Seven tips for being the best parent you can be

Whether we are struggling to figure out why our baby is crying or how to deal with middle school bullies, we’ve all said it: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a parenting manual?”

I’d love to give you the classic infomercial line and say, “Now there is!”

Well, I can’t. But check out this chart from the Early Childhood Educators group that lists the six most effective parenting habits. It comes pretty close, it’s free, and it’s easy to use. Simply apply the guide to your life, adjust to your individual needs, and see for yourself.

But wait. We think there’s another habit that parents should adopt so we would add one more to the list: “7. Help your kids learn how to move”.

Just as kids are born with the capacity to read but not the skills, they are also born with the ability to move but not the expertise. It may seem counterintuitive but we need to help our kids learn to move. And just like your child can’t learn to read before they know their “ABCs”, your child won’t have much fun playing soccer until she’s learned how to kick a ball.

There’s a reason we refer to developing basic movements like running, jumping, and climbing as being “physically literate”; like reading literacy, parents help create a foundation that children can keep building on as they learn more skills.

But reading to your children, like playing with them, is about more than just teaching them a skill; you’re educating them on how words sound, and opening up their imaginations to new worlds.

It’s also a time for quality bonding. Snuggling up, or putting on a funny voice at storytime, and the memories created there are what encourages them to read as they age. Similarly, playing hide and seek with your kid in the park is part of what gets them excited about playtime. This helps lay the groundwork for a physically active life.

So you see, these aren’t just habits, they’re tools for helping your child lead a healthy, balanced life, early and onwards.

Hey, there are no money-back guarantees here. No chart in the world can tell you how to raise a child. But adopting these seven habits means you’ll be off to a great start.

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