Our Favorite Fool-Proof Parenting Tips for Every Stage
Parenting is a journey filled with both challenges and joys. As moms, we’ve learned that each age and stage of a child’s life brings its own unique set of experiences and demands. While there’s no one-size-fits-all parenting plan, there are some tips and advice that really work! These are some of our favorite, simple parenting tips for every age and stage.
Infants (0-12 Months):
- Trust Your Instincts: You know your baby best. Listen to your gut – but of course don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek advice when needed. As a new mama, your learning curve will be steep, but that doesn’t change the fact that you know your baby better than anyone else!
- Create a Routine: Babies AND mamas thrive on predictability! Establishing a simple daily routine can make life more manageable. You can start with simply deciding on a time range of when your day will begin, and build from there! Incorporate some tummy time, outside time, and when you add in feedings your schedule will largely create itself!
- Take Time for Yourself: Even with a newborn, find those moments in between feedings and diaper changes to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, taking a short walk, or having a cup of tea, taking a beat to feel like YOU instead of someone’s mom will help you to feel ready to face whatever challenges your day might bring!
Toddlers (1-3 Years):
- Embrace Patience: Toddlers are exploring their independence, and without a full vocabulary, they’re relatively helpless to express themselves. This frustration often comes out in – you guessed it – TANTRUMS! We’ve all been there. Stay patient, and remember toddler tantrums are a phase they’ll outgrow. This, too shall pass!
- Encourage Independence: Let your toddler do small tasks on their own. It helps build confidence and even giving the illusion of independence can reduce power struggles! Start by allowing your little one to dress themself or choose what color plate and cup they’d like a mealtime and let them take it away!
- Play and Explore: Engage in imaginative play and explore the world together. It’s a great way to bond! Going on easy nature walks around the neighborhood is a great way to start. Point out the flowers, trees, and bugs you see, and ask what your little one thinks about it all! It will give them a chance to see new things and express their thoughts about the world around them.
Preschoolers (3-5 Years):
- Positive Reinforcement: Praise good behavior and offer rewards for achievements to encourage positive behavior. As your preschooler begins to take hold of their independence, reinforcing positive behaviors is essential – and can be even more important than correcting poor behavior.
- Teach Problem Solving: Again, as your little one gains independence, it will be your privilege to guide them along and help them learn to resolve conflicts and make decisions.
- Set a Routine: A consistent daily schedule helps them feel secure and understand what to expect. It bears repeating that both you and your kiddo will feel happier and more in control when you have at least a loose routine or schedule!
School-Age Kids (6-12 Years):
- Effective Communication: Encourage open conversations about their day, feelings, and concerns. As your little one explores the world of emotions and independent thought, you will be their support and guide!
- Support Their Interests: Nurture their hobbies and interests, whether it’s sports, art, or science. As much as is possible, indulge your little one as they begin to discover their interests and talents! They will always remember and value your unconditional support.
- Teach Responsibility: Assign age-appropriate chores and responsibilities to instill a sense of accountability. Chore/reward charts are a great way to teach your little one that responsibility leads to reward!
Teenagers (13-18 Years):
- Respect Their Independence: Give them space to make their own choices and learn from their mistakes. It can be difficult to navigate the complexities of releasing your child to make more of their own decisions, but just as when they were a newborn, you know your child better than anyone! Assess their emotional maturity and guide them toward becoming more independent, at their own pace.
- Stay Involved: Stay connected and involved in their lives, but respect their privacy. This is the age at which your child will begin to set their own boundaries, and it’s important to respect them, within reason. If you feel that your child is keeping secrets from you or if you have a concern about their personal life, approach them one-on-one and have a candid discussion! They will appreciate being treated as an individual, and your relationship will take on a new life as they work their way toward adulthood.
- Teach Life Skills: Prepare them for adulthood by teaching skills like cooking, budgeting, and time management. Make sure they can do their own laundry and make a basic meal before they fly the nest! They’ll be able to help more around the house, and their future self will thank you!
As moms, we know that parenting is a constant learning process. These tips, while helpful, are a just a starting point! Remember that every child is unique, and so is every mama. Adjust your parenting style to meet your and your child’s individual needs. Most importantly: remember that there is no such things as a perfect mom! You are doing your best, and your little ones truly believe that you hung the moon. You are doing great, mama!
What are your favorite parenting tips for your child’s age? Learning from other mamas is how we create our village. Share your wisdom in the comments below, and let’s support each other on this incredible journey called motherhood.