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How to Be a Fantastic Parent

Kids don’t come with a manual, and parents don’t get results to confirm they’re doing things right. The reality is every child is different and there is no fixed approach to being the best parent, but these tips should set you off in the right direction at the very least.

Take control, children need limits, they help them understand an often puzzling world. By setting boundaries so your kids can explore their passions safely. Remember that discipline is not punishment; enforcing limits is about teaching kids how to act in the world and helping them become in control.

Give them freedom, your little one’s aim in life be independent. So when they’re capable of doing things themselves such as cleaning their plate and dressing themselves, let them. Giving a child responsibility is good for their confidence.

Choose your battles, Kids can switch off if you throw too many rules at them. Don’t argue about little stuff, concentrate on the things that really matter like no hitting, rude talk, or lying. Never take disrespect from your child, don’t allow them to be rude to anyone or yourself. If they are, tell them firmly that you won’t stand for it.

Play with them, let your child pick the activity, and don't worry about rules, just go with it. Also encourage daddy play time, the biggest untapped source for improving our children lives is time with Dad. Kids who have this often do better in school, problem-solve more effectively, and in general cope better with whatever comes their way.

Read books together, do this every day. Start when they’re a new-born; babies love hearing their parents' voices. Snuggling up with your child and a book is a great way to bond and will set them up for a life of reading.

Be a good role model, Kids learn by observing their parents. Modelling respectful, good behaviour works miles better than just telling them what is right. For example if you want your child to tell the truth, then behave in that way yourself.  Also know to apologise when you mess up, it’s the top way to show your child when they should say sorry.

Respect parenting differences, Support your spouse's approach to raising kids - unless out of line. Criticizing your partner can do more harm than if you accept that your principles are different. You should also kiss and hug your partner in front of the kids, your relationship is the main example of an intimate relationship your child has; it's your job to set the standard.

Give proper praise, replace simply saying “well done” with being specific about what your child did. You could say, "Waiting until I was off the phone to ask a question was good, I like your patience." Go the extra mile by gossiping about your kids, Fact: What we overhear is much more potent than what we are told straight. Let your child catch you whispering a compliment about him to someone.

Give yourself a break, getting a takeaway when you're too tired to cook doesn't make you a bad parent. Also learn to say no to take on extra obligations, at work for example. You will never regret spending more time with your children.

Ask several "you" questions day-to-day, conversation is a vital social skill, but parents can often forget to demonstrate it.  Ask questions like, "Did you enjoy school?" or "What did you do at the party?” Also recognise your child’s emotions. When your child's meltdown is over, ask "How did that feel?" and listen to him. He'll recover from a tantrum easier if you he talks it out.

Don't raise a spoiled kid, every child is a treasure, and although your child may be your world, no child is the centre of the universe. Try to recall this and teach your child accordingly.

Teach to your kids why values are essential. The easy answer: When you're generous, honest, and respectful, you make other people feel good, and you’ll feel good in return. To enforce this you could always have a "gratitude circle" at dinner. Go around the table and talk about the people who were kind to you that day. As cliché as it sounds, it’ll make everyone feel good.

Get kids moving, research shows that brain development in children could be linked to their activity level. Lay your baby on her tummy a few times during the day, let your toddler walk rather than ride in the stroller, and make opportunities for your child to get plenty of exercise.

Keep sun cream next to the toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It'll become as natural as brushing their teeth.

Recognise when to toilet train, these are signs that your child is ready to use the potty: if they sense the urge to wee and poo, and if they ask for a nappy change.

Savour the moments.  Parenting is the most draining job on the planet; your house is a mess, the laundry is piled up, the dog needs to be walked. But your kid child just giggled. Enjoy it now - it will be over before you know it.

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