Positive parenting is catching on, and for good reason. As a working mom, I know that it can be difficult to manage the challenges of parenting when working from home. Positive parenting for early childhood is a great way to meet that challenge head-on.
If you’re like me, you might worry that you aren’t giving your children enough time and focus. You might also struggle with proper discipline or keeping up with your child’s developmental milestones.
Positive parenting strategies provide useful insight into childhood development and techniques for ensuring the emotional and physical well-being of our children—and these strategies are simple enough for us busy work-from-home parents to implement.
So, as one working parent to another, I want to share some of these tips with you starting with positive parenting for early childhood: one of the most critical and equally difficult times for us working moms!
Positive Parenting for Early Childhood: Infants (Age 0-1)
Many parents, mothers, in particular, choose to take time off from work during their child’s infancy. I’m all for that, but I also understand that many moms can’t afford to be out of work for long. Whether you’re working during this precious time or not, there are some things you can do to encourage positive parenting for early childhood:
- Talk to your baby: Although your newborn won’t understand the things you say, the sound of your voice is soothing and familiar, and talking to your baby helps foster the beginning of good communication skills.
- Respond to your baby: Pay attention to the little facial expressions, changes in mood, or signs of hunger, tiredness, and distress, then help your baby feel safe by responding to these cues promptly.
- Cuddle your baby: Babies need physical contact with their primary caretaker to foster a healthy attachment. Soothe your baby with cuddles, kisses, and soft words often; you can’t spoil a baby by holding them “too much.”
- Play with your baby: Newborns won’t play much, but you can read, sing, and talk to them. As your baby gets older, you can introduce some age-appropriate toys and activities. Once your baby sits independently, you can encourage spurts of independent play.
Just for Working Moms: I know you’re so busy, and oh so tired! But do your best to spend your baby’s waking moments with him. It’s okay to let your baby rest easy in a bouncer or another safe location for a short work spirit, but keep your baby close so you can talk to him, play with him, and respond to his needs immediately. This time is so hard, but you will get to sleep again one day, and you will never regret spending more time with your rapidly growing child.
Positive Parenting for Early Childhood: Toddlers (Age 2-3)
Once your baby is on the move, you suddenly find yourself very active too! Toddler years are so much fun, but they are equally intense. Not only are you dealing with very curious and active little people, you are also helping your child manage their strong emotions, learn appropriate boundaries, and form healthy relationships with everyone in the home.
I think it’s normal for parents to feel overwhelmed during this time, but positive parenting for early childhood will help:
- Read every day: One of the best ways to encourage language development is to read to your child every day.
- Encourage learning: There are many games you can play with a toddler that will build cognitive and motor skills; have some fun and bond with your child every day.
- Praise good behavior: At this age, it’s better to praise good behavior than it is to punish negative behavior—though it is good for a child to respond to the word “no” as soon as they are moving around; a firm but quiet “no” while consistently moving your child away from the “no” objects will do the trick.
- Set a good example: The most important thing you can do to teach your child good behavior and boundaries is to be a good role model. Do your best to be aware of your emotional regulation; demonstrating calmness and empathy during their times of distress is the best way to handle their strong emotions.
Just for Working Moms: It takes a lot of time and energy to be a toddler mom, so do your best to take care of yourself so that you can be a good example for your little one. Take breaks with your toddler, play together, and establish a basic routine. You can also create safe play spaces for your toddler that allow you to work for longer periods of time; keep them within eyesight and don’t wait long before responding to their needs—even when that deadline is approaching.
Positive Parenting for Early Childhood: Preschoolers (Age 3-5)
Preschoolers are so much fun! They are silly, creative, and full of energy. Emotional regulation and learning boundaries within the home can still be challenging, but with consistency, patience, and love your youngster will continue to improve. Here are some things you can do that will help her along:
- Keep conversation going: From daily reading to answering their endless questions, communicating with your preschooler is important for forming their early reading and life skills.
- Set simple boundaries: Establishing a few simple and easy to understand rules for your home will let your preschooler know what you expect from them.
- Work through difficulties together: Help your preschooler make good choices by talking them through their decisions and the outcomes for the choices they make.
Just for Working Moms: Continue to spend quality time with your child every day and encourage their natural curiosity through play. A reward system can promote the behavior you want to see in your home and creating a schedule will help your preschooler know what to expect every day. You can also encourage socialization through playdates or enrollment in a preschool program.
Learn more about positive parenting for early childhood.
Parenting is hard—and being a working parent is even harder, but there are some great resources out there that can help. Positive parenting for early childhood is proven by the CDC to be effective at fostering an emotionally and physically healthy child, and there are a lot of experts out there so do your research and find what works for you and your home.