Parenting | What to do when your child won’t listen

listenMany parents say that their child will just not listen to them but the first question to be explored is how well do you listen to your child? As parents we are role models for our children so exploring your style of listening is key to supporting your child going forward.

Here are some tips to support improvement in listening skills in your home and as a result improving behaviour and communication.

  1. Reflect on how you listen to your child. When your child is talking to you do you stop, look them in the eye and listen carefully to what they have to say? Or do you continue with what you are doing?
  2. When you are telling your child something are you inclined to shout in to them from another room or up the stairs? Or do you go to them, stand near them, look them in the eye and talk to them, ensuring they know you are talking to them?
  3. Are you inclined to clarify with your child what they heard you say? For example: Jack, can you tell me what I have asked you to do before dinner? Children often only hear part of what we say.
  4. How do you speak with your child, do you start with threats or with a positive statement? For example: Joe I need you to tidy away some toys before dinner or if you don’t tidy up now you are getting no dinner! Children like positive energy and work more effectively with us if we can keep things fun. Help them achieve rather than focusing on threats and failure.
  5. If you are talking to more than one child at a time be very specific who you are talking with. Stop what you are doing and go and ask that one child to come to you and talk with them. Although it may seem time consuming to stop and talk with them in the long run it will be much faster.
  6. Have a meeting with your children about listening to each other. Play some games with them where you all take turns to listen really nicely to each other and ask questions of each other. Then play a game whereby you don’t listen to each other. Talk about what that feels like for everyone. Children as young as three should be able to participate in this activity. Then as a family talk about some house rules around listening. It is good to instil some good principles in your family that they can bring forward through life.
  7. Reward children and yourself for listening and communicating well with each other. If you have a rule that you have to lift your head and look at a person when they talk with you. That is really respectful. Thank the person for being so nice to you. That is a reward in itself. How often do we thank each other for being nice?
  8. Take time to talk. If your child is over two years old ask them to wait at times to talk with you if you are in the middle of something. Always, always go back to them and ask them to tell you what they had wanted to talk to you about. Never leave it and think they will have forgotten. If children are younger they cannot wait so you have to just stop and listen and make time for this.
  9. Be careful that you model good listening skills to your child if you expect them to listen well to you:
  • Stop and make eye contact.
  • Listen openly to what they are saying.
  • Clarify what you hear them say.
  • Ask open ended questions.
  • Do not jump in with your own story – this is their space to talk and your space to listen.
  • Thank them for telling you.
  • Move on with your activities when they have finished or when you feel it is appropriate.

10. Have a time each day when you turn off phones and televisions and make time to talk and listen. When children feel heard they are more likely to listen to others.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Ten Ways to Help Your Child Be Active

child swingResearch suggests that children should have 60 minutes of physical exercise per day. We all know the benefits of exercise for ourselves as adults. We know when we get out walking or doing any form or exercise we always feel better afterwards, and it usually supports a healthier environment all round, combined with diet, attitude and well-being in general.

With rates of child obesity and diabetes rising in Ireland, some small changes can make a big difference. Here are ten ways to support your child in getting 60 minutes of active exercise each day, which respect your budget and which can be incorporated into your regular routine.

  1. Join in with your child. We always talk about quality time with our children. Why not do something you enjoy outdoors with your child?
  2. Walk to school, walk home, or walk part of the way. Plan an activity for each day that fits in with your schedule.
  3. Get an App on your phone and tell the children about it. Record your steps and make it a competition to see how many steps you take each day.
  4. Encourage your child to join a club. A dance club, running club, football, martial arts, swimming, tennis, ballet or gymnastics. While some can be expensive most communities have funded groups for all children to access.
  5. Check out what your school offers. A lot of schools want children to join sports teams. Help your child find what they are good at and enjoy.
  6. If your child is very young take them walking. Walk to the shops, to the library, around the roads, up the hills or visit the animals. There are so many interesting things to do on the way. They don’t have to walk nonstop. You could be easily out for three hours by the time you stop and explore what your community has to offer. Try not to put children in buggies once they pass 2 years old. You come home exhausted and they are full of energy. They can only get good and strong at walking if you allow them to walk.
  7. Climb a hill. Children love to explore and you will too once you get use to getting dirty. Visit a forest. You can walk for hours or find the short path.
  8. Offer to walk the neighbour’s dog or walk your own. Maybe get a dog to make you get out walking all year round.
  9. Children love to use scooters, skate boards or roller blades. Find a local park where they can do this safely.
  10. Use the local football grounds to give young and older children a safe space to run and a space they cannot escape from. For younger children the fear can be letting go of their hand.
  11. In the spring, summer and early autumn children love to just run about the garden if you have one. Stop off at the park on your way home from school or work. 20 minutes of running about could improve the whole evening and give your children what they need around exercise.
  12. Don’t forget to keep exercise top of your list when it is colder outside. Often children who wrap up and get out for a run about are less often sick than those wrapped up indoors all year round. Usually it is adults who hate the winter, children love so much about all the seasons.

