3 Tips to Parent Young Children
If you were brutally honest with yourself, how would you rate your parenting skills and levels of patience with your children?
Yeah, I know it’s not a walk in the park. I’ve been there.
For a long time, I didn’t expect more from my children, or from myself. I thought that if they ended up praying 5 times a day and fulfilling their basic obligations by the time they’re adults, I would have done a good job. I played small and I was afraid of trying to do more. Didn’t want to overwhelm the kids or myself.
After a certain point, I said, ‘That’s enough!.’ Because ‘mediocre’ is not what I want for me. That’s not what I want for my children.
So, instead of suppressing the greatness that could be, I decided to take the leap and try to do more. And nothing is impossible if we have Allaah’s Help, isn’t it?
The message I have for you is to go big and have greater expectations from your children. And with greater expectations, comes the need to parent them better.
Most parents want to give their children the best possible upbringing, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to.
Let’s dive into 3 of the most basic parenting tips to up your parenting game, in sha Allaah.
1 – Prevention is better than cure.
Firstly, children need predictability and structure to feel a sense of safety and security. When there is order at home, they will feel less stressed out. If they get stressed or if there is chaos at home, they can act out.
So make sure that they have a structured daily routine. You could create a behaviour/star chart with a list of their everyday routine items. Depending on their age, you would have items like daily duas, bath/shower time, help with laundry and tidying and schoolwork/reading/writing/anything else.
Duaa: This is a wonderful habit that you can help them with as soon as they are able to talk. If they are in the habit of turning to Allaah for all their needs, imagine how powerful this makes them!
Cleanliness: If they learn how to keep their body, clothes and living space clean early, you’ll be able to focus on other things like their salaah, fasting, extra learning and Quraan as they grow. Cleanliness is not a gender-specific skill meant for girls alone. You wouldn’t want your son to ever be dependent on someone else for something so basic.
Learning: Learning doesn’t have a start and end date. It’s something we need to be doing every day until we die. So, it’s best to get our children into the habit of learning every day, whether it’s a school day or the weekend/summer holidays.
Secondly, they want to gain your attention and approval. If they get this, they will be more willing to play independently. If not, they might misbehave just to get your attention.
So, spend time with them by talking, playing, reading, etc. If not, you may have to spend time dealing with their tantrums and unending bids for attention.
2 – Reward Your Children When They Behave Well
When you do a good deed, Allah rewards you 10 to 700 times or more. And when you do a bad deed, Allah writes it down as just 1 bad deed.
You can use this in your parenting journey too. One of the easiest ways to bring out the best in our children is to reward them for their good behaviour. When you notice your child behaving well, make a big deal out of it. (This is your chance to be over-dramatic.) Reward them with lots of praise, hugs and thanks. And when they do something wrong, keep the negative consequences to a minimum. Easy, isn’t it? Rewarding children is something that comes naturally to every parent, anyway. We are sometimes forced to hold ourselves back for fear of spoiling those precious beings.
3 – Pick Your Battles
When young children don’t behave appropriately, many times the best thing to do would be to ignore that misbehaviour.
Anas (radiyallaahu anh) says, “I served him [the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)] for nine years, but I do not know that he ever said to me about anything I did, why I did that, or about anything I had neglected, why I had not done that.” [Saheeh Muslim]
Now think about how much patience we have with children. Especially with preschool children, the best way to handle their misbehaviour is to ignore it and redirect their attention to something else. For example, if they’re picking their nose or something, hand them crayons (keep their hands occupied with something else) and turn their attention to the bird in the sky that looks super-cute all of a sudden.
These are just the most basic tips to parent young children.
All the best!