These 10 essential questions on parenting were taken from questions on forums that I see come up again and again. The very process of parenting raises questions so I hope that this post will help out with giving more info on even just one!
I’ve linked to further resources for each question so you can read more about questions you’re particularly interested in.
These parenting questions won’t answer every question you have, but hopefully it’s a good guide for some of the most common questions about parenting.
The 10 essential questions about parenting:
- WHAT IS CHILD DEVELOPMENT?
- WHEN SHOULD I BE WORRIED THAT MY TODDLER ISN’T TALKING?
- WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN MY TODDLER IS NOT TALKING?
- WHY DO TODDLERS HAVE TANTRUMS?
- HOW DO TODDLERS LEARN THROUGH PLAY?
- WILL TECHNOLOGY RUIN YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT?
- WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN MY TODDLER WON’T GO TO BED?
- WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD START READING?
- WHAT IS CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
- HOW TO MAKE MY CHILD SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE
10 QUESTIONS ON PARENTING… WITH ANSWERS
1. WHAT IS CHILD DEVELOPMENT?
Child development refers to the changes and developments that occur in children from birth until the beginning of adulthood. Children develop skills in 5 key areas which are skills for life and allow them to become independent.
Children develop skills in the following five areas:
- Cognitive Development (thinking skills such as problem solving and predicting).
- Speech and language Development
- Social and Emotional Development
- Fine Motor Skills (co-ordination of small muscles- example, wrists, fingers and hands).
- Gross Motor Skills (co-ordination of big muscles such as torso, arms and legs to complete bigger whole body movements).
Check out my guide to child development and what to expect at each age and stage.
2. WHEN SHOULD I BE WORRIED THAT MY TODDLER ISN’T TALKING?
This is one of the most common questions on parenting. It’s important to have an overview of what’s normal so you don’t worry unnecessarily, and also so you can get help at the right time if it’s needed!
Your toddler’s speech and language will develop rapidly in the first years of life. The general stages are as follows, but remember that it’s different for every child.
However, having a rough idea will help you to decide if your child’s speech and language is developing typically, or if you should seek extra support.
- Babbling (6-8 months)
- One word stage (9-18 months)
- Two word stage (18-24 months)
- Early multiword stage (24-30 months)
- Later multiword stage (30+ months)
It’s so important to remember that speech and language isn’t all about talking. Attention, play skills, understanding, talking, speech sounds, and grammar are all part of speech and language development. It’s like a pyramid where the earlier skills (such as attention, play and understanding) provide the foundation for later stages (talking, speech sounds and grammar).
If your child is falling outside of this range, I would always recommend talking to your GP or Health Visitor. They can organize a more thorough assessment, and will get you and your child support if needed.
Acting early is known as early intervention, and it is definitely something to aim for if your child does need extra support- the earlier the support is provided, the better.
3. WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN MY TODDLER IS NOT TALKING?
When your toddler isn’t talking, it can be really worrying and frustrating. They might be frustrated that they can’t express themselves, and language delays can start to have a knock on impact on other areas such as play, friendships, and early learning.
If your child falls outside of the normal range, it is always worth talking to your GP or Health Visitor. They will be able to provide a more in-depth assessment and support as needed.
However, there is still so much you can do as a parent! Your interactions with your toddler are the most important interactions for building their language.
Try these 5 strategies to get your toddler talking:
- Give them a reason to talk- this involves stepping back and allowing them the opportunity to ask for help or to point something out before you step in.
- Label words for them- make it a habit to point out things and give your toddler the vocabulary. Label more than just object names- give descriptions (big, soft, funny), actions (jumping, running, hiding) and locations (behind, under, in) as well.
- Use comments instead of questions– instead of asking questions to draw language out, make comments and feed language in.
- Read lots of books with your toddler– books provide a platform to expose your child to new and exciting vocabulary that they don’t encounter in everyday life. Let your child point out what interests them and then feed in the language for what they’re interested in.
- Sing rhymes with your child- rhymes are a brilliant way to encourage toddlers to talk as they are repetitive, fun, have a great rhythm, and often have actions. Repeat the same one or two rhymes so your child becomes very familiar with it- this makes it much more likely that they will start to join in and say the words.
4. WHY DO TODDLERS HAVE TANTRUMS?
Tantrums are a normal way for toddlers to show that they are upset, tired or frustrated. They don’t yet know how to process complex emotions and they don’t have the words to express themselves. Their tantrum is their way of communicating.
The goal as a parent is to teach your child the positive alternative. These 9 strategies for handling tantrums will show you exactly how to teach your toddler the positive behavior that will (eventually) replace the tantrum.
5. HOW DO TODDLERS LEARN THROUGH PLAY?
Play is central to the development of your child’s ability across many areas. It is a place for them to practice social-emotional skills and problem-solving, to develop theory of mind, to extend their imagination, and to develop speech and language skills, as well as fine and gross motor skills.
Play is a place where toddlers can ‘put their foot in it’ and learn and improve from these occasions.
As play becomes more complex, the opportunities for practicing more complex language also increase. Playing imaginatively allows children to develop theory of mind- to put themselves in others’ shoes, understand what they are thinking and their emotions, and to develop abstract thinking.
6. WILL TECHNOLOGY RUIN YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT?
There are many risks associated with technology. Technology can displace experiences that are essential for your child’s development. Although apps can be educational, any time spent in front of technology is time away from play and from real life interactions. These are the times your toddler truly learns so it’s so important to safeguard these times!