Be creative, sit with your children this weekend and plan all the active things you can all do. Make it a game, make it a challenge and you will all feel better. When children feel healthy and fit they will have more confidence and as result have better friendships, do better in school and over all have a better outlook on life at home and in school.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Communicating with Your Child about Family ‘Secrets’

secretsThere can be a lot of ‘secrets’ in some families, such as health or relationship issues, that family members simply do not speak about or refer to. At times children don’t know the content of the secret, they just know it is something they don’t talk or ask about.

Do you remember what it was like for you as a child to have a secret? If it was your fun secret to have, that could be great! If, however, it was a secret in your family – something hidden or hushed – it probably often left you feeling very confused and with many questions. Children can carry this as a heavy burden. They may ask people outside of your family to help them understand, or they may never ask yet listen intently to adult conversations for a clue as to what is going on.

This week in our ’10 Ways’ parenting tips series, we explore how the types of secrets that parents tell can cause challenges within their families, and how to communicate openly with children about them.

  1. Many parents, when they separate or leading up to a separation, try to keep it secret for a length of time. Children may find this very challenging. It would be better if children had permission from parents to talk about what is going on at home with close friends and family if they wished to. It can be hard at times like this for children to talk with parents, when they can see how upset parents may be.
  2. Children who don’t know one of their parents can have great curiosity around this. It may be a secret as to who the parent is; maybe the child is told fairy tales to explain where they came from. However, children are clever. They know they have two parents and leaving them without this information can lead to great confusion and identity challenges. Also it can create challenges in the playground as other children may see them as an easy target for bullying. Children usually want to be the same as every other child. They need information to feel confident about their family form.
  3. Children who are adopted often don’t know this to be the case, even though other family members will know. Children always tell other children what they know about them. It doesn’t take much in a small community for children to overhear stories about class mates. Telling children the truth about where they came from and who their family is equips them for a more confident passage through childhood.
  4. When there is abuse of any form in the home, addiction issues, or mental health problems, it can leave children confused and worried. It is really important that one parent can help a child to understand what is going on in their family. Children need permission to talk with trusted adults about things that worry them, be they other family members or child and family support professionals. It is okay for them to ask about why parents fight, to ask why one parent may stay in bed a lot, or what death is.
  5. Try to adopt a policy in your home of talking, voicing concerns and sharing worries with trusted people. Don’t ask children to keep things a secret. Don’t tell them not to talk about certain things. Share with them what is appropriate about their family life.
  6. So many times children have told me that they know the truth about something in their family but that their parent doesn’t know they do, or they don’t want to upset their parent by telling them that they know. Give them support or ask someone in your family or circle of friends to help them to understand.
  7. Children need to be free to grow, to live and to laugh. Holding onto so many secrets can only impede their journey through childhood. Think about what secrets your family holds and what this may be like for your child.
  8. Try to talk with them, be open about the difficult, awkward or sensitive issues that exist. Often once you start talking, these issues are no longer as big as they seemed.
  9. Once children have age appropriate levels of information, they will not be as inclined to worry and they will feel safer. Children are resilient once they are equipped with what they need.
  10. Trust is the foundation of positive relationships. Build your relationship based on trust and you will not go wrong.

Next you might like to read Talking to Your Children about Your Family.

This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Join our Facebook parenting group.

Parenting | Reading as a tool to manage challenging behaviour

family readingAs yesterday was World Book Day we thought it would be an ideal time to discuss reading and how reading can be used as a tool to manage challenging behaviours. Reading can create an opportunity for calm, quiet reflection and relaxation. It can also open up an opportunity for discussions between parent and child and can be used as a starting point to discuss any issues going on in the child’s life.

