E-Learning from First Things First

The Early Parenting Experience

Part 1

Contents of The Early Parenting Experience

Page 2:  Your Child Needs You

Page 3:  Important Things to Know

Page 4:  Leading Your Child

Page 5:  Loving and Enjoying Your Child

Part 2

Your Child Needs You

Seven Basic Needs of Children*

  1. Nurturing relationships,
  2. Physical safety and security,
  3. Opportunities based on individual personality,
  4. Developmentally appropriate experiences,
  5. Rules and expectations,
  6. A supportive community and cultural continuity, and
  7. Future protection.

Although children may have the same biological parents, their personalities can be as different as night and day AND their needs are not the same.

Engaged parents know things about their children that other people usually do not. Parenting is complicated, and there is no one cookie-cutter approach for every single child.

Every human being needs to know they are loved, capable, valued and safe.  Children look to their parents and want to know:

  • Do you love me?
  • Do you believe in me?
  • Do I measure up?

Read the complete article here.

Learn more:

Dads and Moms Parent Differently

Too Much of a Hurry

Dad Ready

10 Traps for First-Time Parents

Bringing Baby Home

*As published in The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish, a parenting book by pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and child psychiatrist Dr. Stanley I. Greenspan


Part 3

Important Things to Know

Preparing for the School Year

If you want to be at the top of your game when school starts, there are a few things you’ll want to know.

Here are some tips that teachers wish they could tell all parents to help make for a great school year:

  • Be informed: Attend open houses and PTA meetings – no matter how old your child is. Read information sent home by your child’s teacher. It is amazing how often teachers are asked questions about information that was addressed in newsletters or other correspondence. Become familiar with school curriculum, policies and procedures. If your school has a website, check it out.
  • Be responsible: Respond to requests for your signature promptly. Send lunch money, field trip money, PTA dues, etc. in a timely fashion. Teachers spend precious time sending home reminders about this and more. Make it a habit to check your child’s folder or backpack daily for notes and information from school. Be on time for conferences. Label all your child’s belongings, including jackets and backpacks.
  • Be a good role model: Demonstrate the importance of following school rules and procedures. Make sure your child gets to school on time and is picked up on time. If your child is supposed to sit and read quietly in the cafeteria before school, make sure she has a book in her backpack. Look for opportunities to meet and greet all the adults your child will encounter at school.
  • Be supportive: Join PTA and attend meetings. Offer to volunteer. Even if you are unable to go on field trips or volunteer during the school day, you may be able to help in other ways. Perhaps you could prepare classroom materials at home in the evening.
  • Be reasonable: If you need to meet with the teacher, request a meeting. It is hard for teachers to have quick unscheduled conferences when they are trying to keep up with their class. If your child is sick, keep him home from school.
  • Encourage good homework habits: Help your child understand the importance of completing homework assignments on time. Offer assistance and encouragement, but make sure the final product reflects her effort, not yours. When parents provide structure and guidance and then allow their children to learn from their mistakes as well as their successes it shows they care. If your child is struggling with a particular topic, talk with the teacher about ways you can help. Look over your child’s work to reinforce the concepts being taught at school.
  • Keep the teacher informed: Send a note or talk to your child’s teacher about issues that may affect your child’s performance at school. If your child is dealing with grief, divorce, sibling rivalry, nervousness about an upcoming event or excitement about a visit from out-of-town grandparents, it is good to share this information. Make sure the teacher knows about health issues such as asthma or allergies. Provide information on what procedures you follow in the event of an allergic reaction.
  • Encourage healthy habits: Whether your child buys lunch or brings a lunch, keep the emphasis on good nutrition. Avoid sending sugary snacks to school and have healthy snacks on hand at home. Encourage your child to spend time being physically active through play or sports. Make sure your child gets enough sleep.
  • Read together: Children benefit enormously when parents read with them. Make reading together a daily habit. Have discussions about reading and talk about books as you take turns reading out loud. Help your child acquire age-appropriate books about topics that interest him.
  • Express Appreciation: Teachers strive to inspire students to be lifelong learners. They often make the work they do look effortless, but it requires a lot of expertise and countless hours of planning to do what they do.  Read complete article here.

Choosing a Day Care

Kindergarten and Your Child’s Future

Help Children Thrive During Transitions

Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

Home Alone


Part 4

Leading Your Child

Six Rules to Raise Your Children By

1.  You’re never going to be the center of everyone’s attention—not for long at least. This means that children should not be the center of attention in their families. Parents should be the center of attention.

2.  Everyone must obey a higher authority. Therefore, parents should expect children to obey, not hope that they will obey.

3.  Everyone is expected to be a contributing member of society. Too many children constantly take from their families without ever giving back. Leman suggests parents ask themselves if their children are ever expected to perform routine chores around the home for which they are not paid. The only acceptable answer is yes.

4.  Everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior. A child who does something bad ought to feel bad about it. Too often parents feel bad when a child does something wrong. Why should a child accept responsibility for his own behavior if someone else does it for him?

5.  You can’t always get what you want and what you do get, you get by working and waiting. Children should receive the things they need and a conservative amount of the things they want. More children need to hear the word “No!”

6.  You experience happiness, which is the elixir of success, in direct proportion to how sensitive to and considerate you are of others. Self-centeredness and unhappiness go hand in hand.  (Excerpt from Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours)

Learn more:

Avoid Raising an Entitled Child

ScreamFree Parenting

ScreamFree Parenting (video)

Leadership in the Home (video)

Managing Your Child’s Behavior (video)

Part 5

Loving and Enjoying Your Child

Although most parents believe they do a pretty good job of communicating love toward their children, saying “I love you” only begins the process of communicating your love for your child.

In an effort to show love to children, parents will often give their child what fills their own emotional fuel tank.  For instance, if a parent loves receiving gifts and that really replenishes their tank, they may show love to their child by giving them gifts. But, gifts may not mean as much to that child as a big bear hug, which is the language of physical touch.  In turn, the parent may become frustrated because the child does not respond to the gifts like the parent expected.

A number of books have been written about the languages of love, including one by Gary Chapman, entitled, The Five Love Languages of Children.  Chapman lists the love languages as:

  • Acts of service,
  • Quality time,
  • Words of affirmation,
  • Gifts, and
  • Physical touch.

Chapman asserts that speaking a child’s primary love language can fill the child’s emotional fuel tank much more effectively.

Although parents need to speak all five love languages to their child, one language usually speaks louder than any other.   Once a parent has discovered the child’s primary love language, this language can be used to more effectively motivate, discipline and teach their child.

In a world where many children seem to be confused and looking for love in all the wrong places, parents have the opportunity to give a wonderful gift – the gift of learning their child’s love language and speaking it often.  That will truly say, “I love you.”

Read the entire article here.

Learn more:

Father-Son Camping

 Fun Daddy-Daughter Dates


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