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How to practice positive parenting at home 

little girl walking hand in hand with her parents

Key points:

  1. Matthew Sanders’ research in 1999 provided practical strategies for children’s social and emotional development.
  2. Positive parenting strategies for preschoolers include a safe environment, independent learning, assertive discipline, and realistic expectations.
  3. Discipline approaches should focus on ground rules, logical consequences, time-outs, and clear instructions.
  4. Self-care and emotional well-being are crucial for effective parenting.

In 1999, psychologist and researcher Matthew Sanders, from the University of Queensland in Australia, published an acclaimed paper in the journal Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review where he presented some of the first evidence of practical strategies and features parents can adopt to nourish their children’s social and emotional development.

Based on his findings, here are some evidence-based strategies of positive parenting you can implement with your preschooler:

  • Ensure a safe and engaging environment that provides lots of opportunities for exploration, play, and creativity.
  • Create a positive learning environment. Be mindful of your responses to requests for help, advice, attention, etc. Try to be interested and assist your child in adventuring into exploring and trying things independently (ex. taking off clothes, using a fork to eat, etc.).
  • Use assertive discipline. Instead of shouting, threatening, or using physical punishments when you feel overwhelmed or frustrated with your preschooler’s defiance, try some of the following: have and discuss ground rules for specific situations with them, maintain logical consequences, use quiet time and time-outs, give age-appropriate instructions and requests in a calm and clear manner.
  • Hold realistic expectations. Being mindful of your little one’s development in different areas helps a lot.
  • Take care of yourself. Although at times it may seem all-consuming, parenting is just another part of your life and your well-being is essential for it. Take time for self-care, and be in touch with your emotions and inner life. Reach out to your support network when you need it.

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