Here are our ’10 ways’ tips on using reading as a tool in your parenting:

  1. Many parents know about time out or they think they know from all the TV shows telling them about it. However many parents get totally confused in how to implement time out and for what reasons. Time out can become a challenging behaviour rather than a tool to resolve it.
  2. Quiet time can be a much more positive tool to try and implement in your home. The whole purpose of time out is to calm down. However the mechanism of implementing time out is very challenging. If you focus on creating quiet time it can make things much easier.
  3. In advance of challenging behaviours taking place, talk with your child about what you can all do when you are feeling angry, overwhelmed or frustrated. Allow your children to talk about what they need at this time. Talk with them about how you feel when they act out these feelings. Talk with them about what currently happens when any member of the family has these feelings.
  4. Talk with them about the idea of creating space and calming down.
  5. Ask them to describe what currently helps them calm down. Tell them things you do to help you to calm down. Bring them back to the idea of a quiet place to sit and calm down. How would this help you restore balance to how you are feeling? How would it support you to talk about how you are feeling so it can be explored?
  6. Ask each person in the family to take part in creating the calm, quiet place. Where it should be, what it should look like, how much space is there for it, should there be activities in this space such as mindfulness tactics. Children and adult colouring books can be really useful. The space must be an area that all family members can use and want to use. Each family member must respect each other when in this place.
  7. There should be some small rules around the space. Such as when someone goes into the space, no one else should talk to them and leave them to calm down. You can sit with them but do not engage with them unless invited to do so. You can stay in there for as long as you need to. Each family can create their own rules and review them every so often to ensure the space is still working for everyone.
  8. A further idea is a feelings tent. You could use a pop up tent which is cheap to purchase and easy to store. It also doesn’t need too much space. It can be a lovely place to sit when you have feelings that need time to resolve, time to sit with, to think about and to understand. Support children to become aware of their feelings and to understand how to name them and why they exist. This is crucial to emotional development and well-being as they grow.
  9. For many parents we have difficulty in identifying our feelings and sitting with them. We can be inclined to make them someone else’s issue and we blame others for them. The feelings tent can be a really good place for you too to further develop your feelings, own them and be kind to yourself in understanding why they exist for you. Role modelling is key to positive parenting.
  10. One Family have compiled a comprehensive book list that is useful for families going through times of change. The book list is divided into the following topics: Separation/Divorce; Family Types; Fostering and Adoption; Death and Bereavement and Stepparents and Stepfamilies. Many of the books should be available in your local library and if not the library will order them in for you.


This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email


Parenting | Why do parents and children fight?

planHow many parents argue with their child on a daily basis? If you find yourself arguing with your children then you need to press pause and re-examine what is going wrong.

Parents can get into power struggles with very young children. It can start from toddler time when parents are unable or unclear about how to set appropriate boundaries with children and then they start to wonder who is in charge.

Setting boundaries and clear rules with children from infancy is the key to parenting successfully. Parents must assert themselves in their role as the parent. Children must understand from a very young age that the parent must take the lead. Of course, it’s also important to listen to children, to ask them what they think, what they need, what they want and how they see things working. You must involve them in decisions made in the family.

Here are our ’10 ways’ to help resolve these issues:

  1. Identify the key issue you have. Sit with your child and tell them what the issue is.
  2. Ask them what they think and how they feel about it. You can work with children in this way from as young as three years old. Never underestimate children.
  3. Hear what your child has to say about the issue and tell them what you would like to see happen.
  4. Ask them to come up with ideas of how you can work together to solve the issue. Children will have a lot to say when they feel safe to express themselves. Give them permission to say what they would like.
  5. Be open and creative about their ideas. Don’t just shoot them down or they will not see the point in expressing their opinion. Remember children should be active participants in their lives. Make sure they know you value what they have to say.
  6. Facilitate them to come up with plans and ideas. You may have to use games or art work to help them talk and express feelings. Once children become familiar with this style of parenting they will get better at it. What a great life skill you will be teaching them.
  7. When all the ideas are on the table, agree a plan, write it down or draw pictures to show the plan if children are very young. Then put the plan up somewhere so everyone can see it.
  8. Everyone in the family should have a part to play in the plan. You as the parent are the person in charge of ensuring the plan is implemented. You need to find ways to support children to follow through on their part of the plan.
  9. You need to find ways to support yourself to follow through too. Remember you are in this position because you find it hard to make rules and stick with them so finding ways to stick with the plan is key to role modelling for your child. Both you and your children will be delighted when you resolve issues together.
  10. If you start with something small that you can be successful in this will support you to look at the next issue and develop more plans together. If your child is under 3 years old and you feel you cannot involve them in this type of process, you can still work through many of the issues yourself. Draw out a map of what is wrong and write down all the ideas you come up with. Explore your needs, the child’s needs and then come up with plans to meet the needs. Put some rules in place for yourself to help you stick with it. Making changes can be hard and parenting in this way if you are not familiar with this style will take time, but if you stick with it you will see positive changes.

