“Positive Parenting” isn’t about being perfect or always being cheerful. Instead, it gives words to what parents do every day – challenges included – and keeps the big picture in mind.

These nine key elements power a positive approach to parenting.

positive parenting graphic

Imagine your kids’ point of view, especially during tough moments.
It can help to remember that your kids’ perspective is very different than yours. It can help to remind yourself that, “They are small, and they are still learning.”

Notice and celebrate your kids’ strengths, abilities, and capacity to learn and develop.
Every kid is unique, growing and learning at their own pace. Make a conscious effort to really see your kids for who they are.

Delight in moments of connection.
It’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day grind. Remember to pause and make eye contact or smile, hug or cuddle whenever you can.

Respond with interest and sensitivity to your kids’ cues.
Taking the time to watch and learn your kids’ cues and the ways they communicate shows them they are important and cherished.

Provide consistent, age-based guidelines, limits, and boundaries.
All kids need guidance on how to behave. Your kids are more likely to cooperate with your guidance if you crouch down at their level and make eye contact.

Recognize and regulate your own feelings and behaviors before responding to your kids.
Kids are naturally driven by their strong emotions. We do better as parents and role models when we take deep breaths and calm ourselves before responding to their behavior.

Know that parenting can be stressful and that missteps are part of raising kids!
We can’t be calm, cool, and collected all the time! But apologizing when you’re wrong and setting things right is part of building a relationship.

Work toward balancing your needs and your kids’ needs.

Don’t forget about you! Pay attention to your own needs for socializing, sleep, exercise, and nutrition, too.

Seek help, support, or additional information on parenting when you need it.
Every parent eventually runs into a challenging child-rearing issue, because little people need a lot from their adults. Don’t shy away from asking for help – all parents need and deserve support.

Adapted from ZERO TO THREE