7 Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills

Improving parenting skills
There's no easy street for parents to take but these tips should point you in the right direction. Getty images/Cultura RM Exclusive/Erin Lester

Wouldn't it be great if you could go back to school and major in parenting skills? You'd receive an instruction manual and says, "Here's how it's done." and you'd be all set. This magical school would also teach you how to handle your children when daycare or grandparents are setting rules. Working parents use a village to raise their kids and, man, can things get complicated.

Unfortunately, there is no such school but there is the Internet!

It's filled with parenting advice that other parents want to pass down to you. The time you spend with your child is precious. So here are five parenting skills that will ensure you good quality time with your kids.

Actively Listen to What Your Kids Have to Say 

Have you ever been so busy that you don't realize your kids are talking to you? Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. When you are home put away distractions and this also means distracting thoughts. Then make it a priority to be on top of what your kids are hoping for, what they fear, and what they may feel anxious about. Never stop asking them question no matter how many times they ignore you! When you show you care you show them, love.

Active listening means you focus on what is being said without thinking about how you're going to response. It's about watching body language and pick up on cues. You can improve your listening ability when you kneel down, if needed, to get down to match their height.

Give them your complete attention and make good eye contact. When they feel heard they'll feel the love.

Show Good Judgement and Stick to Your Rules

It's your parental duty to teach your children the difference between right and wrong. Not only do you need to teach these lessons to your kids you need to follow these rules, too.

 This means that you may not always be right and will need to fess up.  There will be times when you'll say no to your kids, and mean it. Then there will be other times when you've made a mistake and you'll change your mind. Just be clear to say, "I was wrong." and why you changed your mind. We all make mistakes!  

But when the punishment fits the crime you must stick to your guns. Rules must be enforced after they are made. Whatever rules are set in your house you need to follow them as well, unless you have a real good reason why you're excluded. Kids can sniff out a hypocrite really quick.

Be a Good Role Model of Good Person

Don't do anything in front of your children that you wouldn't want them to do. If you find yourself exhibiting behavior that you don't want to be mimicked by your child, then it's a sign you should change how you react in certain situations.  Monkey see monkey do!

Your kids are watching you head off to work every day.  It's important that they see you managing this all to the best of your abilities.  You aren't trying to teach perfection, you're teaching them hard work, honesty, and most of all, love.

Stay In Control of Your Emotions

If you lose your cool in front of your kids they may become fearful of you.

Whether you're arguing with a bill collector on the phone or you're having a spat with your spouse, don't exhibit angry behavior in the presence of your children. Anytime you lose control and yell or argue with someone, you're showing your children this is how people react when times get tough.

Instead, exhibit good parenting skills by illustrating how you can keep your cool and resolve the problem at hand in a calm manner. Show them what emotional intelligence is all about.  If you do lose your cool, be sure to apologize and take responsibility for your anger. That is another way to model healthy behavior.

Show Lots of Love During Quality Time

You love your children, right? Sure, you say "I love you", but how do you show them? Use the language of love to show how much you love your kiddos. Shower them with kisses and hugs as often as you can.

An embrace with a child will make them feel safe and loved. All you need is love!

Often times parents spend a large quantity of time with their kids, but fail to be actively engaging with them. This is especially important for working moms to do since we often have our children with babysitters or in daycare when we are at work.

Exhibit good parenting skills by initiating interactive activities, such as playing old-fashioned board games, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply talking with your children to make the most of the time you have together.

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory.