5 Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills

Mother hugging son

Cultura RM Exclusive / Erin Lester / Getty Images

Wouldn't it be great if you could go back to school and major in parenting skills? You'd receive an instruction manual that says, "Here's how it's done," and you'd be all set. This magical school would also teach you how to handle your children when caregivers or grandparents are setting rules. Working parents use a village to raise their kids and things can get complicated.

Unfortunately, there is no such school, but there is the Internet. It's filled with parenting advice that other parents want to pass down to you. The time you spend with your child is precious. So here are five parenting skills that will ensure you good quality time with your kids.

Actively Listen to Your Kids 

Have you ever been so busy that you don't realize your kids are talking to you? Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. When you are with your child, put away distractions. This also means distracting thoughts.

Then make it a priority to be on top of what your kids are hoping for, what they fear, and what they may feel anxious about. Never stop asking them questions, no matter how many times they ignore you. When you show you care, you show love.

Active listening means you focus on what is being said without thinking about how you're going to respond. It's about watching body language and picking up on cues.

You can improve your listening ability when you kneel down, if needed, to get down to match their height. Give them your complete attention and make good eye contact.

Stick to Your Rules

It's your parental duty to teach your children the difference between right and wrong. And you need to follow the rules, too. This means that you may not always be right and will need to fess up. There will be times when you'll say no to your kids, and mean it. Then there will be other times when you've made a mistake and you'll change your mind. Say, "I was wrong," and explain why you changed your mind. We all make mistakes.

But when the punishment fits the crime you must stick to your guns. Kids can sniff out a hypocrite really quick. Rules must be enforced after they are made. And whatever rules are set in your house you need to follow them as well, unless you have a really good reason why you're excluded.

Be a Good Role Model

Don't do anything in front of your children that you wouldn't want them to do. If you find yourself exhibiting behavior that you don't want your child to mimic, then it's a sign you should change how you react in certain situations. Kids will copy what you do, not what you say.

Your kids are watching you head off to work every day. It's important that they see you managing this all to the best of your abilities. You aren't trying to reach perfection, you're teaching them hard work, honesty, and most of all, love.

Control Your Emotions

If you lose your cool in front of your kids, they may become fearful of you. Whether you're arguing with a bill collector on the phone or you're having a spat with your spouse, don't exhibit angry behavior in the presence of your children. Anytime you lose control and yell or argue with someone, you're showing your children this is how people react when times get tough.

Instead, demonstrate how you can keep your cool and resolve problems in a calm manner. Show them what emotional intelligence is all about.

If you do lose your cool, be sure to apologize and take responsibility for your anger. That is another way to model healthy behavior.

Show Lots of Love

You love your children, right? Sure, you say "I love you," but how do you show them? Shower them with kisses and hugs as often as you can. An embrace with a child will make them feel safe and loved.

Often, parents spend a lot of time with their kids, but fail to actively engage with them. Exhibit good parenting skills by initiating interactive activities, such as playing old-fashioned board games, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply talking with your children to make the most of the time you have together.

Was this page helpful?