Parenting 101: All You Need to Know About Being a Good Parent

Mother and Son Bonding while the mother is holding a world map

Kids should come with a manual, but they don't. If you just had your first child, you might be sitting there thinking, "How do I do this?" Not to worry. Parenting 101 class is now in session.

Do you have your notebook and pencil? Is your baby sleeping? Because if not, don't plan on getting anything done. That's your first Parenting 101 lesson. You're welcome.

Parenting 101: What It Takes to Be a Good Parent

Everyone that has ever been a parent has wondered whether they were a good parent. It is a natural curiosity.

We all wonder whether the things we do will affect our children in a negative way. Everyone has an opinion, and we hope to help sort some of those out.

Walk along with us as we explore what it takes to be a good parent and how to be a better parent. We will be sharing one sure-fire trick that will elevate your parenting skills beyond the solar system!

What the psychologists say

What the teachers say

What other parents say

Adding a Child to Your Busy Schedule

the mother is teaching her daughter to operate a laptop

Image by Chuck Underwood from Pixabay

So many people enter parenthood with the idea that a baby won't change their lifestyle much. They get a rude awakening within the first month of having a baby in the house.

It takes longer to prepare to go anywhere. Grocery shopping becomes a nightmare -- or a welcome respite if you can leave the child at home with a spouse. Diapers, wipes, extra outfits, bottles, and a few extra diapers.

Where did that Binky go? The owl? Where is the stuffed owl? How did you lose a shoe already? Ah, geez... did you have to spit up NOW? Oh, no you didn't! OMG! What did I feed you that caused THAT?

Buckle up. Please keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times. This will be the wildest roller coaster ride of your life. And you will not always enjoy the ride, but the triumphs are worth the troubles.

I wouldn't lie to you about that.

Achieving the proper mindset

Mother and daughter watching the sunset at the beach

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

If you are expecting, you have time to prepare yourself for this journey. Achieving the proper mindset before your baby arrives is a positive step in the right direction.

That includes adoptive parents, foster parents, and even aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Babies change family dynamics in many ways.

Read books. Learn about the birth process. Explore your options when it comes to the type of birth you want: natural, fully medicated, with a midwife or Doula, C-section. Some of those decisions will be based on the pregnancy itself.

Take some time before the baby gets here and adjust your mind. Watch documentaries. Talk to your doctors and nurses. Even if you don't use a midwife or Doula, they can be a wealth of information and counseling. Talk to other parents.

Parenting 101 isn't a manual you can open to page 72 to find answers. It is an entire process.

Don't be afraid to research, and don't panic when you read some of the "worst case" scenarios out there. While the internet can be a wealth of good information, there is also an overwhelming amount of questionable information out there. So research wisely.

Planning makes life easier on everyone

Hand of a lady is holding a pen and writing at the notebook her plan for the future

Image by Pexels from Pixabay  

Find a pediatrician before the baby arrives if you can. Most pediatricians will allow for pre-patient interviews so you can meet the doctor and some of the staff. You can often tour their office, check references, and conduct research on the best type of doctor for your child.

Some will even allow you to pre-register your child as a patient. That allows you to enter all your personal data and register your insurance information. By pre-registering your child, your first appointment will run more smoothly.

Don't start habits that you don't want to continue for 18 years. If you have "whisper rules" every time the baby is sleeping, your child will grow up unable to sleep unless the entire house is quiet. Don't go out of your way to make noise, but don't over-do the quiet either.

Make lists and plan. Play "What if..." with your spouse to learn how each of you will respond to certain hypothetical things. Discuss alternatives. Planning is the best way to settle into changes quickly.

Although you don't need a plan for the next 18 years, having a good idea of what you are looking forward to will help. Discuss things like disciplinary expectations, chores, and school goals with your spouse before they become an issue.

Parents need to stay on the same track because raising a child is a team effort. If one parent is always giving in, the kid will learn to skip the other parent and always go to the one that caves.

Parenting 101 tip coming up: Children can be devious little manipulators. To win at parenting, you need to be aware of that and guard against it. You are the parent. The rules are made by you. Stay strong, firm and above all, consistent.

Family vacations can wait a few years

Family vacation at the beach

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

If you and your spouse routinely go on a large vacation every year, hold off on those for the first couple of years. Instead, try some shorter trips closer to home while your baby is an infant.

There is nothing worse than being two continents away from your pediatrician when Junior has his first earache. If you are closer to home, you can make the trip back to see your regular doctor.

