The Best Parenting Advice


For the past six years, I have hidden handwritten notes in my bed-night stand, typed random notes on my computer, and posted handouts on my refrigerator of the best parenting advice. I hope you find these tidbits valuable and a good reminder of how to grow in relationship with your children and rekindle some of those feelings of connection with your beloved ones.

Teaching Children to Listen

“You have been teaching your son not to listen and if you continue to talk too much, he will ignore you, ignore his teacher, and you will teach him to get in trouble for the rest of his life,” Lynn Lott, Co-founder of Positive Discipline. When my oldest son was four-years-old, those were some of the hardest, life-changing words I have ever heard. This was also my opportunity to grow as a parent. Learning how to shut our mouths as parents is not easy. Rather than telling our kids to get ready for bed, get their shoes on, clean up try to:

  1. Say things only once.
  2. Say “let’s do it together” to complete tasks.
  3. Pretend to zip your lips.
  4. Say one word such as when it’s time to get on shoes say, “shoes.”

Don’t Mistake Attention for Connection

Attention and connection are different. When we think our children “just” need attention, what they really want is to connect with you, Jane Nelson, Positive Discipline. Even when you and your child are angry this can work:

  1. Tell your child “I need a hug.” Reach out your arms but respect if your child is not ready.
  2. Ask “How can I help?”
  3. Say “I have to go to the bathroom” and run!. No need to talk or yell. Just hurry, take some deep breaths. After, let your child know you needed some time to make good choices and you are right there.
  4. Your child is not trying to give you a hard time, they are having a hard time.

 Morning Hassles

Oh, the days of morning hassles and the stress of trying to get out the door in the early morning. To avoid morning hassles:

  1. Have your child make a routine chart with your help and role-play each step.
  2. Don’t say anything in the morning and point to the routine chart with each step.
  3. Remind your child that breakfast will be available after your child is ready for the morning.
  4. Put the breakfast plate upside down at the table until your child is ready. (Discuss this ahead of time)

Teaching Tasks

Kids sometimes need for us to slow down our movements, and if we are talking while we are showing what we are doing, they are confused and unable to concentrate. They will look at your mouth not what you are doing. When teaching, use slow movements and do not talk while you are showing. Explain before and after but not during instruction, Voila Montessori

Do with Rather Than For

Children want to do what you are doing. Children’s hands are the tools of intelligence, Voila Montessori. Put things in the bottom drawer of refrigerators or cupboards so they can get them out themselves. Invite your child into the kitchen to:

  1. wash fruit
  2. set table
  3. smell spices
  4. peel cucumbers
  5. dust
  6. pull weeds
  7. wipe table
  8. clean spills

Sharing your Stories

When tucking your child into bed, ask them to share their “saddest time” during the day and their “happiest time” during the day. Then you share with them. This is a time to tell your child a story that may be similar when you were a child. Your child will open up more in sharing their day when you share yours. You will be surprised by what you learn.

Taking Care of Yourself

Put on your oxygen mask first; you need to care for yourself. When we take care of ourselves and show up as our best selves, that is when we can be there for our children.

The Awakeners

Your children may seem small and dependent, but they also hold so much power and potential to be your awakener. Your child is telling you, “Wake up, heal, live with purpose, transform, and do this for you and for me so I can be free of all that troubles you, all of your demons. Let us stop imagining that parenting is about the raising of our children. Let’s get real and begin acting like a true parent and begin raising ourselves.” Dr. Shefali


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Morgan Metcalf
Morgan Metcalf has lived in Ohio her entire life. She grew up near Cleveland where she met her husband who serenaded her with 1980s Power Ballads. Fortunately, her husband convinced her to move to Columbus 12 years ago. She is often found chasing after her two rambunctious boys and determined little girl at playgrounds, at home, the grocery store… you get the idea. Because she loves chasing, in her free time you can often find Morgan running or working out to keep up with her active children and then falling asleep reading parenting books. She is humbled every day by the lessons her three children teach her. Morgan is passionate about encouraging and empowering parents and teachers in Positive Discipline. It has changed her relationships with her children in a positive direction. She is a licensed school psychologist and a certified Positive Discipline Educator with The Power of Positive Solutions. She facilitates trainings and classes for parents, teachers, and administrators.