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Blue Ribbon Campaign emphasizes parenting skills

Published 5:43pm Saturday, May 31, 2014

QUESTION: What are the parenting tips that are being shared state-wide to create communities where every child is safe, valued and loved?

ANSWER: The Blue Ribbon Campaign, that is emphasized in April, but needs to continue all year long, highlights the following parenting skills:

What’s a parent to do with a crying baby? 1. Check to see if the baby is wet, tired, hungry or wants company. 2. Try a pacifier; it may calm the baby. Chill the pacifier if your baby is teething. 3. Try holding the baby in different positions and gently rocking. 4. Walk with the baby held closely or in a stroller. A ride in the car may help. 5. Talk softly or sing to the baby. 6. Talk to your pediatrician if recurrent crying is a problem.

Values are caught, not taught: 1. Be enthusiastic about new experiences. Your child will be, too. 2. Laugh with your child every day. 3. Encourage your child to put himself in another’s place. He will learn empathy. 4. Express feelings in words, not in displays of anger. 5. Let children know that who they are is more important than what they do.

There are skills involved for effective discipline: 1. Teach self-control by your example. 2. Set routines for bedtime, meals and chores. 3. Explain reasons for your rules. 4. Try to understand your child’s feelings. 5. If your child breaks a rule, control your anger. 6. Compliment your child often.

What helps make bedtimes go smoothly? 1. Start quiet activities about an hour before bedtime. 2. A warm bath may help relax your child. 3. Set a routine. Perhaps a favorite book, a drink of water and a good night kiss. 4. Set limits: one story, one drink of water and one kiss.

Practice the steps that help you “cool down” when tensions increase. 1. Take a deep breath, and then another and remember that you are the adult. 2. Close your eyes and imagine you’re hearing what your child is about to hear. 3. Press your lips together and count to ten, and then do it again, backwards 4. Phone a friend. 5. Turn on some music, maybe even sing along. 6. Drink a glass of cold water, it lowers your blood pressure and slows down your automatic responses.

Remember to use respectful language, recognize improvement, say “I love you” often and take care of yourself; children learn by watching you.

If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out the PRC Specialty Library (105 First St. S.E., Austin. and www.familiesandcommunities.org


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