There are plenty of available parenting tips out there for you to read. So what makes this post special?
Chances are, you haven’t heard these tips before. Or at least not all of them. In fact, you might have even heard the exact opposite given in general advice for parents.
(though if you’re a regular consumer of Mom but not a Mom, a couple of these might sound familiar!)
But all of these unique parenting tips are backed up by scientific research. See if you aren’t convinced to try some new parenting strategies by the end of your read. You might just discover something that works!
Use big words
It’s counterintuitive to use big words with little kids. They’re still learning basic vocabulary! Wouldn’t it confuse them to throw in big adult words?
Well, no. That’s exactly the point – they’re learning. It doesn’t make a difference to them whether you call it scary or terrifying. They can learn both words just as easily.
In fact, studies show that the amount of novel vocabulary words learned at a young age is actually an indicator of future success!
Take this once in a lifetime opportunity where children are learning vocabulary at an incredible rate to pack in as much language acquisition as possible. Don’t skip over the big words when you read books together. Give them the opportunity to ask what it means.
Let them argue with each other
Our immediate reaction when we hear two kids arguing – whether siblings or friends – is to put a stop to it. Kids should learn to get along with each other, right?
But just like every other skill that children acquire, they have to practice in order to perfect it. This requires working out their own disagreements with other children.
If an adult intervenes every time an argument arises, children don’t get the chance to think through the issue for themselves and come up with a solution that both kids can live with.
Now, obviously if there is a clear case of bullying or physical violence occurring, adult intervention is required. But most petty arguments can be worked out by the children in a matter of minutes.
Give them whole milk
This tip goes against everything we’re told concerning children and weight gain. Yet studies consistently find (the above sources are only a small sample of studies on this subject) that whole milk drinkers – both children and adults – gain less weight than low-fat or skim drinkers.
Plus whole milk products just taste better, amen?
That being said, children should be drinking more water than milk, no matter what type of milk it is.
Stop giving them kid food
Here’s one that the Europeans figured out but Americans still seem to be missing.
If you want less picky kids, stop giving them “kid food”. No more nuggets, go-gurt, or teddy grahams. Let them eat what you eat.
Children learn best by modeling, so be a good model and show them how to eat healthy. If you don’t give them alternative options specifically designed to be tantalizing to children (and generally unhealthy), they won’t know the difference!
Let them play unsupervised
Here’s another tip from the rest of the world.
Children benefit from unsupervised play time. Studies consistently find that children are more active and develop better social skills when they are allowed to play freely, away from adult supervision.
This is unthinkable to the average American parent these days, as fears of stranger danger and injury take control of our lives and our parenting. Thanks to the ever-present and ever-negative media, modern Americans have come to believe that danger lurks around every corner waiting to jump out at our precious little ones.
The truth is, crime rates are lower now than they have been for several decades.
Children need a chance to feel trusted. Instead of constant supervision, they need adults to help foster their independence by giving them some breathing space. Even if it’s just the backyard.