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SMART Every parent needs plenty of answersanswers to help build a firm foundation for parenting and answers to help respond to emergency parenting situations. This book can help. Its packed with tips for reaching both long and shortterm goals and for managing immediate problems. Uptodate information, as well as space for your personal notes, make this a journal you will use oftento become more in touch with your parenting skills and with your children. Table of Contents 15 Basic Rules of Pare

15 1. 2. 3. BASIC RULES OF Be Realistic Many parents set unrealistic goals for themselves. One of these is to be the best parent in the world . Being a good parent is good enough for children. Dont berate yourself for not being per fect. Nobody is. Be the Best Role Model You Can The most powerful and influential teaching tool is the model. Y our children watch you every second theyre with you. Do as I say, not as I do doesnt work. They will do as you do, so do the best you can. Talk with Y

8. Celebrate Every Success and Effort Praise your children for sincere attempts as well as achievements. Everyone makes them. Help your children learn from your own mistakes by talking about them, and by showing your children that you have learned to do things differently . Know where your children are and what theyre doing. Learn about their friends and their friends parents. Find ways to be active in their school and stay involved in their homework and study skills. We all experience things

15 Basic Rules of Parenting continued 14. Make Time for Each Other 15. Think Positively No matter how busy you and your children are, schedule time to be together to talk, do chores, shop, watch T V, play games, or do any other activity that will result in g reater understanding and togetherness. Research has shown that a positive attitude helps you feel optimistic and is contagious to others. If you star t the day in a positive way , so will your children. Write down ways you can improve you

C O M M U N I C AT I N G Good parents spend a lot of time talking with their children. They know that both the quantity and quality of their conversations count Set an example by the courteous, caring, attentive way you communicate with your children and others. Keep an open mind so your children feel free to readily express themselves to you. Set the Stage Share activities with your children that promote conversation, such as playing board games, watching quality TV, or going to a museum tog

Communicating with Children continued Avoid Nagging Most children tune it out. Be brief . Children retain shorter messages longer. Practice WinWin Communication In a disagreement, a winwin solution is a healthy compromise that enables everyone to walk away feeling like a winner . By communicating with your children until a winwin compromise is reached, you help them learn impor tant negotiation skills. Sometimes Agree to Disagree When the consequences of a conflict will not harm anyone, it is

S for Developing Your STE P Childrens SelfEsteem 7 By building your childrens selfesteem, you will help them feel good ab out themselves and gain the confidence needed to meet lifes challenges. STEP STEP STEP STEP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Review the praise words on page 9. Try to use them often with your children. Praise helps to build selfconfidence. Give compliments every chance you get. W e take a lot of things our children do for g ranted. When they clear the table, do their homework, or feed the

Parent Alert Dont hesitate to go to the teacher or the principal if one of your children is being put down or discouraged in any way by anyone at school. Y ou are your childrens best, and often only, advocate. State your case and be firm The next step is up to you Be consistent with each step and you will promote healthy selfesteem in your children. Are you doing all you c an to build your childrens selfesteem Write down any steps that you need to pr actice. 8

WAY S T O P R A I S E Children thrive on praise. Here are some words of praise you can use to build your childrens selfesteem and help them know theyre lo ved, appreciated, and respected. Thats incredible How extraordinary Far out Outstanding performance I cant get over it Great Amazing effort Unbelievable work. Wonderful Marvelous Phenomenal Youve got it Superb. Cool Excellent Youre special. Your work is out of sight Your project is firstrate. Youve outdone yourself. Way to go Thumbs up Youre

BUILDING GOOD CHARACTER Good character traits are developed through the examples you set, as well as by direct teaching. Here are some suggestions to help your children learn responsibility, selfdiscipline, individuality, respect, courtesy, and compassion. P Responsibility Keep promises Give children chores at home. When conflicts happen, deal directly with your child. When you make a mistake, admit it and take care of it. Demonstrate initiative and reward it in your children. Cause lea

Respect and Courtesy Say please and thank you. Your children will follow your lead. Dont interrupt. Neither will your children. Let people know you appreciate them. Your children will learn to g ive appropriate compliments. Speak with respect to all people at all times. Y our children may be exposed to inappropriate language at school, so they will need firm and friendly reminders. Set the example for each of the following Dont shame or ridicule others. If you do, your children will too. Le

