Parenting: Give it time. is a campaign to provide parents of young children with support and advice and to help them encourage good behaviour while looking after their own wellbeing. Although dealing with the ups and downs of being a parent may sometimes be demanding, you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. How you support your child is more important than other things, like how much you earn or your family structure. No parent is perfect and everyone can struggle with the demands of new parental life, especially in the early stages. Although it can be a daunting time, our Facebook page and website show that everyone is facing similar situations. Visit our online communities, where parents can share their thoughts as well as their own top tips and experiences of parenting.
Our website includes tips on how to cope with every-day situations, so that parents can enjoy meal times without the meltdowns, shopping without the stropping, bath time without the tears, and bed time without the battles! Parenting isn’t easy, and although in the early years the focus may be on your child, it is equally important for you to look after yourself too. The campaign is called ‘Give it time’ because we want parents to take time for themselves and to take time to enjoy being a parent.
Read real-life stories, experiences and tips from our families who are the Faces of the Parenting. Give it time. campaign. These stories are filled with ideas for shopping, travelling with a young child, days out, and getting the kids to help with the chores. Our families’ blogs also have tips and ideas to make family life a little bit easier.
‘Give it time’: Tips for guiding children’s behaviour
What follows are five ideas that have been shown to work to help you develop a good relationship with your child. These ideas will also encourage positive behaviour, boost your child’s confidence, and support them during each stage of their development. Remember that all children are unique and will respond differently.
If you try these ideas together and give them enough time to work, they should help you to manage your child’s behaviour better. Don’t give up if things don’t get better straight away. It will take time to adjust to your new approach, so try to be patient and positive. If you keep going, you both should see an improvement.
All parents find some behaviour difficult to manage and all children show difficult behaviour some of the time. It’s not easy to change the way you do things. Nobody gets it right all the time so don’t be too hard on yourself – nobody is perfect. Remember that your child isn’t perfect either. A lot of the behaviour you may think of as naughty may actually be normal for your child’s age and stage of development.
1. Make time to create order and structure to your day (suitable for ages 2-7)
Don’t worry when young children test the limits. That’s how they learn what is right and wrong. It is perfectly normal but it can test our patience! It can help if you have regular routines and some family rules. Read more…
2. Make time to listen, talk and play
Every child is unique. When you talk, listen and play with your child you will learn more about their needs and interests. This will not only help your child develop well but it will also help you build a strong relationship. Read more…
3. Take time to model the behaviour you want to see (Suitable from birth)
From the moment they are born, children listen to what you say and watch what you do. Babies and children learn by imitating. By watching how you behave, your child will learn about how to react in similar situations. Read more…
4. Make time for praise (suitable from birth)
Praise works better at encouraging the behaviour you want than criticising and punishing your child for problem behaviour. It helps your child feel good about themselves and feel good about you. Read more…
5. Make time for love and affection (suitable from birth)
Love and affection are essential to a child’s healthy brain development. A child’s feelings about themselves, how confident they are and how well they cope with stress, are all affected by the way their parents respond to them. Read more…
What kind of Mum or Dad are you?
It can be useful to think about the type of parent you want to be. The type of parent you are can affect your child’s well-being, how they develop and how they learn. It can also affect your relationship with your child.
Although raising children is often filled with joy and very rewarding, for most of us, being a parent isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s a lot more difficult than we had thought it would be. When we become parents many of us do what ‘comes naturally’. We don’t usually think too much about our behaviour towards our child or how we respond to their behaviour. We often follow what we have learnt from our own parents or get ideas from friends. Some parents get ideas from books or from the people they see like health visitors.
You can choose what you want to bring from your own childhood, or from other people in your life, and what you want to leave out. What matters is that you care for your child and try to give them the best start in life.
Parenting types: Psychologists have looked at the different ways parents look after their children and react to their child’s behaviour.
Make time to look after yourself and manage stress
It’s important to look after yourself as well as your children. Being a parent isn’t always easy. It can feel hard if you’re tired, stressed and unhappy.
Being a parent is the most wonderful and possibly the most difficult role you will have. It isn’t always easy and sometimes it can prove challenging. Remember nobody is perfect and nobody gets it right all the time.
Looking after a child can be hard work. Most parents feel negative emotions from time to time. These feelings are normal. It is important to manage feelings like anger and frustration so you can enjoy being a parent and have a safe, happy home for your child. Stressed parents are more likely to shout or use harsh punishments like smacking.
