PLN Answers Your Parenting Questions: Children (Part 3)

As kids grow, so does your list of worries. Kick back and let PLN answer your burning questions. 

Your child is growing and gaining independence, but your guidance is needed now more than ever. PLN has gathered advice on some of the biggest hot-button issues for children, including input from Parenting Expert and Author Alyson Schafer.

In case you missed the series, here’s Part 1 with newborns and Part 2 with toddlers.

How can I encourage my child to be kind and polite?  

Kathy Zaremba Model the behaviour and recognize your children when they are being kind and polite. Focus on positive behaviour as much as possible.  

Alyson SchumerFirst of all, being kind and polite to them… That is why I encourage parents to take a positive approach with their kids. The other thing is to encourage them and stimulate them to do nice things.  

Allison Welsh:  In regards to kindness, I believe that you get what you give. So, if I am kind to her and others, she will be kind in return.  

Erica Mino: I am always reminding, showing and teaching my kids how to be polite.

Nanny RobinaThe best way is to set by example and verbally acknowledge actions. ‘Thank you for carrying the shopping bags in, I really appreciate you doing that.’ Show how thankful you are. It goes a long way. 

My oldest child likes to ‘mother’ their younger siblings. Should I discourage this?  

Kathy ZarembaNo, I think this is great. As long as they aren’t bossing the younger children around, it’s great to encourage the kindness and sharing that would go hand in hand with this.  

Alyson Schafer: Kindness is encouraged but when we look at the roles and the responsibilities It’s mom and dad’s job for correction. I would say thank you, but it’s my jo, not yours. Lots of older siblings want to help. They want to hold their hand. They want to wipe their face. If the motivation is sweetness then that is lovely.  

Nanny Robina: This role may lead to trouble as often an older sibling will use this role as a way of becoming bossy. In a nice, calm tone explain that you’re the parent, and he is a great older sibling, He may need a few reminders on the way on what an older brothers role is and what a parents role is. 

How can I eliminate sibling rivalry?   

Alyson Schafer: We need to live in non-competitive households and what makes households competitive is when parents are quietly judgmental… when we praise the kids, we are making an evaluation of them… It becomes a rating scale. I am one-upping you or one downing you by tattling on you.

Gabby WagnerThere will always be some level of sibling rivalry, they all have different personalities, needs and want that love/attention. I make sure I am giving each child 1-1 time. I do separate cuddle time/kisses/goodnights for bed. I always have individual “dates” with the kids when I can.  

What can I do to make the morning routine as smooth as possible?   

Alyson Schafer: Give yourself more time than you think. Kids are more likely to be cooperative around routines that they establish.

Kathy Zaremba: Plan ahead. Have food prepped and clothes out and ready to go. We always start our morning with a devotional and prayer time and it sets the tone of the day. While we are getting ready we normally play music as well and it lifts everyone’s moods and helps us to get ready even quicker.

What is the best things parents can do to encourage their children to be active?  

Kathy Zaremba: Be an example. Get active with your children. Plan lots of outdoor activities with your children and make it fun.

Alyson Schafer: Kids really want their parent’s engagement and involvement. Think of activities you can do together… Lighten up and don’t forget to enjoy it. Family is fun and it’s amazing. We literally forget to have fun together.   

Kim Booth: Participate with them! Hikes and nature walks are a great start. Swimming, biking, skating, and sledding are all fun to do as a family! 

What is the best way to help your child deal with anxieties around sleeping?   

Alyson Schafer: Get them to exercise their courage. They can create separate anxiety if they know that they can sleep in their parent’s bed. We don’t want them to gain that benefit. 

Kathy ZarembaI don’t agree with forcing children to stay in their own beds as I feel that attachment parenting has really worked for us. But we did give 10 high fives in the morning when they slept right through. They were always excited for this. Also, incentives of being able to have sleepovers at grandma and papas when they started sleeping through the nights consistently helped.

In case you missed the full series, here’s Part 1 with newborns and Part 2 with toddlers.

So PLNers, did we solve your latest parenting dilemma? The good (or bad) news is that kids are always throwing us for a loop or a new challenge. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, you can always check out a book by one of our parenting experts. Alyson Schafer’s latest book, Ain’t Misbehavin’, offers a quick index to 150 common parenting perils.  

Melissa Robertson

Melissa Robertson

Melissa Robertson divides her time between writing her for the Parent Life Network and wrangling her three children that have lovingly helped her earn the title 'hot mess mom'.