Parenting Tips

Focus 15


Focusing on your child for just 15 minutes can make a big difference! [download ideas]

Keys to Successful Parenting


  • Spend a few minutes every day doing something with your children.
  • Ask your children for their opinions.
  • Ask your children for help with simple tasks.
  • Never tell your children that they are bad. Instead, tell them the behavior is bad.
  • Discipline your children for bad behavior when you are calm. If you need to address the behavior while you are angry, remember that you are angry and that people have a tendency to go too far when angry.
  • Make rules you can and will enforce. If you say five more minutes of TV, don’t give them ten more minutes.

Spend Time with Your Kids


Do simple activities at home with your children. Giving your time and attention to your children is a gift they will remember for a lifetime.

Eat Meals Together at Least Once a Day

  • Mealtime can be a time to give advice and support as well as talk about one another’s lives. The "Eat Healthy" section of Your Texas Benefits website includes cost saving tips, recipe planning, information on exercise and other resources to help make your mealtime a great bonding experience.
  • Talk about the good things and bad things that happened that day.

Spending Time Together Can Be Simple

  • Enjoy one another’s company at home. Play a board game or work on a puzzle together.
  • Doing chores together can be fun. Have your child help fold laundry or dry dishes. Name colors while folding or see who can fold the fastest.

Family Time Builds Memories and Values

  • Talk with your children about what is important to you.
  • Tell them what you liked to do when you were their age.
  • Spend time with each child one on one. Read aloud or make up a story together with your family or friends as the characters.

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Outdoor Activities

Go outside and play with your kids. It’s good for you and for them.

  • Play in the grass or leaves.
  • Go for a nature walk.
  • Have a scavenger hunt.
  • Go to the library to find books about the season, upcoming holidays, or your child’s favorite animal.
  • Start a new family tradition, like going to the zoo or a local festival, or baking something together.
  • Monitor what your child watches on TV. Make sure shows and movies are age appropriate.

Source: Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. www.preventchildabuseillinois.org

Dealing with Stressful Situations


Children can become more difficult to deal with when they are sleepy. Make sure you set a bedtime routine and understand how to manage a whiny child or a child who talks back.

Helping with Bedtime Struggles

  • Soothing baby. Set a bedtime routine to help babies fall asleep. Always place babies alone and on their backs to sleep. Remove toys and loose blankets from the crib.
  • Help your children unwind. Start talking in a quieter voice. Turn off the TV, computer, and video games at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Set a routine. Help kids follow a pattern of bath time, brushing teeth, and story time. Give hugs and say goodnight in a fun way. Leaving a nightlight on can help children feel more at ease.
  • Keep kids in bed. If children cannot sleep, tell them to stay in bed and sing a song, cuddle a stuffed animal, or remember a happy time.

Wipe Out Whining

Whining can be frustrating and hard to listen to. Be patient and use these tips to help stop or prevent it.

  • Look first for an obvious physical cause like hunger, thirst, being tired, uncomfortable clothing or shoes, position, or even illness.
  • Show the difference between a whiny voice and a normal voice. Ask your child to tell you which voice is more pleasant.
  • Stay calm. When children know whining will upset you, they might not stop.
  • Ignore whining by limiting eye contact and talking.
  • Make sure children have contact with children their own age. It can be tiring for a child to keep up with older kids.

How to Manage Kids Talking Back

It is common for kids of all ages to talk back. Stop back talk with these suggestions:

  • Give choices: "Do you want grapes or an apple for a snack?"
  • As soon as back talk happens, tell your child it is not okay: "We don’t talk that way. Please speak nicely."
  • Praise good behavior: "You were quiet and helpful at the store!"
  • Provide appropriate consequences. Give a time out. The length of time out needs to correspond to the age of the child (three minutes for a 3-year-old, four minutes for a 4-year-old). Or withhold privileges like watching TV or going to a friend’s house.

Simple Things You Can Do When You Feel Stressed


When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and try one of the following:

  • Take a deep breath and count to 20.
  • Phone a friend.
  • Take a walk outside.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take time out and leave your children with a responsible adult.
  • Put your children in a safe place and leave the room.
  • Catch up on sleep.
  • Be aware of your body language and try to change it so that you are more relaxed.