DISCIPLINING CHILDREN By treating your children fairly and firmly, you will establish a positive connection for life. Y ou will also provide them with a firm foundation of solid values and necessary b oundaries. RespondDont React This is an important cornerstone of disciplining. When you react, you are acting quickly , and that usually means emotionally. The biggest danger in reacting is that you may harm a child, either emotionally or physically. On the other hand, when you respond, you are t

Make Use of TimeOut Separating younger children from fun activities is a much better teaching tool than any physical punishment. It g ives children time to think. Physical punishment, on the other hand, teaches children that violence is OK. Sometimes we need a 2 Highly Effective Discipline Techniques timeout ourselves in order to walk away from our anger . Write Contracts for Older Children Behavioral contracts work well with children who are beyond the age of timeouts usually 3 or 4 years o

B U I L D I N G FA M I LY Regardless of what constitutes your family, the feeling of being a family member is important for the healthy growth and development of your children. Building family bonds with memories and traditions can help suppor t your childrens sense of security. Whether you are a twoparent family or a single parent, you can give children a sense of family by with Love Togeth rness ogetherness School Success Childrens Health Doing Things Together These could include Singing. L

Preventing Isolation While its natural for children to seek out some privacy, isolation within their own family is a problem that must be addressed. Use your active listening skills to draw out any of your children who seem isolated, and find out if something is wrong. Parent Alert Deliberate separation from the family can be a sign of depression or other serious problems. If it continues for more than a couple of days, seek professional counseling. Write down some ways you c an increase famil

ENCOURAGING You are as important as your childrens teachers in their academic careers Support and motivate your youngsters to do their best in school. Make School Important Ask how school was every day. Convey your love of education and insist on good attendance and punctuality. School Success Childrens Health R Develop a School Checklist Insure that your children leave for school and come home with everything they need. Create a Study Routine Set a time and quiet place for your children

Read, Read, Read Every day, read with your children or have them read to you. Make it fun by talking about what you have read. Provide Learning Experiences Expose your children to learning experiences. T his can include visits to museums, as well as having shelves filled with books and other learning materials at home. Encourage Independent Thinking Allow your children to make mistakes and learn from their consequences. Get Involved Meet with your childrens teachers, attend school events, and

M A I N TA I N I N G Members of a healthy family can enjo y life and each other more. Good physical health requires good nutrition, good hygiene, and regular exercise. Good health also calls for medical and dental checkups on time and immunizations on schedule. School Success Chil rens Health hildren ealth R Hygiene Introduce children to the basic concepts of good hygiene and encourage them to practice good health habits every day. Tell your youngsters to wash their hands prior to every me

Resources Exercise Regular exercise is vital to healthy g rowth and developmentand to emotional health. Physically active children are less susceptible to depression. Make daily exerciseat least an hour a daypar t of every childs good health habits. Join your children in exercise whenever possibleit can build family bonds and help you stay in shape. Obesity The most rapidly increasing problem in children today is obesity. Do not use candy or food as a reward. Reduce the fats and sugars in your

The best time for your children to visit their doctor is when they are well. This will help their doctor assess their overall physical condition and get a baseline from which to observe changes that may signal a concern. Visits to the Do Doctor Personal Safety Abdominal pain Repetitive cough Cuts and scrapes that are slow to heal Diarrhea Earache Fever of more than 100 Persistent headaches MAKING THE MOST OF When to Seek Medical Attention Contact your doctors office if your child experie

KEEPING YOUR P Safety is an important parenting responsibility. Living in a safe home helps children both be and feel secure. Learning safety rules gives children the foundation for good decision making. Here are some impor tant tips. Home Safety Have all emergency phone numbers posted clearly in a location known by the entire family. Teach your children how to dial 9 11and how to respond when the operator answers. Give your home regular safety checkups. Routine maintenance and simp

