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Practical Parenting

With 16 years as a nanny under her belt, Alison Yardley had plenty of practical experience to start Lighter Parenting – Edinburgh’s own ‘supernanny’ consultancy. Here she reveals her top parenting tips

  1. Your kids, your choice! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad, parenting is hard enough! Try and go with your gut.
  2. Put yourself first – or put on your own oxygen before helping those around you! You matter – and your children will feel more secure if you are happy and healthy.
  3. Try to be consistent. It really doesn’t matter too much which parenting style you go with, as long as you are consistent in your approach, hence my use of the acronym ‘CALM’ – consistent and loving methods.
  4. Praise what you love – be specific. Good boy/girl is too vague.
  5. Let your children make mistakes and take risks. Small mistakes and hurts today will help your most precious to avoid making big mistakes further down the line. And your trust in them will boost their self-confidence.
  6. You don’t need to over-explain things. Try being a broken record. “Don’t pull his t-shirt please, it might rip”. “But we’re playing a game”. “Don’t pull his t-shirt please, it might rip”.
  7. Avoid nagging by allowing natural consequences. For example: “Sorry there’s no television. You took too long to tidy up.”
  8. Allow your kids to feel bored. From boredom comes creativity and independence. So read your book, drink your coffee and allow your children to learn how to play independently.
  9. Get outdoors daily. Find a forest/park/field/beach. And be free. Do get dirty, do climb, do play with sticks. Have fun! Clothes, kids, your car are washable – but the joy and benefits of outdoor play are irreplaceable.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’d hire an expert to fix your plumbing or train your dog, so why not ask a pro when you face a conundrum with your little ones?

Lighter Parenting, 07791 592 242, www.lighterparenting.com