A Dad Shares 15 Parenting Secrets

By Don Swinburne on March 07, 2008
All advice should be taken with a grain of salt, although experience is a great teacher. My parents passed some thoughts on to me while others were learned along the way. Maybe some of them will be useful to you.

1 Teach your children to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped car before they cross a street. Making eye contact ensures that the driver knows you are there. This is particularly important when right turns are permitted on red lights.

2 Teach your children how to play and enjoy puzzles at a very early age. Toddlers and young children who are good with puzzles seem to do well in school and in life.

3 Have your kids write a thank-you note to a particularly good teacher at the end of the school year. Parents tend to be critical of teachers but it’s good for kids to know that many do an exceptional job.

4 Instruct your children not to either take or give dares. They can respond by saying, “only stupid people take dares.” Too many children have broken legs, arms or worse by trying to prove that they’re not ‘chicken’.

5 Learn how to perform the ‘Heimlich manoeuvre’ to rescue someone who is choking. It will come in handy at least once in your life.

6 Take a day off work each summer – other than your normal vacation – and let your children choose how the day will be spent.

7 Don’t get caught in a small town with a major medical emergency when on holiday. Get to a big city hospital if the child is stable enough to travel. Find out about the availability of an air or land ambulance. If you’re in a major U.S. city, it might be a good call to stay there if you have appropriate medical insurance.

8 Have your young children learn a second language and teach them to play a musical instrument.

9 Buy bird and flower books that are specific to your area. You can help your children appreciate the natural wonders around them.

10 Check behind the car every time you back your car out of the driveway. Over 500 North American children are killed every year and the saddest part is that in most cases it is the parent who is driving the car.

11 Watch your children’s favourite movies with them.

12
Create a special password with your children to be used only when they are being picked up by someone other than family. If that person doesn’t know the password, instruct your children not to go with them. Warn your kids that a stranger may say that a family member has been in a serious accident or that help is needed to find a lost puppy.

13 Save a newspaper and a magazine from the day your children were born.

14 Teach your children how to shake hands properly – firmly and while making eye contact. Nothing creates a better first impression than a good handshake.

15 Keep syrup of ipecac in your medicine cabinet. It will induce vomiting after a child has ingested poison (but check with your local poison control centre first because some poisons should not be thrown up). Post the phone number on the bathroom mirror. PC

By Don Swinburne| March 07, 2008

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