TIP 2: Speak Up About Your Love
Let the kids in your life know how much you appreciate and care for them. All children deserve to have someone who’s crazy about them and loves them unconditionally.
TIP 3: Link Up with a Social Network
Up your resilience by connecting with people who support you and make you feel good – friends, family, neighbors, religious groups, playgroups and parent groups that support families.
TIP 4: Power Up Parenting. Put Down the Phone.
Kids need your attention to keep them safe. Plus, they learn more and feel more secure when you spend unplugged, face-to-face time together. Learn more about “distracted parenting.”
TIP 5: Stress Up? Calm Down
Too much stress makes it hard to be an effective parent. Learning how to manage stress can improve your happiness, help your kids and show them they can handle it, too. Get steps here.
TIP 6: Cuddle Up to Your Baby
Bonding with your baby is vital. The attention you give now will last forever and help your baby grow into a healthy and happy child and adult. Check out your local New Parent Support Program and learn easy ways to love up your baby.
TIP 7: Study Up on Safe Sleeping
Do you know the rules for keeping a baby safe during sleep time? Babies should sleep on their backs in a safety crib, dressed in sleep clothing with no blankets or pillows. See “How to Create Safe Sleeping Environments for Infants.”
TIP 8: Talk It Up with Your Teen
Respect, talk, engage with your teen as much as you can. Doing things together, face-to-face time at dinner, showing affection and interest – all these can help keep teens safe and healthy. Get more ideas.
TIP 9: Sign Up Your Kids for Fun
The military has many recreational opportunities, camps and more for youth and teens – through your installation’s youth center, 4-H and Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA and Department of Defense summer camps.
TIP 10: Study Up on Powerful Parenting
Powerful parenting can be learned. Keep learning as your child grows. Pick up tips and ideas by talking to experts like doctors, teachers, family and friends. Subscribe to a good online newsletter. Read or take a class, like the New Parent Support Program offered by the Family Advocacy Program for new or expectant military parents.
TIP 11: Pick Up the Right Foods. Step Up Your Activity.
Check out 5210 for Healthy Military Children: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, 0 sweetened drinks.
TIP 12: Talk Up a Positive Parent
Compliment a father – someone you know or someone in public – on something positive you see him do with his kids. Dads contribute uniquely to children’s development (and could use the props). Moms, too!
TIP 13: Prop Up Another Parent
A helping hand from a neighbor or friend can make a huge difference for a family under stress. Offer to baby-sit for the child of a friend, neighbor or family member – even if it’s just to help them rest or recharge for an hour or two.
TIP 14: Thumbs Up for Military
Military life presents unique challenges and opportunities. Smart parents take full advantage of perks like child care, tutoring, employment support, even 24/7 counseling. Call on Military OneSource, 800-342-9647, to help you get connected. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to help you get connected. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.
TIP 15: Problems Add Up Over Time
Child abuse and neglect have long-term consequences for children, families and societies. That’s why it’s important to learn how early childhood experiences influence future health and well-being, as well as how to promote and guide healthy behavior even at a young age.
TIP 16: Step Up & Protect Your Teen
Nobody likes to think about dangers like cyberbullying, teen dating violence, sexual assault or even child trafficking – but it can happen in any family. Learn the signs, symptoms and how to keep your teen safe.
TIP 17: Help Get Tots Set Up for Deployment
Babies and toddlers can sense stress in their homes. As a caregiver, you can help them manage their strong emotions. Attend to your own emotional health as well, so you can better care for your kids. Get more tips.
TIP 18: If Your Child Is LGBT, Listen Up
For youth who identify as LGBT, fears of rejection are at the front of their minds. Acceptance from the family can have a positive effect, not only on a youth’s self-esteem, but also on their health and well-being. Listen, talk, learn more.
TIP 19: Step Up & Help a Child
Strong communities strengthen families. You can help by being informed, attentive and supportive. If you are concerned about the safety or well-being of a child, help is readily available. Military OneSource has connections to reporting lines, the Family Advocacy Program and other places to turn. Find out how to report suspected child abuse.
Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to search for a Family Advocacy Program at your installation or in your postal code. Or call Military OneSource at 800-342-964 for more information. Click here for calling options.
Take your parenting skills to the next level with Military OneSource. Tap into the resources and support available through your military community. Access information and ideas that will empower you as the guardian of your child. Everybody wins with responsible parenting. Click here for more MilParent Power resources.