This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Parenting | How demanding are we of our children?

confusedMany parents would say that being a parent is very demanding. But have you ever monitored how many demands you make of your child every day, in an hour or even in one minute? Research shows that parents can give 20-40 commands in a 30 minute period. What must this be like for a child? How confusing must it be for them, when they have probably not carried out one demand when several more are asked of them?

If you think of what it is like for you when children are constantly asking you things, telling you things, two children at a time maybe, your mind starts to crash. You might feel like you can’t think straight any longer. You may become agitated, annoyed and shout out for it to stop. However we often do this to children and very young children and wonder why they have poor behaviour. They are acting out how they feel, they often don’t have the language to tell parents what they feel, and they may not even know what they feel. It is their actions that will tell us if we look closely and observe what is happening for them.

Children need less commands and demands. They need parents to make requests of them, to give them time to think and solve problems. Children often hear the first couple of words you say, they are focused on them and nothing else goes in.

How can you make less demands of your child?

  1. Speak slowly to children.
  2. Look them in the eye when you are talking with them.
  3. Ask them to do one thing and allow them to finish that before asking another.
  4. Try to become aware of how much talking you do and how much direction you are giving.
  5. Encourage your child to talk, ask them what needs to get done next. Children know what needs to be done, help them to name it and then support them to take action.
  6. Make requests of children; respect their right to say no. Support them to learn to negotiate and compromise and then follow through. Children need to learn to say no, and they need to understand why others need them to say yes. If they are to grow up making good decisions, they need to be able to practice this in the home, where they have safety.
  7. Encourage children to have empathy, to think about what others need. Help them to meet the needs of others in an age appropriate fashion. Very young children will struggle with this but they can learn to share and take turns and tidy up at two years old.
  8. Allowing your child time to think is so crucial to allowing them make choices, to problem solve and learn coping skills. Tell your child what you need them to achieve and then allow them figure out how this can happen. Support them to learn the skill of thinking it out, rather than thinking for them.
  9. Make less demands of yourself also. Slow down and take time. I know in a world of hurry it can feel impossible. But really what are we achieving, what are we doing to our health, both physical and mental? What are we teaching our children?
  10. Look at your child and look at how best they can learn. Work with them and they will work with you.

This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Parenting | How to make Valentine’s Day special in your home

heartMany lone parents hate Valentine’s Day as they feel it is a big reminder that they are on their own and that for some reason this is not considered the best option in society. However, I think it can be a really lovely occasion that reminds us to say ‘I love you’ to our nearest and dearest. Many parents will say that their child knows that they are loved but they don’t often say it. They may not be into hugs and showing affection. Valentine’s Day can be your day to say ‘I love you’ to your children, to your parents, your friends and people in your community.

This year why not plan something for Valentine’s Day with your children and make it special in your family, maybe you can create a family tradition starting this year.

Here are ten ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

  1. Each family member selects a name from the hat and then has to do something nice for that person on Valentine’s Day. At times siblings need to be reminded that they love each other. This can be something that costs nothing and just needs some thought, or you can perhaps set aside a small budget.
  2. Plan a special family meal on Valentine’s Day. Decide together what you could cook, maybe with older children can help in cooking the meal. At a time when life is so busy, we don’t always get to sit and eat together and chat with each other.  Maybe you can invite friends or family over and make it a movie night or board games evening too. Laughter is what you will have and memories will be created.
  3. Make cards together for each other and for special people in your life that you haven’t seen lately. Encourage children to make pictures and be creative.
  4. Visit someone in your community that you know has very few people in their life. It could make such a big difference to them to know that someone cares about them. Maybe you could bake some buns to take with you.
  5. Remember your childminder or people who help you survive the day to day. Everyone likes to know that they are not taken for granted. At Christmas there is so much expense, maybe Valentine’s Day could be a better time to acknowledge how much they mean to you.
  6. Plan a day out together as a family. It doesn’t have to cost money. You can go to the playground, the park, bring a picnic, maybe plenty of hot chocolate! There are so many things you can do that will create fond memories and support your family to have closer relationships with each other.
  7. Or maybe you could simply plan to ‘do nothing’ together, and enjoy a pyjama day! Take time out to spend with each other. Play games, talk, cook and just enjoy being with each other.
  8. Make a date with your child or a family member if you have not seen them for a while. It can be hard to keep track of children when they have moved out and are busy with college, work and friends, but you can be sure they still want to spend time with you. Often at this age they need your support more than ever.
  9. Why wait for someone else to do something nice for you? Do something nice for yourself. Plan your own treat. I know parents find it very hard to spend money on themselves but you deserve a treat too! Maybe you can ask someone to take your children overnight or for a few hours. Take time out, , it doesn’t have to cost much, perhaps go for coffee with a friend. Give yourself a treat.  Think about what a treat means to you and then be creative in making it happen this weekend.
  10. Wish people you meet on the day a Happy Valentine’s Day. We hear ourselves all the time asking people how they are, but how often do we stop to really listen to the response. Why not say hello and stop to listen this Valentine’s Day?

