Bev Fisher is our Child and Family Support Worker and she is based in school Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.00pm.  Bev has 15 years experience working in primary and secondary schools in East Leeds.  Before joining our team at Swarcliffe in June 2020, Bev worked for Seacroft/Manston Cluster Team for three years as a Child and Family Support Worker and was the Lead Professional for Promoting Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing in Children and Young People.

Most families need support at some time.  Family life isn't easy.  Whether you are a mum, dad, carer, step parent or grandparent, raising children can be the greatest joy in the world, but it can also be challenging!    

It is important to identify as early as possible children and families in needs of support.  

Family Support can work alongside parents/carers looking at:-

  • promoting positive approaches to discipline
  • setting boundaries
  • rewarding positive behaviour and developing positive relationships in the home 
  • talking about what triggers challenging behaviour
  • what the challenges and vulnerabilities in the family are
  • what positive strengths the family has
  • improving sleep routines
  • signposting parents/carers to appropriate agencies to advise or support on issues such as:-
    • housing
    • debt
    • domestic violence
    • anti social behaviour
    • help seeking employment
    • adult mental health support groups in the local area
    • holiday clubs/what's on in the local area

Most importantly, the overall aim is to empower parents/carers to be strong, confident and resilient.  Working with the family to look at what is happening right now to cause concern, helping the family to work out what could happen if things don’t change, and then supporting the family to effect the change needed to improve outcomes for the whole family

 If you would like to speak to Bev you can find her on duty outside Year 5/6 entrance to school from 8.40am-9.00am.

You can contact her at school on 0113 2930275 

Appointments can be made to meet in school - these are available from 9.00am-11.30am

If you need Urgent Help

If you can not afford to pay for essentials such as food, gas and electric, call Leeds City Council Welfare Support Team.

0113 376 0330

(Weekdays, 9am to 5pm​​, except Wednesdays when we're open from 10am)


If you have nowhere to sleep tonight, or are worried about being homeless in the near future, you can get help from Leeds Housing Options.

Getting Food in an Emergency

To get a referral to a foodbank or an emergency food parcel you need to either:-

Ask to speak to Miss Fisher in school


Phone Leeds City Council on 0113 3760330 (Mon-Fri 9.00am-5.00pm)   




 Connecting Crossgates Easter Holiday club is back in Seacroft & Manston for children in Reception to Year 6 We offer a range of activities, games, music and crafts PLUS snacks and a free cooked lunch for every child. Activities are led by youth & community workers, teachers and volunteers with experience of running children's events children.  Children spend their time in small groups of 8-12 with a designated leader. Each household is also entitled to a free food hamper of surplus food to help everyone save food waste and pennies.

When & Where?

10.00am – 2.00pm Tuesday 9th and Wed 10th April @ St Richard's Church, Ramshead Hill, Seacroft, LS14 1BX Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April @ St James Manston Parish Hall, Sandbed Lane, LS15 8JH

How to Book Booking is essential. Parents must fill in a separate form for EACH child. If you need help with the form please contact us and we will ring you. Booking deadline is 7pm Sunday 25th March Follow this link -

Eligibility Priority will be given to children who are on benefits-related free school meals or those Other
with additional needs or other vulnerabilities.
(eg SEND, Looked After, Bereavement, Family illness etc ).




Customer Stories: Andy's Man Club - Solopress UK


ANDYSMANCLUB meets every Monday 7-9pm except bank holidays for any man over 18   They offer peer to peer support in a non judgemental environment.  Men are more than welcome to attend a club and can just turn up. There is no pressure to talk, men can come along, grab a brew, listen and see how it works. 


Below are the venues in the Leeds area:-

LEEDS (College of Building, South Bank Campus, Leeds LS10 1EF
LEEDS (Millford Sports Club,Beecroft St, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3AS)

LEEDS (Vale Circles, Tunstall Road, Leeds LS11 5JF)

LEEDS (Chapel FM Arts Centre, Seacroft, Leeds 14)

Alternatively there is a full list of clubs on the webpage and it is advisable to check the website for any last minute venue changes prior to going along to a club. 

They ask that men turn up a little before 7pm so they get a welcome, can grab a brew and are there to hear the intro for the evening. 

If men are unable to get to a club due to distance, childcare, mobility etc they do also have national online groups that run the same time and day for more information please ask.


Facebook:  Andys Man Club Leeds




Tips for Supporting Positive Mental Health and Developing Resilience


Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise (preferably outdoors) 

Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on overall health and mood.  Going for a walk or run or playing a game with your child is great for your relationship and it's healthy too!