The work–family balancing act
Being a working Mum or Dad can benefit you and your family. A commitment to both work and family can give you a lot of satisfaction in both areas of your life. Both roles carry a big responsibility and sometimes it can feel tricky juggling these commitments.
There is no magic formula for getting the work-family balance right. You, your situation and your family is unique. A good balance can look different to different families. Talking things through can help you work out what is important to you and help you work out solutions.
Creating a balance between ‘Family Time’ and ‘Screen Time’
While screen time may be a way for many to relax, a recent survey of Welsh parents with children aged under five found that their child’s use of technology was one of their top concerns. So, how can you balance your child’s use of technology with access to family time and interaction?
Screen time, refers to time spent in front of a screen watching television, playing on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
No-one is able to single-handedly entertain a young child all day or keep up with their energy levels! Often parents will see technology as a way to offer children ‘down time’ or ‘quiet time’ so that they focus on a household task. However experts recommend limiting young children’s daily screen time. This is because of the potential impacts on their physical health, particularly their vision and posture and also their language and social skills.
Helping children deal with bereavement
The death of a parent or close relative is devastating at any age, but grieving the death of mum or dad at a young age is one of the most profound losses a child could face.
Providing the right support to a grieving child can be instrumental in ensuring they continue to thrive and feel positive about their future. Sarah Bull, the Head of Bereavement at City Hospice in Cardiff (formerly George Thomas Hospice Care), has been providing bereavement counselling to children for more than 12 years. Here, she shares some advice for parents or caregivers seeking to support a grieving child.
Supporting your children when a parent goes to prison
Bringing up a child alone isn’t easy; the pressures are even greater if you are a parent trying to raise a family while your partner is in prison.
One of the biggest challenges a parent will face when someone is imprisoned is what to tell the children. Adults play a big part in helping children recognise their feelings and work out the best way to understand them. They may experience many different emotions at the thought of a parent going to prison and will they need help to manage these.
What to tell the children?
It’s your decision but generally, children cope better when you are honest about what has happened. A sudden unexplained disappearance may leave a child confused and scared as they can often sense when something is wrong.
Tricky moments and behaviours
Most families have times that are difficult to manage or cause concern for example potty training, bedtimes and mealtimes. Children sometimes behave in ways that are challenging, for example tantrums and biting.
Here are some common parenting concerns and ideas on how to deal with them. Of course, every child is unique, but these tips may help.
There are also a range of different professionals you could talk to. The Family Information Service will have details of services in your area. You can call them on 0300 123 7777. The Family Point website also has information on services and activities in your area.
Coping with a crying baby – All babies cry and sometimes it can be hard to cope with. Crying is the only way your baby can tell you what they need. Giving your baby lots of love and attention will help you get close to your baby and they will learn that the world is safe, and will feel secure.
Tantrums – Tantrums are very common in toddlers and younger children. They happen when children are frustrated and stressed. They can also be triggered when children are tired and hungry or feel jealous, frightened or unhappy.
Shopping – Going shopping can be an exciting experience for children, and a chance to develop their talking skills by pointing out new and interesting things. Sometimes, however, young children get overwhelmed and frustrated, which can be stressful for you.
Tips for coping with Christmas – Christmas gives a wonderful opportunity for families to enjoy spending time together and to catch up with friends and extended family. It is also a very exciting time for children.
Tips on tooth brushing (suitable 6 months to 5 years) – It’s really important to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy but it can be tricky if your child doesn’t enjoy having their teeth brushed. Here are some tips on when and how to brush your child’s teeth.
Bedtime (suitable for 3-5) – Sometimes your child will fall asleep easily and sleep through the night. At other times they will have difficulty falling asleep and will wake in the night. A bedtime routine may help cut down on bedtime problems.
Toilet or potty training (suitable from 2 years) – Learning to use the toilet is a big step for your child. Don’t rush it. Most toddlers are ready to use the potty or toilet between 2 and 3 years old. Let your child learn at their own pace.
Mealtimes (suitable for 1-5) – It isn’t always easy to get the family to sit down to enjoy a meal together. But it is worth the effort. Sharing family meals gives everyone a chance to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. Watching you and other family members eat a range of foods can encourage your child to try new foods.
