Gentle parenting motivates caregivers to stop themselves from being triggered by their children’s outbursts and breakdowns, instead focusing on collaboration, cooperation, and positive family relationships – all things that KeaBabies takes into consideration as they create new products to help families grow together.
Out with the old; in with the new. Parenting styles and techniques have continually changed over the years as experts learn more about childhood development. One of the forms of parenting taking the Internet by storm in recent years is gentle parenting. Gentle parenting motivates caregivers to stop themselves from being triggered by their children’s outbursts and breakdowns, instead focusing on collaboration, cooperation, and positive family relationships – all things that KeaBabies takes into consideration as they create new products to help families grow together.
While traditional parenting might include yelling, grounding, and physical punishment, gentle parenting shies away from these things. Mutual respect between the parent and child is at the forefront of this parenting philosophy. Traditional, authoritarian parenting focuses on coercion, obedience, and discipline, while gentle parenting focuses on giving the child a voice and setting healthy boundaries. Gentle parenting is not to be confused with permissive parenting, although it may look like that to outsiders. Gentle parenting simply focuses on emotional awareness and teaching children the natural consequences of their actions.
Gentle parenting teaches that the key to emotional regulation is being able to define feelings and choose how to act on them. This is a valuable skill to teach a child; many adults struggle to identify feelings and emotions. Being able to communicate how you are feeling and why can help a person understand and read other people’s emotional cues. Self-regulation can help children have better problem solving and critical thinking skills, better social intelligence, and healthier relationships with others. If a child can identify and value his own emotions, he will be more capable of compassion and empathy towards his peers. Learning social skills as a child is fundamental to forming positive, mutually beneficial relationships in adulthood.
- Be aware of your own emotions. Is your child’s behavior triggering you? Take a moment to figure out why. Are you hungry, stressed, or overtired? Work through your own feelings before you take them out on your children.
- Understand that behavior communicates a need. Parenting with a sense of compassion and understanding is key to gentle parenting. Focus on motivation and communication, not the behavior.
- Calm an upset child. It’s impossible to parent a child that is upset, crying, or having a tantrum. Aim to calm the child before trying to parent her. Hold your child close, remind her that you love her, and help her calm down before explaining the rules. Validating your child’s feelings first can help them pay better attention once you begin to discuss the rules.
- Help your child release their emotions. Go outside and scream together. Give your child a long hug. Practice some breathing exercises. Again, gentle parenting is all about emotional regulation, not punishing behavior.
- Utilize distraction. Young children respond well to distraction. Give a strong-willed, energetic child specific tasks to do to distract from the temptation to engage in negative behaviors.
Here’s a simple activity you can do with your little one to help them regulate their emotions during a tantrum or a tense situation!
Grab a pack of the KeaBabies Hand and Footprints Inkless Ink Pads. Help your child stamp her handprint onto a white sheet of construction paper. Then, teach your child about the “calm down hand” strategy. Stretch your hand out like a star. Using your pointer finger from your other hand, trace your fingers up and down, while breathing in and out slowly. Breathe in through your nose each time your finger slides up, and exhale through your mouth each time your finger slides down. This can be an effective technique for managing big emotions!
Gentle parenting is a great way to connect with your children and build healthy, meaningful relationships with one another in a way that is mutually respectful.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.