We strive to enhance the happiness and wellbeing of the children in our lives. Whether we are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling or carer, we can all learn positive parenting skills to help children learn, grow and become the best they can be.

Sometimes this can be more difficult than others. What do parents say to guide children who are anxious? How can positive behavior be encouraged? What are the skills that develop resilience? How do parents best support their children?

The key is to create open, positive communication and a great relationship with kids. This will provide the foundation for a flourishing future and instill the optimistic outlook and essential skills they need to do well in later life.

Here are five positive parenting principles you can learn to become the best parent you can be and help your kids become happy, resilient and successful in life.

1. Provide a safe and engaging space.

A safe, supervised and protected environment where children can explore and experiment in play is vital to encourage children to develop their skills and feel engaged in activities they enjoy.

2. Create a positive learning environment.

Parents are their child’s first teachers. Respond positively to interactions they initiate including requests for help, advice, attention and information. Offer encouragement while assisting them to learn to solve problems themselves.

3. Use assertive discipline.

Explore alternatives to coercive practices such as raising your voice, punishment or threat of consequence. Select and discuss ground rules with children, age appropriate instructions and logical consequences. Try quiet time.

4. Hold realistic expectations.

Explore your own beliefs and assumptions about the causes of certain behaviours. Focus on expectations that are appropriate to your child’s developmental level.

5. Take care of yourself.

Think of your parenting role within the larger context of personal self-care. Consider how your parenting responsibilities, skills and mindset impact your self-esteem. Work on your communication skills and your ability to manage difficult emotions. Find ways to increase positive emotions in your own life and relationships.

Remember, positive parenting builds on the capabilities of all family members. It is possible for anyone in your family to become a more active problem solver and contribute to a safe, positive environment for children’s happiness and learning. Even if a family member’s previous attempts to resolve problems have may not have been successful, it may be because of a lack of necessary knowledge, skills or motivation. People are capable of learning and small positive actions can make a difference.

Positive psychology is all about looking for and focusing on what is working well and how it can work even better. When you view children—and adults—as creative and self-determined with access to inner resources and strengths they can nurture and grow, you help set them up for success.

The Positive Parenting Online Course I have developed for Growing Great Schools is an opportunity to learn positive parenting practices based on positive psychology. It is designed to offer you tools and techniques to nurture resilience and wellbeing in children and complement and refine your natural parenting style.

The course consists of four online evening workshops delivered by webinar each fortnight. The next course is starting on Tuesday 19th April. Join me to learn more positive parenting principles including how to raise an optimistic, resilient child, cultivate character strengths, and promote a growth mindset.

Or register your interest in upcoming positive parenting courses.