Sightseeing tours aren't very fun with an infant. One of you will always be holding the baby, worrying about feeding, diaper changes, and trying to keep the baby awake all day so you can sleep at night. The list goes on.

There are some people who have taken infants camping as young as two and three weeks old. If your family camps, this is always a fun outing. Without the pressure to see all the sights, you can relax in the fresh air and actually enjoy a vacation.

There is plenty of time for European vacations in a few years.

Grandma, Grandpa, and all the relatives

Grandparents chilling at the garden

Image by damien novel from Pixabay

Visiting relatives isn't always an easy task either. Your child will be in a new environment, surrounded by strange people cooing and pinching their puffy little cheeks.

To a baby that may feel like being a tiny ant staring at a huge boot about to drop on your head. It can be scary, so keep that in mind. We would be remiss in not extending that warning to new parents in any rendition of Parenting 101 tips.

Start with small groups so you don't overwhelm your child. Having relatives visit you in your home is an option also. Your child will have the familiarity of "home" when they meet hoards of belly-poking, cheek-pinching relatives.

Diaper bags, toys, and a clean outfit

2 child are playing with their toys

Image by 2081671 from Pixabay

Parenting 101 super tips to follow:

Keep a diaper bag packed and ready. ALWAYS.

Restock it when you return from an outing. Keep at least 10 diapers in it at first. That number will decrease as your child grows, but for a newborn, at least 10 diapers for any outing.

Add a zippered baggie or two to carry soiled diapers when there are no appropriate receptacles. Always carry at least one extra outfit for your child (and possibly a spare shirt for yourself). Baby wipes, washcloths, burping cloths, and receiving blankets are also good items to pack.

If you use formula, you can pre-measure the dry mix and keep a few spare bottles on-hand that you only have to add water to. When Junior gets cranky in the grocery store, you will bless this tip.

From One- to Five-Years-Old Is a Blur

mother and daughter watching the sunset at the field

Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels

We've already discussed a lot of early childhood issues. Planning is the most effective tool that you have as a parent. The first five years will be a blur. You may not remember much of it when they go off to Kindergarten.

Don't worry, those memories are still there. They'll surface and make you cry as you watch your child progress through the school years.

Take LOTS of pictures. We all have cameras on our phones. You don't need fancy equipment. Snap away. Take photos when your kid is sleeping. Catch them when they're playing. Crying, eating, pouting -- it's all fair game.

When you're looking back at these years, you can select photos to use as blackmail when they are a mouthy teenager...

"If you don't do your chores, I'm going to make sure the yearbook committee at school has THAT picture for your senior yearbook!"

Yes, that works. At least with most kids. They do worry about those embarrassing childhood photos taken by an exuberant parent.

OMG -- They're in School Already!

Father is teaching his daughter to be ready on school

Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay 

Ah... Kindergarten. It's been four or five years since you have had time to relax. Will you even know how to act? What will you do with all your free time?

Parenting 101 tip for the school years #1: Do Nothing.

Rest and relax for the first two weeks. Putz around the house. That generally means wandering aimlessly. The little person you dedicated your life to is gone for seven hours a day, and you feel empty. It's normal. It will pass.

Think of all the things you put on hold five years ago. Those hobbies? The craft projects? Painting the bathroom? You now have time to do all of them. YOU time. At first, it may seem daunting, but you will come to relish the school hours.

As each school day ends and you pick your kid up, share your day. Celebrate the triumphs of an art project. You will become adept at getting your child to tell you what those unidentified lumps in the drawing are.

Elementary school, PTA, and organized sports

Middle school, high school, and then the boot

The Best Advice You Will Ever Get About Parenting 101

Whole family is walking and going to somewhere

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels

I'm about to zing you with the best Parenting 101 tip you will ever receive.

Are you on the edge of your seat?

Here we go...

This is by far the absolute BEST parenting tip you will ever receive from any source. It is so simple.

Just love your children!

That's it -- just love them. How easy is that? You can't mess them up if you just love them.

No matter what anyone says, if you love your children every single day, they will turn out all right.

They will. I promise.

Read all the books, study all the online sources you can Google, and try everything under the sun. What it all boils down to is that one, simple thing.


We hope you enjoyed our foray into the world of parenting. As our final thought, I would like to leave you with a challenge.

Hug your child and tell them that you love them.

Even if you're arguing. Even if they refused to brush their teeth. Hug them. Let them know that no matter what, you love them.

It's important.

Do it now.

Leave us a comment with your most challenging parental struggle or your funniest parental moment. We love hearing from readers.

About the author

EE Edit@rs