- Hold yourself back
- Encourage exploration
By practicing H.E.L.P., you'll learn how to support (not lead) your child and encourage her independence. And you'll come to know what sets your child off -- and when to step in. Your child will be more willing to venture out on her own, will be better able to manage stress, learn new skills, relate to others and trust that she is competent enough to deal with her environment. H.E.L.P.ing parents usually have a high tolerance for toddler behavior -- and tend to have toddlers that are easier to handle, regardless of their temperament. H.E.L.P might sound like an oversimplification, but the truth is, the essence of good parenting boils down to these four elements.
Next page: Hold yourself back
H: Hold yourself back
If you hold yourself back before rescuing your child from a particular situation, you can gather information. You can watch, listen and absorb the total picture to determine what your child is all about -- so that you can anticipate her needs and understand how she responds to the world. You're also giving your toddler the message that she is competent and that you trust her. When you constantly step in, prompt, correct or try to save your toddler from an experience (unless, of course, it's dangerous), you hinder her and prevent her from developing the skills she needs. What's more, as you may have noticed already, children often become aggravated when a parent tries to take over.