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Title: Positive Parenting and Readiness for School

Category: Positive Parenting


     There are numerous positive parenting techniques which help  prepare children for school.  Four of the most basic goals include:

1. Establish a healthy positive self image in each child.

2. Teach strong social skills.  

3. Establish a home with a positive learning environment and one that respects education and makes it fun and exciting.

4. Share lots of quality family time together and thus truly be a family.

     The foremost key to a child's success in school is a healthy  self image.  The most important step toward it is letting each  child know how much you love him.  This should be done verbally  and physically with lots of affection and individual attention  and praise.  Use every opportunity to praise your child's unique  qualities and efforts, specifically and sincerely.  Avoid undue  amounts of criticism.  Strive for positive, consistent and fair  discipline.  Teach your child with each correction and remind him  you love him and you want him to be his best.  One of the  greatest keys in determining your child's self esteem is your own  self esteem as a parent.  A child will emulate their parents and  strive to be all the things they see in their parents, both good  and bad.  This is a great responsibility for us but it is very  much worth the challenge.  To teach vital social skills to our children we should  demonstrate them daily in our own lives.  In other words, if we  are friendly, courteous and loving to all around us, our children  will model our example and learn the essential skills of getting  along with others.  We can teach good listening as well as  speaking skills by being a family that shares time together  listening to each other courteously and respecting each child's  opinion.                

    Encourage the youngest to express himself with good  questions and full attention.  Ideally your home will be a place  where everyone in the neighborhood likes to come, where kids are  always welcome.  These vital social skills, once learned, will  help your child immensely in their early school years and  throughout their life. 

     A child who is excited about education is usually one whose  family values education.  Teachers are revered and reading is  more important in the home than television.  Unfortunately this  is not very typical of American homes today but it is certainly  worth all of us striving for.  Again, our children will model our  example and so if we spend four hours a day watching TV and only  four minutes reading, we can't expect our children to be  dedicated readers.  It is critical that we as parents control TV  time as well as other things (such as Nintendo) and keep them in  proper perspective with regular reading and good conversational  time.  One of the best things you can do with young children is  to read to them regularly.  The classics are especially good and  books which teach values.  There are numerous books available for even the youngest child's age level in all book stores and libraries today.

      Expectations projected by parents are usually  fulfilled by their children.  For this reason, strive to mirror a  positive, optimistic expectation so as to stretch each child to  his full potential.  The child with lots of praise in the home  will more likely have higher expectations for himself and strive  to be just a little bit bigger because of that positive  expectation and high praise to criticism ratio.  There is no substitute for regular quality time with our  children.  This creates lots of happy memories and positive  mental tapes in their minds.  No boarding school, day care center, enrichment  toddler program or anything else can substitute for good quality family time shared on a day by day,  year by year basis.  Making meals a real priority and turning off the phone and the TV is a good place to start. 

      Planning weekends, vacations and special times together as a family and letting the children contribute to the planning is another great  way to build happy memories.  Every day is a teaching day and parents are their children's first and ultimately most important  teachers. Each child has special God given gifts and qualities which must be nourished to flower into a beautiful unique bloom.  As parents we should strive for the unique ingredients necessary  in each child's case to bring that unique bloom into its full flower.   

     These positive parenting principles along with numerous  suggestions (available in all bookstores today) will reap  lifelong dividends. Remember, as a prayerful parent, you always have a Heavenly Father available as a silent partner.