Make sure your child gets a balanced diet 

The advantages of a healthy diet are increased concentration, better physical performance and less likelihood of getting ill.  Encourage your child to drink plenty of water for a healthy body and brain

Help your child to develop positive relationships 

Positive relationships help us cope with difficulties and promote positive mental health.  Your role-modelling of positive relationships with trust and respectful communication is likely to have the greatest impact on your child's beliefs about what relationships should look like.  Encourage your child to consider what makes him or her a good (or not so good) friend and discuss what they can do when difficulties within friendships arise.  Also, help your child to appreciate how important friends and family are by asking them questions about what they do with their friends or family members each day, showing an interest.

Help your child consider when they might need help and where they can get it 

This might sound really obvious, but some children (especially boys) pick up the idea that asking for help is a kind of weakness.  Discuss with your child different scenarios and who they could ask for help in each case.  Help your child make a list of people they could ask for advice if ever they need it.  Help your child understand that asking for and getting help is a sensible thing to do.

Help your child become emotionally literate 

Managing uncomfortable feelings helps develop resilience.  Model expressing how you feel and give reasons for why you feel that way.  Further methods for the development of emotional literacy include:

  • Expanding your child's feelings vocabulary.  Expose him or her to different words for different feelings eg furious, frustrated, irritated
  • Asking your child to think of a time when they felt positive emotions and when they felt negative emotions and what caused these feelings
  • Helping your child understand that feelings can't be stopped but that how a person behaves when they are experiencing a particular feeling is a choice.  Discuss with your child ways of dealing with anger, for example.  You could do something physical to get rid of the energy surge (like punching a pillow) or you could find a way to calm yourself down (such as breathing deeply)
  • Helping your child consider what others might be feeling by using stories and pictures to develop empathy 
  • Helping your child understand that negative emotions are all part of being human and that nobody can expect to feel positive all the time.  Help your child to accept that negative emotions are normal and part of life and not to panic when they feel them.

 Promoting Positive Emotional Well Being in Children - Riverside Counselling  Service

Supporting someone with a mental illness.   For carers, friends and relatives

If you support someone with a mental illness you may face practical, financial and emotional problems from time to time.  This link provides tips and suggestions to help you support someone:-

(If you would like a paper copy of this document please contact Bev in school)

Worried about someone's mental health?

This web page explains what you can do if you are worried about someone’s mental health. It explains how to get them help and support




When your morning alarm goes off, the madness begins. Getting the entire family ready for school and getting to work on time can be quite a challenge. But with planning, practice, and patience, you can nail down a morning routine that prepares everyone in the family to take on the day.

From managing a house of little ones to getting teens out the door, keep everyone on track and stay organized with a morning schedule that works for you. In the back-to-school rush, you don’t want to forget key steps like turning off appliances or locking up properly.


The most important part of establishing a morning routine for your family is the foundation it’s built on — and that foundation is sleep. It’s no surprise parents and kids alike function better when they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep helps children develop both mentally and physically, so ensuring they get the amount they need should be a top priority. Because development varies at each age, your child may require more sleep than you think. Get your kids in the groove of a nighttime routine to directly benefit them — and you — in the morning.

Tips to establish healthy sleeping habits:

  • Get enough sleep: Kids aged 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep each day while teens aged 14 to 17 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day. Work backward from the alarm time to make sure everyone is getting the proper amount of Z’s. 
  • Stick to a regular schedule: Try to keep your kids on consistent daytime and nighttime schedules to help regulate sleep. Be sure to keep this up on the weekends, too!
  • Stay consistent with your routine: Help your child fall asleep by building a relaxing bedtime routine free of electronics or TV. Reading books or journaling together can be great bedtime activities. 
  • Set the mood for sleep: Create an ideal sleep environment by regulating the temperature and light levels of your child’s room. Test out noise machines or fans to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.

Sleep needs change as your child grows older, but whether you’re dealing with a 2-year-old toddler or a stubborn teenager, research shows that a consistent bedtime routine24 is helpful for making sure your child gets enough sleep. Whatever activities you choose, try to do the same ones every day in the same order so your child knows what to expect.

A typical bedtime routine might include:

  • Turning off computers, TV screens25, video games26, and other bright lights
  • Putting on pajamas and brushing teeth
  • Reading a light book, singing a lullaby, or taking a bath
  • Picking a stuffed animal or security blanket for the night for toddlers

The best time to put your child to bed is when they’re sleepy, not when they’re already asleep. This helps them learn how to fall asleep on their own. If preschool children wake up in the middle of the night, walk them back to their bed. It’s best not to let infants sleep in your bed, as co-sleeping increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.




A healthy way of life is an active way of life.  Being careful about what we eat and how we eat is only part of the story - the energy we take in as food needs to be balanced by the energy we expend through activity.

National guidance encourages us to be more active, building activity into daily life and developing routines and habits that increase both the amount an intensity of activity.

