Teach Your Children to Eat HealthyMost parents need to stop telling their children to clean their plates at each meal. Instead, your child should learn to eat until he feels full. If he consistently leaves half of his meal on his plate, then as long as he is growing and developing normally, if it really bothers you for your child to leave food on his plate, then you may consider giving him smaller portions so that he will be more likely to finish everything. Also, provide healthy choices, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy products (once your child is 2 to 3 years old), and limit the amount of juice, soda, and high sugar and high-fat foods that your kids eat.
Encourage Regular Physical ActivityAn increasing number of children and adolescents are becoming overweight, partly because of a poor diet and partly because of too many sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV, and playing video and computer games. In addition to healthy eating habits, regular physical activity for at least 60 minutes, on most days of the week can help to keep your kids fit and healthy.
Communicate EffectivelyLearning to communicate with their children is a very important skill that all parents should know, especially for older children and teens. Do you know how to talk to your kids? Do your kids come to you when they have a problem?
There are a lot of things that you need to talk with your children about, including sex education, and avoiding smoking, drugs and alcohol use. Have you talked to your older child about these important topics yet?
Know Your KidsDo you know everything you need to know about your kids?
- What are their friends like?
- Do they have a best friend?
- Where do they spend their time when they are not in school or at home?
- Do they, or do any of their friends, drink, smoke, or use drugs?
- Do they have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
- Are they sexually active?
Be PreparedDo you know what you will do the first time you are faced with a specific parenting problem, such as your child lying, stealing, skipping school? You can't prepare for every situation, but a little advanced planning can help when you are faced with a common, although difficult parenting problem.
Planning in advance can also help deal with difficult children and those with behavior problems. If you child always has a tantrum when you go grocery shopping, then sit him down outside the store and let him know what your expectations for his behavior will be and have a plan for what to do if he misbehaves, such as a time-out in the store or removing a privilege for the rest of the day.
If you just 'wing it' or do or say the first thing that pops into your head, you are more likely to react negatively and just yell or hit when your child misbehaves. In the long run, those reactions will likely not decrease bad behaviors.