A second risk is that, without boundaries, technology and the internet have the potential to be hugely dangerous for children.
Technology has the potential to disrupt your child’s development and displace valuable learning opportunities in life.
However, when technology is managed with guidelines and the same parenting skills as in other areas of your child’s life, technology can enhance your child’s development.
7. WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN MY TODDLER WON’T GO TO BED?
Children need a solid night’s sleep so they have energy for the day. Not getting enough sleep will have a knock-on effect on so much- their mood, their interactions and even their learning.
When you’re toddler won’t go bed, consider starting a healthy sleep routine that they become more and more independent in following. It isn’t easy but it’s important!
Try these tips:
- Set up the environment to be calm and relaxing.
- Plan out the bedtime routine- include all main steps such as brushing your teeth, getting into pyjamas, and choosing one story.
- Represent each step on a visual checklist to reinforce the routine.
- Give a 10 minute warning before bed.
- Tick off each step on the visual schedule as you and your toddler complete it. Gradually teach your toddler to do this independently.
- Say good-night… and stick to it.
- Use a mix of planned check-ups and planned ignoring on your plan. Ensure each parent follows the agreed plan and acts consistently.
- Give lots of specific praise when your toddler follows their bedtime routine!
8. WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD START READING?
Reading is a special time and boosts your toddler’s development in a whole range of ways. It is never too early to start reading with your child.
At the beginning, they may only look at the pictures. This is an opportunity for you to feed in language based on what they are interested in. As much as possible, make book reading an interactive time with your toddler. Use the book as a platform for a back and forth conversation.
Reading with your toddler will help their development in several areas.
- Talking about how the characters think and feel will improve your toddler’s social skills and theory of mind.
- Reading with your toddler will give them a set of skills to first understand and then tackle problems in a friendship.
- Story books for toddlers are great for developing predicting and problem-solving skills. Often there’s an ‘uhoh moment’ in a story that toddlers love. Practicing these skills when reading can form an effective foundation of these skills in real life. Remember that books can be read over and over so your child can learn how the problems are solved.
- Reading to your toddler lets you develop their ‘emotional vocabulary.’ When you name the emotions the characters are feeling through the situations they face, you can teach your toddler to identify and understand a range of emotions.
- Books give a platform for you to build your toddler’s language. The vocabulary in books is different from everyday vocabulary and contain lots of words that your toddler will not be exposed to in everyday life.
- Reading develops language skills, and children with stronger language skills have an advantage across every single area of learning– not just literacy.
- Reading is a focused time where you can give your child loads of attention. This makes it a valuable tool to have brilliant conversations, talk about issues, provide coaching as a parent, and to encourage them.
9. WHAT IS CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Childhood resilience is the ability to take risks, and to know that setback is not a failure. Resilient children are more likely to persevere and problem-solve rather than give up. They don’t fear failure and as a result they find much more enjoyment in the learning process.
This is also known as a ‘growth mindset’. People that have a growth mindset see their qualities and traits as things that can be developed. With hard work and persistence, you can learn new things. Every skill or trait can be improved.
How can you help your child develop a growth mindset?
- PRAISE THE PROCESS, NOT THE RESULT: Instead of saying ‘you’re really smart’ (praising the outcome), try praising your children for the skills they show in the process of completing a task. Praise their hard work, their persistence and their focus. This shows your child that you value these traits in them- the end result isn’t the important thing. When you praise in this way, you are giving your child permission to have setbacks. They will continue to show persistence, hard work and focus and continue to enjoy the activity. This resilience and love of learning is what is most important for achievement!
- Remember that a growth mindset applies to all skills, including sports, creativity and even social skills such as sharing and showing patience or kindness.
10. HOW TO MAKE MY CHILD SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE
This question possibly sums up all other questions on parenting. Ultimately, we just want our kids to be happy and successful… but how do we do it?
The first step in making your child successful in life is to define what success is.
Success might be:
- The ability to form and keep strong friendships.
- Resilience- the ability to problem-solve and persevere despite setbacks.
- Happiness- for your child to be happy and confident with good self-esteem and self-worth.
- Good character, morals and values and able to contribute to the world.
- Academic success- high achievement in school.
- A strong work ethic.
Children learn from you as their parent more than anyone else. To help your child be successful in any of these areas, you will need to actively teach it.
You can actively teach social skills, problem solving, resilience and more. The words you say to your child are powerful- you can help them to re-frame their thoughts and attitudes.
For example, ‘that’s OK, you can try again‘ or ‘you can’t do that yet, but you can learn and improve.’ Or even, ‘It was great how you kept trying until you got it!‘
Your child learns most of all by watching you- watching how you react, what you say, and how you problem-solve. Actively and intentionally model the skills that you want your kids to learn!
Use books as teaching tools, too- stories are full of situations with characters that you can discuss and learn from (and it’s fun!)
It’s the idea of Intentional Parenting- make a plan for how you will teach your child to develop these skills every single day. Plan the kind of parent you want to be, plan out scripts you could use, including how you might react to problems or challenges. Prioritize what’s important for your child. And be consistent!
And That’s It!
I hope you enjoyed these 10 questions about parenting. Did it answer your particular parenting questions? Let me know in the comments!
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