There is so much you can do, talk with your children and make some plans to start loving Valentine’s Day. What a sad world it would be if there was no love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This week’s ’10 Ways ’ parenting tips  is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Parenting | Children’s birthday parties

cakeIn the past twenty years children’s parties have become very expensive placing parents under a lot of pressure. Some children have invitations every single week, with every child in the class invited to each party. If they are thirty children in the class this can add up as you will also have cousins, friends outside of school and of course your own family.

What can you do so you can allow your child enjoy the experience of receiving an invite without them hearing you complain, maybe under your breath, but they know.

  1. Get back to basics. When it is your own child’s party do what you can afford. Parents are raising the bar all the time when it comes to children’s parties. Children do not need a big and expensive party to have great fun. You can plan a party at home for children which can be great fun. Children want to play, to do activities, to run and shout and of course enjoy some treats. Planning activities such as a football match, baking time, arts and crafts, and magic clay is great, making jewels, sports day, disco etc. There is so much you can do that children will really enjoy. Parents engaging with children at the party really support children to have good fun. Young children need support to play and play well.
  2. In some schools parents have come together to agree that when children are invited from school that each child gives €5 to the birthday child. This will mean that it is affordable for each child to attend. The birthday child has cash that they will really enjoy spending on something they really want, rather than getting unsuitable gifts or creating competition around who gives the best gift or the most expensive. This can add further pressure to parents when the invite comes in for that child’s party.
  3. Keep it small. Do you really have to invite every child at school. Does your child really play with every child in the class? Can you do something in the park or playground after school, a small but fun affair?
  4. What about when you don’t have the space to hold a party in your home. Many community halls are open to renting space at low cost to families for parties. Many families are using them also for first communion parties. Look around your community to see what you can avail of.
  5. Some crèches and playschools are happy for parents to bring in a cake and have a small tea party with the child and their friends as part of the crèche or playschool day. Children can be really happy with this; they just want everyone to know they have a special day. Young children do not expect presents in this setting. They will have presents from family and that will be more than they can usually cope with.
  6. Many cinemas have very good prices for the kids club. You can make up your own treat bags at home, I know cinemas do not like this but really what do they expect when they charge such high prices. When each child has the same they won’t mind.
  7. For older children it is all about numbers. Two to three friends for a sleepover can be good fun. Boys can enjoy sleepovers as much as girls. Have a day out with an older child with a couple of friends. A day out shopping or a trip bowling are good options for older children.
  8. Watch online for deals and offers. You never know what you will find.
  9. Start off small when children are young so you have room to move as they get older. If you give them it all in the first couple of years, you will have set a very high standard, one you may not be able to maintain, especially if they are joined by some siblings along the way.
  10. Make it special in your own way. Talk with your child and plan it together. Don’t worry so much about what others are doing. Many parents go into debt for parties. Can you really enjoy your child’s special day if you put so much pressure on yourself?

This week’s ’10 Ways ’ parenting tips  is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

You can find out about our parenting courses here.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email


Parenting | How to talk to teenagers about sex

teenagerAs parents it can be awkward and difficult to talk to our children about our sexual expression. If we could broaden our own outlook on how we view our own sexuality it will help us to talk to our children/teenagers about what it means to be a sexual human being.  Our sexuality is an essential/natural part of who we are – it is our zest for life, it is how we can show love to ourselves and how we can share that love with another in a loving relationship. As with all parenting keeping the lines of communication open is vital for us to help our children to make good choices for themselves and to take responsibility .

