50 Key Messages – Top six ways to be a positive parent

From the Tusla parenting 24 seven website

Top six ways to be a positive parent


CRISPS is an activity from the Lifestart Foundation Spirals Programme, see www.lifestartfoundation.org

C. Be Consistent and avoid idle threats

Follow through on what you say and don’t change the ‘rules’ from day to day. Make sure all the people who are involved in caring for your child (partners, childminders, grandparents etc.) agree on what’s allowed. Apply the 80/20 rule. At least try and be consistent 80% of the time!

R. Reward desirable behaviour

Reward good behaviour rather than only punishing undesirable behaviour. Positive parenting should be more about learning and rewarding good behaviour, than punishing poor behaviour.

Sample Rewards :

  • Hugs, playing favourite game, story, gold star
  • AVOID – something that has been bought, something to eat

Remember children need attention – they will be more likely to repeat whatever they get the most attention doing! Attention when they have done something good is a lot more effective than giving them attention when they have done something not so good.

I. Be genuinely interested in what your child is saying, doing, thinking and feeling

S. Provide Structure

Structure your day: 
Dressing time, mealtime, bedtime. Younger children love routine, so try and provide as much structure in their day as possible.

Structure your home:
“Places & Spaces”: Provide accessible places for things that your child needs like their books, games and toys. It’s great if you have room to let your child have some special space – for example, an area of the garden when they are younger or a corner of a room or ‘den’ when they are older.

Structure activities: 
Plan, Explain, Do and Review. Involve your child, where possible, in your plans for the day giving explanations if necessary. When the activities are finished it’s good to share the experience, talking about some of the funny things that have happened.

P. Be Positive

Do say: “Walk to the table”
Don’t say: “Stop Running”

S. Be Specific

Do say: “You can play with your cars on the floor”
Don’t say: “Stop messing”

Other things you can do to be a positive parent:

Look out for the positive things that your child does around the home and comment on them. “Well done Kyle for putting those toys back in the crate”.

For more on Positive Parenting see Barnardos Positive Parenting Booklet: http://www.tusla.ie/publications

and for more Parenting 24 Seven tips to support your little one see https://www.tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven/0-5years/

You may also like

        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 https://youtu.be/xl2F2vZXhbg Volume 2 https://youtu.be/OOy4lmWggtM Volume 3 https://youtu.be/tmv40--l7fA Volume 4 https://youtu.be/Wr9bfTWddts Volume 5 https://youtu.be/7HLkBXvVTFE Volume 6 https://youtu.be/NuUXb51qZY0

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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