Don’t Lose your Sanity: 13 Parenting Tips and Resources to Use with Young Children

These parenting tips and resources will help you stay sane. I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke about insanity being reversely inherited– you get it from your kids!

Parenting 4 Strong Willed Children

My husband and I have raised four strong-willed children and we had days where we seemed to be at our wits’ end with how to help our children. Here is a collection of parenting tips, articles, hints and helps to assist you in keeping your sanity and being successful as a parent.

One! Every one gets one mercy call.  Especially if you tend to get upset easily, remember that everyone needs some mercy once a day. Laugh if you can.

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Two:   If you volunteered to work with a group of kids, whether it is Awana, Boy Scouts, Pioneer girls or gym class, being kind and doing your best are two great rules to follow. Click on this article for some more parenting tips and great ideas.

Rule #1:  BE KIND to each other. There’s a Patch the Pirate song that starts out, “Be kind to one another, Be tenderhearted, too. Be kind to one another, in everything you do!” This song is taken from Ephesians 4:32 in the Bible. You might be surprised at this rule, but it is surprising how much territory kindness covers.

Problem: “You’ve got glasses! Four-eyes! Your new name is Four Eyes!” The answer: Teasing is not kind so it is not allowed. (And I may make the offender do an extra chore, too!)

Problem: Bobby says, “They aren’t letting me play tag!” The answer: Excluding someone is not kind, so it is not allowed.

Rule Two: Do Your Best.

I don’t expect my younger child to be able to perform at the level of my third child,  even though in some areas  at some times their skills may be in the same general vicinity. I am happy when each child is doing hisher best, putting forth some effort to improve a little bit as they are able.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Encouragement and praise are great motivators- heap them on your children. #goalaccomplish1″ quote=”Encouragement and praise are great motivators- heap them on your children.”]

I love my children right now. I want them to improve, but it doesn’t mean that my love is dependent on a certain level of performance. Make sure your children know that you love them in whatever stage of life they are in!

Problem: Sally is crying. “I can’t kick a soccer ball like Johnny can!” Parent’s Answer: I want you to do your best, not their best. I am satisfied as long as you are doing your best.

Another reminder here: Please, please do not compare children to each other. Each child is an individual! Wisely praise strengths and encourage in weaker areas.

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Parenting Tips: Three

Three:  1) Read to your Child, 2) Listen to your Child Read, 3) Teach your child Literacy Skills  from 3 Ways Parents Can Help Their Child Learn to Read — and Read to Learn.     Of course good parenting is going to involve reading a lot of good books and fun books to your children.  Enjoy this special time together.

We traveled a lot with the children, camping across the United States. One thing we enjoyed was reading to them as youngsters and as they got older.

We read Louis L’Amour Books out loud while we traveled

We read all the Louis L’Amour books out loud: over a hundred of them! I edited as I read.  The children were convinced for many years that the main character in each book ordered ginger ale or root beer in the saloons. Ha!

When they began reading these books for themselves, they were also surprised that some of the characters used bad words. I never read the swear words to them! We also enjoyed reading “We Had Everything But Money,” about the Great Depression. It sure helped the children to realize how blessed their lives are!

Audio books are also a good alternative if you don’t like to read aloud or if it makes you a little carsick to read in the car.

Four things to teach your child:

1) YOUR first name.  If they ever get lost in a store, teach them to stand in one place and yell your first name. This will get your attention faster than hearing them yell, “Mommy.” This is a parenting tip that I hope you don’t ever need.

2) How to manage their own bodies.  Your children should know their body parts and that they are  in control of who touches them. Begin this training at an early age so that it is never awkward for them to talk to you.  This parenting tip will help make a lot of medical and personal conversations easier for both of you.


3) How and when to call 911 or for help from another source. Sometimes bad things happen and you want  your child to have a plan of action in place.  Or perhaps you might have a button on your phone so that your child can call the neighbor or your spouse.

4) Road safety.  Our children were taught to tackle any child in our yard who was headed past the boundary of the house toward the road. Keep your kids safe!

She called the neighbor

I know one time my daughter was home alone while I ran to the store.  Someone she did not recognize in a car  parked across the street,  left the vehicle and went into our garage.  She called the neighbor who came immediately over to find out what was going on. She also called me, so I could get right home!

When kids repeat, use the Four Times Rule!

Another Four: When your kids sing the same song over and over and over again, just shout out, “Four times rule!” Yes, they can sing the same thing over and over four times, but after that, they have to sing a new song. My family enjoys listening to and singing along with Pop Pop’s Teeny Tunes like “Always Say Thank You, Always Say Please,” and “Mommy’s Helper.”

Don’t Lose Your Sanity: Teach THEM self-control!

7 ways to Teach Self Control    From morning routines to bedtime, these are some good ideas to reinforce self control in your children.

Parenting Tips

Another great article: 8 Ways to Achieve Ninja Mom Status During Toddler Tantrums      I liked Kelly’s ‘Watch and Learn’ ideas for cutting off the temptations. This mom also talked to her child about not letting the “magic spell” of a store convince her to buy things that are not on the list. That is a good reminder to me, too!

Seven Tips: Have you gotten volunteered to work with a group of children? During my 20+ years teaching a home school gym class, here are the rules we used to keep order and have a productive class: Two Rules and &  7 Tips for Success.  I wish you well. Is there another rule or tip I should have included?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks!

  • When beginning a game, make sure the children understand what the rules are.
  • Train leaders to help you during the activity. Your helpers will be invaluable some days doing the extra running. Make sure you thank them!
  • Choose teams wisely. No one wants to get stuck on a team that has no hope of winning. If you end up with lopsided teams, change the teams.
Parenting Tips: OUCH!
  • Just say “ouch.” Tell your group ahead of time that no bad language is allowed.  Even if they get kicked in the face with a soccer ball, they should just say “ouch.”


  • [click_to_tweet tweet=”Another good parenting tip: Have silly alternative words that your child can say when he gets angry, like ‘Fiddlesticks!’ or ‘Ketchup and mustard!.’  Often a silly outburst will assist in dispelling anger. #goalaccomplish1″ quote=”Another good parenting tip: Have silly alternative words that the children can say, like ‘Fiddlesticks!’ or ‘Ketchup and mustard!.’  Often a silly outburst will assist in dispelling anger.”]

Eight: This parenting tips article talks about sanity when you have young children: Eight Rules to Staying Sane For Anyone with Young Kids.    While you might not agree with everything Lindsey says, she has a nice way of reminding us about taking care of yourself.

“Sleep is the most important thing in the universe.”  Lindsey also reminds us in this article that an older child who is  2 years old is still a kid, too.

Bonus hint: If you know of a new mom who may be missing her sleep, volunteer to babysit so she can get a nap. She’ll thank you for it!

Nine things to avoid:

Avoid angry outbursts. Remember Thomas Jefferson: When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. 

Don’t mete out punishment when you are angry. Give yourself a cooling down time. Any punishments should be a deliberate measured response that fits the age of the child and the situation.

Don’t ridicule or make fun of a child at their expense.

Don’t let others publicly know about something your child did that was wrong or embarrassing. If you want to tell the story, leave out the name of the child.

Use the generic: “One of my children. . .” This will allow you to tell the story without embarrassing any of your children. If you only have one child, you can start your story, “I heard of a child that did. . .”

Don’t be negative about a child constantly. Find something you can praise your child about. My mother tells of one of my stages as a child when the only positive thing she could think to say was, “You combed your hair nicely today.” At least she found something positive to say!

When possible, discipline and correct your child privately, in a separate room with no siblings looking on. Your child probably knows he did wrong but it will make punishment more bearable if it is done in private.

After correcting your child, don’t leave them with the impression that you are still angry or disappointed in them. Always end a session of correction with a hug and “I love you.”

Don’t make fun or light of a child’s fears or anxieties. The world is a scary place when you are a small person! You can really be the hero here, talking them through scary situations or helping them to get over their fears. Another good read: Halloween: Don’t Scare Your Children.

Parenting tips: Child in an astronaut costume. Text says: Halloween: don't scare your children!


Sometimes we all need a little encouragement. Okay, let’s face it: we all need lots of encouragement. We love to be encouraged!  We appreciate it when people notice our efforts and say thank you. Our children are no different and are more needy than we are in this department.

  • Cheer them on! At a sports event or in their schoolwork, cheer for their success.
  • Incentivize them! As you are able, certain milestones should be rewarded. When my kids learned their 12 x 12 multiplication facts, they got to go out for breakfast at a restaurant with one of the parental units, usually their dad.
  • Inspire them!
  • Reassure them. Sometimes a child needs additional help. Come along side of them and kindly offer the help they need.
  • Console them. Did they do poorly on a test? Be sad with them. Then help them come up with a plan to re-study and do better.
  • Help them! Do they like frogs? Help them catch frogs. Do they want to learn to sing alto? Find a teacher for them.
  • Stimulate them!  A little prodding may be needed at times or even some of the more negative consequences. But children need to know your are serious about giving them the tools they need to succeed.
  • Urge them on!  Let them have goals that you know they can meet, and then celebrate with them when they meet them.
  • Reward them. This can get tricky: a hand stamp or stickers will work for your 4 year old, but you’ll have to stay creative to keep up with this one. Here’s some ideas: being able to Skype with Grandma, pizza for dinner on Friday, having a friend over, being able to sleep in a tent (instead of in bed), being able to sleep in a sibling’s room, choosing the next movie to watch, deciding what  is for dinner or dessert.


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