  1. Be under no illusion if there is no discussion about sex it does not mean it is not happening. Knowledge and understanding gives us the ability to make more informed choices. To know how to physically stay safe is vital e.g. safe sex, contraception etc. but to be able to do this in a real way it is also vital to be able to emotionally mind ourselves. To learn this through fear will not help our teenagers’ self-esteem.
  2. As our children grow up they will ask questions it is important to answer those questions in an age appropriate way. Be honest and only answer the question asked. Let your child take the lead so that as they get older the questions keep coming!
  3. Create the safety for your child/teenager to ask the questions. Safety is created by listening unconditionally. Teenagers will pick up cues on we how react or response to TV programmes, newspapers, books etc.
  4. There are enormous hormonal changes and we see this in how much their bodies change throughout the teenage years. We need to understand as parents that part of a teenagers’ life is to push boundaries and it is our job as parents to help then to do this in a way that is respectful for themselves and others.
  5. We need to keep the lines of communication open in all aspects of our lives. If we don’t talk about the everyday stuff how will they be able to come to us with a question about sex.
  6. Be available to talk about sex. We are enabling our teenagers to view their sexuality as to how they feel and view themselves. They then can make choices around how they can mind and respect themselves when they begin to explore their own sexuality.
  7. Discuss alcohol misuse and that when we drink we say and do things we would not do when we are sober. Responsibility around alcohol use is also very much tied up on how we feel and see ourselves.
  8. Don’t invade their privacy. We all need our privacy and our own space and we need to give our teenagers the space to separate out from us to become independent young adults.
  9. Listening to our teenagers enables them to make good choices and we are also showing them that we trust that they can make those good choices for themselves. They are also more likely to come to us for support if they have a problem or dilemma they need to sort out.
  10. Peers are very important for teenagers and we need enable our teenagers to know their own minds particularly within the peer group so that they will not do something because of peer pressure.

This ’10 ways’ tips for parenting was written by Carol Byrne, Relationship Mentor and Tutor with One Family.

You can find out about parenting programmes we run here. For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email


Parenting | Parent Self-Care

parent self careThis week’s ’10 Ways’ offers tips about you looking after you. Especially at Christmas time, parents can become frazzled with all the organising and preparations. It is important to try and carve out even a small bit of time for yourself to recharge the batteries and ensure you enjoy Christmas time too. Read on for our ‘10 Ways to Parent Self-Care’.

  1. “I’m not perfect, I’m good enough” (Winnicot): Recognise that you are one person and you are doing the best you can. Give yourself a pat on the back – don’t wait for someone else or your child to or it may never happen!
  2. Routine: Have a core routine for each day of the week and stick to it. Don’t try to get everything done every day, set days out for different chores. Make sure you have time in the routine to play and interact with your children. Parents usually feel better when they have had a quality connection with their child.
  3. Eat: Remember you must meet your own needs so you can meet those of your children. The basic need to eat is really important as when we are hungry we are less inclined to have patience and the energy to deal with everyday issues and challenges.
  4. Sleep: It is easy to say sleep but it is more important to do it. Try to get children to bed early so you can be in bed early too. Aim for at least 6 hours sleep per night. Those with infants will only achieve this in a number of sessions of sleep so it is really important to try and nap during the day if you can.
  5. Stay healthy: Do not neglect your health – value your own health and well being as much as you do your child’s.
  6. Exercise: This can release the happy hormones and allow you time to think, reflect and make plans, or just breathe in the fresh air and tell yourself it will all work out. You can also use the time to chat with your child. Simply playing in the park or back garden can be good exercise and fun with your child also.
  7. Take time out for yourself: If you struggle with this, begin with 10 minutes for yourself and as time goes on, increase it. Maybe once a week you can plan a couple of hours to yourself. Be creative in how you achieve this – it will be worth the effort.
  8. Socialise: Isolation is a key issue for those parenting alone. Challenge yourself to network with other parents, join clubs or courses. Your self-esteem and confidence and that of your child’s will be enhanced with socialising.
  9. Ask for help: Ask for help whenever you can from family or a friend. They will stop offering if you never take them up on it. Children enjoy being with other people. It is good for you both to have time apart and for children to know there are other people who can care for them.
  10. Be an adult: You are not just a parent so make time for you to be you. It’s good for children to see you as a person with many roles, not just as Mam or Dad.

Read other articles from our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Join Geraldine, our parenting expert, on Facebook on this and other parenting topics for a weekly Q&A live in our One Family Parenting Group which is a closed Facebook group (meaning that only members can read posts) that anyone can join. Post your questions and share your experiences.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email us.