Each week in April, the Aitkin Independent Age and the Aitkin County Child Abuse Prevention Council will bring readers images drawn by local children with a theme of what it takes to be “a great parent.”

A very important part of parenting is showing daily love to our children. No matter how old they are, they need our love and encouragement.

How often do you smile at your child, or give a hug? When do you really listen to them? Words matter. Your words will either help your children to grow, or lower their self-esteem.

Remember that sometimes they need love most when they are being unlovable. Write a note with caring words the child may reread when it is most needed. Being a great parent takes time, effort, and a sense of humor. Loving your child means first loving yourself. Teach children to be kind to others by your example.

10 WAYS TO BE A GREAT PARENT IN AITKIN COUNTY

(Based on Positive Promotions)

• Be a good role model. Your child learns from your example.

• Show respect for your child’s feelings, thoughts and ideas.

• Make your child feel loved with words of encouragement and your hugs and kisses.

• Keep your word. If you must break it, apologize. Ask the child what you can do instead.

• Encourage your child’s creativity, and listen to the answers to your questions.

• Build your child’s self-esteem with appreciation for genuine efforts and improvement.

•  Stay involved in your child’s life, at home, at school and with friends.

• Discipline your child fairly, with firmness and love. Focus on the behavior you want.

• Establish family traditions.  Make meals family time. Find fun things to do together each week.

• Think positively, expecting the best. You and your child can solve problems and achieve goals.

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