15 Rules of Thumb for Parenting

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My kids finally go to the same school again. This has been a year in the making and I could not be happier to just have one drop off. The school they go to continues to amaze me daily. This past week they held one of their parent information nights to provide parents tips for our Montessori parenting toolkit. I spoke to the Head of School and she gave me approval to post her Rules of Thumb along with some of my notes from the night. I am not identifying the school for my own privacy. Even if you don’t believe in all of these “rules,” there might be at least one or two that you could use in your parenting. The school suggested keeping a print of the Rules of Thumb on your fridge so that they are top of mind.


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Other take aways from the night:

  • You are the model
    • Model relationships that are loving and positive
    • Respect your child for being, not for what she does or does not do
    • Every problem is an opportunity
    • Most issues stem from a feeling of lack of the two human essentials: Significance and Belonging. Children want to feel that they are significant and that they belong to something.
    • Rules should be: few and thought out, about safety, capable of being kept, take in all members of the family, no’s and yes’s should be consistent and predictable
  • Behavior Guidance – We all have a hard time sometimes, parent or kid. Here are some tips for when things get rough.
    • When in doubt, give a hug
    • Assume your child has good intentions and motives
    • Always be loving in your approach
    • Be specific, brief and positive – tell the child exactly what you want them to stop doing, instead of just saying “stop that.” Tell them what you DO want them to do.
    • Use a calm, soft voice
    • Never humiliate
    • Never use sarcasm, kids don’t get it
    • Use role modeling when appropriate
    • “When it’s over it’s over” – don’t keep bringing it up
  • Order
    • Kids want to know what to expect, a sense of familiarity and security
    • Consistent no’s and yes’s help them know where they stand
    • Promote independence with an organized environment
  • Independence
    • Every unnecessary help is an obstacle to development
    • Provide developmentally appropriate autonomy, instruction and time to try
    • Do not lavish praise, but encourage and acknowledge
    • Encourage self assessment – “what do you think?”
    • Comment on and acknowledge the process – “I could see you were really concentrating.”
  • Language
    • The way we speak to our children is the way they will speak
    • Make conversation important
    • Have a positive attitude
    • Ask for ideas, then listen
    • Encourage opinions and listen
    • Read

4 thoughts on “15 Rules of Thumb for Parenting

  1. YES! I need to put these on my fridge! I love so many of these, but especially “Every problem is an opportunity.” I try to remember this as much as possible. Nothing is worse than seeing my child act out one of my or my husband’s bad behaviors. Nothing like putting a mirror in my face!

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  2. This is so wonderful. I still remember another post you did about lessons you learned from the Montessori school about fostering independence and that stuck with me. Sharing this one with my husband because I know he’ll love this.

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