Bath time (suitable birth to age 3) – Bathtime can be a fun and relaxing time and can help your child unwind before bed. However some babies and toddlers are frightened of the bath, which can make things feel stressful.
Bed wetting (suitable from 3 years) – Bed wetting is very common in children under 5. This generally goes away on its own.
Biting (suitable 6 months – 3 years) – Most children go through a phase where they will bite another child or their Mum and Dad. They do not understand that they will hurt someone if they bite. Luckily this is usually just a phase.
Coping with a crying toddler – Just like babies, toddlers cry because they’re hungry, tired, uncomfortable or need your attention. Once your toddler can talk, it will be much easier for them to tell you why they’re upset and what they need.
Keeping your child safe from abuse (suitable for 5-11) – Teach your child the Underwear Rule and help protect them from abuse. It’s a simple way that parents can help keep children (age from 5-11) safe from sexual abuse – without using scary words or even mentioning sex.
Your child’s development
Between birth and age five children grow and change very fast. Understanding more about your child’s development may help you understand your child and their behaviour better. Smiling for the first time, holding a toy, crawling, taking a first step and saying their first words are called developmental milestones. These are the things most children can do by a certain age. Most children’s development follows a similar pattern, although the timing of when certain milestones are reached will vary from child to child. Disabled children or children with additional learning needs may take more time to reach the different stages. There is more detailed information about your child’s development in the ‘Bump, Baby & Beyond’ book. This also provides information about feeding, teething, vaccinations, your child’s health and making your home safe. If you are worried about your child’s development – ask your GP or health visitor.
Don’t try to compare your child to anyone else’s. This will put pressure on you and your child. All children are unique. Every child will develop at their own pace and in their own way. They will reach the different development stages at different times. They will also react differently to things around them, depending on their personality or temperament.
The way your child behaves is part of growing up. A lot of the behaviour you find difficult may be perfectly normal for your child’s age and stage of development. Try to enjoy and celebrate your child’s changes and adapt to them.
Here is some general information about the different stages of development and some tips to encourage and support your child.
Your baby in the first month (newborn)
Having a new baby is a very special but very tiring time. It also brings big changes to your life.
Your baby 1 – 6 months
Your baby is becoming a very social being. They love being with you and you will begin to understand more about your baby’s ways and messages.
Your baby 7-12 months
Your baby is becoming more mobile and will take a more active part in family life. They will be able to recognise important, familiar people in their world and may worry when they can’t see or feel you nearby.
Your toddler 1-2 years
At this stage your toddler is becoming much more mobile, is talking more and is trying to be more independent. They are also beginning to know what they want and what they don’t want!
Your toddler 2-3 years
This is an exciting time as your child is able to talk, walk, run and climb to explore the world around them. They have good physical skills but need you to keep them safe. You can help them develop by providing (safe) chances for them to play, while you supervise them.
Your child 3-5 years
Your child is becoming more independent and capable of doing things on their own. They are at the beginning of learning how to get on with others, and can control their feelings better (although they may still have the odd tantrum).
Your child 5-7 years
At this stage your child will be entering into their first few years of education. Watching them try new activities, cheering them on at sports day and applauding them in school plays are usually some of the high points for most parents.
Understanding why your child’s brain is so amazing!
Your child’s brain begins to grow and develop before they are even born. During the first three years it will grow the most and by age three 90% of their brain will be developed. Play, love and care and responding to their cries and babbles will give your child the right kind of experiences to help.
Take time to think about how you respond to unwanted or problem behaviour
Even though it may not feel like it, most of the behaviour you think of as naughty is actually normal behaviour for your child’s age and stage of development. Your child does not do this deliberately or intentionally.
We tend to notice and mention negative behaviour because it is irritating. Unfortunately giving lots of attention to this behaviour may cause it to increase. Instead try to give lots of praise and attention to the behaviours you want to see more of. Alongside giving your child lots of praise, help to build a positive relationship with your child by giving them lots of love and affection, and taking time to talk, listen and play. It will also help if you develop structure and order to your day by establishing some routines.
When you see your child doing something you don’t like, take a little time to think about how to respond.
Key messages of the campaign
Make time to create order and structure to your day
Make time to model the behaviour you want to see
Make time to listen, talk and play
Make time for praise
Make time for love and affection