/PRNewswire/ -- "Resolution day" (Jan. 1) is almost here. Are you ready? Have you decided on your resolutions? For parents, every year offers new joys and challenges. Here are a few ideas for increasing the joy -- and preparing for the challenges -- of parenting in 2010 from ParentingCounts.org.
Love your child for who they are: Every child is unique with different temperaments and different interests. Every day they are learning and growing - and the new year is a perfect time to take a new look at what makes your child special. You can support them as they struggle to master more difficult skills and celebrate their unique successes with them.
Be a part of playtime: Play is how young children learn about the world and practice new cognitive, emotional, and social skills. A parent can learn a lot about their child's developing skills and interests by participating in their play. Your questions, ideas, and attention support your child's curiosity and creativity. Play interactions with you can also help them to develop skills to use when they are playing alone or with peers.
Talk about feelings: Understanding and managing feelings is one of the hardest skills children under five have to tackle. So respect what they are feeling by recognizing their emotions, listening to their thoughts and helping them to work through their emotions.
Be an example: Though your voice, your expressions, your gestures and your actions, your child learns from you how to interact with other people and with the world. You are in a wonderful position to set a positive example for everything from solving problems to showing compassion to buckling seatbelts.
Create routines and stick to them: Children respond to the expected. If you create a bedtime routine that has three steps and you do the same things every night, your child finds comfort in knowing what comes next and will respond in positive ways as a result of sticking to the plan.
Make mealtime special: Whenever possible, make mealtime a time to be together and enjoy a healthy meal. This not only develops a good pattern for eating, but it creates an opportunity to connect as a family.
Make books a part of your child's life: Make reading fun. Cuddle up. Let your child choose the books. By reading to your children, you are helping them to increase their vocabulary, inspiring their imagination, and setting the groundwork for a love of reading.
For more information on parenting and child development, visit www.ParentingCounts.org.
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