TEACHING CHILDREN Personal Saf rsonal Safety Anger Management Childhood Problems Resources Relate These Stranger Danger Safety Tips to Your Children Stay away from dark or deser ted places. Dont answer the door if you are home alone. Dont tell anyone on the phone that you are home alone. Say your parents are busy and you will take a message for them. Dont trust strangers unless youre with me or another trusted adult. If a stranger tries to g ive you something or take you somewhere, say n

TEACHING CHILDREN Anger is a natural emotion expressed by children. It gives them an outlet for frustration, fear, sadness, and many other feelings. Children who learn how to manage anger also learn to express the feelings that prompted their anger . This is a crucial step in achieving healthy adulthood. Here are some ways you can help your children master anger control. Anger Ang r Management Childhood Problems Resources Identify Signs of Anger in Children The most common signs are Body si

Teaching Children Anger Management continued Suggest Healthy AngerManagement Techniques These can include calling a timeout. walking away from a potentially violent situation. counting to 10 or 20 or 50. asking for help from a safe adult. talking things out. Encourage your children to put ang ry feelings into words rather than into physical actions. Help Prevent Unnecessary Anger By improving your childrens communication skills you can help them avoid or deal effectively with anger. Chil

WA R N I N G S I G N S O F Every child experiences problems as a normal aspect of growing up. As a parent or guardian, its your task to address these problems so that they dont escalate or resurface in later life when theyre more difficult to solve. Stay aler t to changes in your childrens behavior. Watch for the following signs. Childhood Problems hildhood roblems Resources Depression Millions of American children suffer from this disease, which will not simply go away. Children suffering f

Warning Signs of Childhood Problems continued Child Abuse Victims of child abuse need immediate help. Here are some warning signs. Physical signs Unexplained bruises, welts, burns, or fractures unkempt or Behavioral signs Abrupt changes in behavior cling ing, aggressiveness, withdrawal, anxiety fear of a cer tain person or place discomfor t with physical contact molestation of other children suicidal tendencies malnourished appearance loss of appetite disturbed sleep sexually transmitted dis

Learning Disabilities Being aware of your childrens learning disabilities enables you to help them develop compensation skills. Without these skills, children become frustrated, disillusioned, and unmotivated. Watch for these signs. Difficulty in reading or taking a long time to read a shor t piece Need to reread text several times to comprehend the meaning Confusion about the order of letters, words, or numbers Inability to understand charts, graphs, diagrams, or maps Parent Alert Learning

DEALING WITH Children who are grieving need your suppor t in order to cope. By validating and respecting their feelings you can help them manage their sense of loss in a productive way. Divorce, Death, and oss Div rce, De th, a Loss Resources parent and will be hur t by your anger and lack of respect. Divorce If you are going through a divorce, your children need your help at this time of confusion and sorrow. There are many ways you can promote coping skills. Be courteous and respectful o

Everyone has a different g rieving process. Children sometimes get stuck at a particular step in the process and may need help moving on. T he usual and normal phases are DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE It didnt happen. Why did this happen to me He was mean to leave me. If Im good enough he or she will come back. I am so sad I cant move. Time to move on. Remember the past as a g ift. Parent Alert A childs grief can last from six months to two years or more. Be aler t for suicid

STRESSLESS It isnt possible to be a totally stressfree parent. The job is too tough for that But you can reduce your stress by following a few simple suggestions. Take time out each day to do something for yourself . Exercising, stretching, listening to soothing music, reading, or meditating will reduce stress. Ease tension with a human touchshare a hug, hold hands, or g ive a pat Listen to your children and show you value your conversations with them. Schedule in family fun and fitness.

ccess Health O N L I N E PA R E N T I N G This list introduces you to some of todays W eb sites that provide parenting suggestions and tips. Please be aware that W eb sites and addresses change often. esources Reso rces General Parenting FirstGov for Parents Offers a list of links to U.S. government W eb sites on health, safety, and education of children resources for parents and more. www .usa.govTopicsParents.shtml Kids First Coalition for Quality Childrens Media A national notf

Online Parenting Resources continued Office of Childrens Health Protection From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a Web page designed especially for parents. www.epa.govchildren Prevent Child Abuse America Information for parents on preventing the abuse and neglect of children. www.preventchildabuse.org U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Part of the U.S. Depar tment of Health and Human Services. Site contains updated health information and health topics from A to Z. www .cd

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