My Mom’s Parenting Tips for Every Stage

Today’s guest blog post is my favorite guest post ever! Mostly because it’s written by my own mama, the best mom in the universe (that’s a fact). She has been there for me and my sister from day one and, even though she worked full-time, I never once felt like I didn’t have enough time with her. She taught me what it looked like to follow your own dreams while being the best mom possible.

If I can be half the mother that she is, my kids will be in good shape. I asked her to pull together three tips for each stage of parenthood, and this is what she sent me. The tips for being a grandparent are my current favorite. I also love all the photos she sent of us together for each stage!

Take it away, mom…

Infants

  • Forget about housework for the first few months. You have two jobs only right now: (1) Get to know and love your baby and (2) Help yourself recover physically and emotionally from pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Mimic the womb: swaddle, shush, swinging, sucking. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.
  • Drink a lot of water, get some fresh air daily, and sleep when the baby sleeps.

Toddlers

  • Encourage communication. Remind her to use sign language or words to express her feelings.
  • Offer choices, when appropriate. Your child wants to be independent, so let him pick a pair of pajamas or a bedtime book.
  • Get her to pay attention by saying “Look at my face” or “Listen to my words.”

Grade School Children

Love my sleeves in this pic and my buck teeth pre-braces!

  • Praise good behavior. This is more effective in the long run than scolding about bad behavior. Use a behavior sticker chart.
  • Tell your child what to do, not what not to do. “Put the dress-up clothes back in the box” is better than “Clean up your mess.”
  • Read to your child daily.

Teenagers

  • Read Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Cheryl and Me to the Mall? by Dr. Anthony Wolf before they turn 12 and start rolling their eyes at you.
  • Institute regularly scheduled family meetings. Set ground rules like one person talks at a time with no interruptions and only positive feedback is allowed.
  • Schedule regular unplugged time to be with family. Cook, walk, bike, etc. Prioritize eating meals together, if possible. It’s a good way to bond, talk, and keep in touch.

Adult Children

  • Keep the lines of communication open. Think of yourself as a sounding board, not an advisor. Listen more than you talk. Advise only when solicited.
  • Do things you love together. Find a common ground. Sharing an activity will lead to increased intimacy.
  • Respect their choices as you would with any adult. Speak with them as you would with other adults.

Grandchildren

  • Follow the new parents’ rules, even if you think you know better. Respect and trust the parents and let them make their own mistakes.
  • Think of yourself as their assistant, not as the Queen Mother. Ask what they want and need. Maybe it’s folding the laundry or maybe it’s watching the baby so the mom can take a nap.
  • Provide positive feedback. Even the most well-prepared new parents may feel insecure and could use a little confidence building.

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  1. Katherine said:

    I love these….so simple yet effective. I only have a toddler (18 months) but find if I give two choices he really does a lot better. We are having our second at the end of the month and I am really trying to tell myself to slow down this time and other house work can wait. I feel like I was so nervous the first time I didn’t get to fully enjoy it.

    5.3.21 · Reply
  2. Cynthia said:

    Such wonderful advice! Seems like the theme is building on the positive, and I am all about that ☺️

    5.3.21 · Reply
  3. Linda said:

    Speaking as a mom of 3 sons and a nana of 8, your mom’s advice is spot on! You don’t have to worry about a lot of little “rules” just follow these great tips and you’ll do good!

    5.3.21 · Reply
  4. Erica said:

    This is one of my favorite posts of all time! I love it. As a mother to two little ones straddling the toddler/grade school categories, I found the advice helpful and actionable. And I teared up thinking about my little ones as teenagers and adults.

    5.3.21 · Reply
  5. This might be my favorite post from your site 🙂 Love love love every single one of these tips and perspectives… they are a wonderful reflection of who your mother must be

    5.3.21 · Reply
  6. Hannah said:

    Oh, this is the best reminder! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll definitely book mark this.

    5.3.21 · Reply
  7. Olivia said:

    Love everything about this! Happy early Mother’s Day!

    5.3.21 · Reply
  8. Emilie said:

    Mom of a toddler and baby here and I love this advice! Thank you for sharing positive content. Your mom sounds like a wonderful person.

    5.3.21 · Reply
  9. Sam said:

    These are great tips! Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman, mother, and grandmother!

    5.3.21 · Reply
  10. Joanna Warden said:

    As the mother of a 12 year old, there has never been a more perfect title for a book!

    Fabulous post and congrats on gorgeous Luca!

    5.4.21 · Reply
  11. Sarah said:

    I have never commented on your blog, but I love this post so, so much.

    5.5.21 · Reply
  12. Ellie said:

    What a lovely post! I have no children of my own but am a willing aunt and godmother… Also equally useful for managing adult relationships and supporting friends/siblings with small ones x

    5.5.21 · Reply
  13. These are amazing!! What great insight – how sweet for her to compile this for you! This may sound odd, but I would love this in a printable format!!

    5.6.21 · Reply
  14. I’m so in love with this post!
    These tips are so practical, for parents and loved ones alike.

    Thank you fir sharing, Julia ❤️

    7.9.21 · Reply