1. They speak in a calm, happy and confident voice.

The tone of our voice carries strong messages. It says, “I’m relaxed,” “I’m upset,” “I’m in a hurry.” Children hear the nuances of our voice, and their emotions are affected by them. Calm parents have better chances to have calm children.

2. They tell the children what is going to happen in advance.

“Tomorrow, we will have visitors. Your aunt and uncle are coming from Seattle!”

3. They calm tired children by reading stories and telling them the story of what they did today.

Art by Adele Steinberg
Art by Adele Steinberg

“This morning you got up later because it’s Sunday. After breakfast, you played with your cars. Then we read some books together. Which story did you like best? . . . We had pizza for lunch! In the afternoon, we went to see Grandma and Grandpa. They were so happy to see you! What did you like best from Grandma’s dinner?”

4. They have morning routines and bedtime routines.

“Let’s say Modeh Ani, wash our hands, use the bathroom and get dressed. Then we’ll have breakfast.”

“We’ll say Shema Yisrael, brush our teeth, go to the bathroom, bathe and get in pajamas.”

5. They often tell their children what they do right and how good they are.

Sarah and Josh share toys and take turns SO nicely.”

“I like the way you eat over the table!”

“I so much appreciate how much you help me.”

6. When children misbehave, they remind them how good they are. Then they help them correct the behavior.

“Yesterday you did your homework early. It looks like today we forgot. Let’s do it now.”

7. They show empathy for the children’s feelings.

“You really liked that game. I see you’re very upset that a piece is missing. I would be upset, too. Let me help you find it.”

8. They stay a step ahead of things.

They take care of children’s needs so they don’t get too tired or hungry.

“Let’s take a short break for a drink and snack.”

9. They teach healthy personality traits by example.

“I wanted to go shopping now, but I just realized Daddy is sleeping, and the car keys are in his pocket. I’ll wait.”

10. They teach life skills by demonstrating them.

They clean up a room together; they sit with them to do homework.

“We want the playroom to be all clean when we wake up tomorrow, so let’s put the toys away in their containers now.”

11. They are consistent.

They encourage positive actions and correct misbehaviors—pretty much every time. They don’t “let it slide” when they are too busy or tired or it’s inconvenient at the time. They know that forming their children’s character is a lifelong investment.

12. They make their children their highest priority.

When their children see how much they are valued, they grow confident.

13. They understand this list is an ideal, and that even the best parents are human and make mistakes.

They know that if they’re doing most of it, most of the time, then they’re doing very well.