The recommended levels of activity for different age groups are summarised below:-

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Evidence shows that excellent attendance is key for ensuring positive outcomes for children and young people.  Missing school leaves children vulnerable to falling behind, achieving poorer outcomes at both primary and secondary level as well as post 16 choices and outcomes.  The association between poor attendance and poor outcomes is the reason why school attendance is so important.  

Improving attendance can be a gateway to improving the overall life chances of children and young people

                                                                                HENRY Healthy Families Growing Up



Spending long days in the house away from natural light, for example, can impact your daytime wakefulness and make your brain sleepy.  Then bright lights at night - especially from the TV or computer screens/tablet screens/phones etc can suppress your body's production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep.  However, there are ways for you to naturally regulate your sleep-wake cycle, boost your body's production of melatonin, and keep your brain on a healthy schedule.



 - Spend more time outside during daylight

 - Keep curtains and blinds open during the day



Turn off your television and computer.  Many people use the television to fall asleep or relax at the end of the day. Not only does the light suppress melatonin production, but television can actually stimulate the mind, rather than relaxing it.  Try listening to music or audio books instead, or practising relaxation exercises.  If your favourite TV show is on late at night, record it for viewing earlier in the day

Change your bright light bulbs.  Avoid bright lights before bed, use low wattage bulbs instead.

When it's time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.  The darker it is, the better you will sleep.  Cover electrical displays, use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows.



Set a regular bedtime.  Go to bed at the same time every night if possible.  Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you do not toss and turn.  Try not to break this routine on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late.

Wake up at the same time every day.  If you are getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm.  If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime.  As with your bedtime, try to maintain your regular wake time even on weekends.

Be careful about napping.  While taking a nap can be a great way to recharge, it can make insomnia worse.  If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping.  If you must nap, do it in the early afternoon, and limit it to thirty minutes.

Fight drowsiness.  If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day.  if you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.



If you make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply.  A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it is time to wind down and let go of the day's stresses.

Make your bedroom more sleep friendly.

Keep the noise down.  If you cannot avoid or eliminate noise from barking dogs, loud neighbours, city traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with soothing music.

Keep your room cool.  The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep.  Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation.  A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.

Make sure your bed is comfortable.  You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably.  If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or try a different pillow.  Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, mattress toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.



Your daytime eating and exercise habits play a role in how well you sleep.  It is particularly important to what you put in your body in the hours leading up to your bedtime.

Stay away from big meals at night.  Try to make teatime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed.  Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up.  Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

Avoid alcohol before bed.  Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep, but while it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night.  To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.

Cut down on Caffeine.  You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it!  Consider eliminating caffeine after dinner or cutting back your overall intake.

Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening.  Drinking lots of water, juice, tea, or other fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.  Caffeinated drinks, which act as diuretics, only make things worse.

Quit smoking.  Smoking causes sleep trouble in a number of ways.  Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep, plus smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.

Exercise regularly.  You will also sleep more deeply if you exercise regularly.  You do not have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits - as little as 20 to 30 minutes of daily activity helps.  And you do not need to do all 30 minutes in one session.  You can break it up into five minutes here, 10 minutes there, and still get the benefits.  Try a brisk walk, a bicycle ride, or even gardening or housework.  



Relaxation is beneficial for everyone, but especially for those struggling with sleep.  Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep.  Some simple relaxation techniques include:-

Deep breathing.  Close your eyes, and try taking deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.

Progressive muscle relaxation.  Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax.  Work your way up (feet, calves, thighs etc) from your feet to the top of your head.

Visualizing a peaceful, restful place.  Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you.  Concentrate on how relaxed this place or activity makes you feel.

Its normal to wake briefly during the night.  in fact, a good sleeper won't even remember it.  But if you are waking up during the night and having trouble falling back asleep, the following tips may help.


Stay out of your head.  The key to getting back to sleep is continuing to cue your body for sleep, so remain in bed in a relaxed position.  Hard as it may be, try not to stress over the fact that you are awake or you cannot fell asleep again, because that very stress and anxiety encourages your body to stay awake.  A good way to stay out of your head is to focus on the feelings and sensations in your body, or follow the rhythm of your breathing.

Make relaxation your goal, not sleep.  If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, deep breathing, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed.  Remind yourself that although they are not a replacement for sleep, rest and relaxation still help rejuvenate your body.  











Money Buddies 

Whether you’re having difficulty paying any debt, need legal debt advice or if you are not sure of what to do about your finances, we can help you. Money Buddies offer many services including FREE debt advice in Leeds.

Timetable in Leeds

Face to Face in person sessions are at the following centres. Please note Covid safety protocols may apply, please wear a protective face mask where possible.

Sessions will be closed on all Bank Holidays and some sessions may be closed at short notice.

The Timetable is subject to change. For details please call 0113 2350276



Headingley Heart Café

Heart, Bennet Road LS6 3HN

9am – 12pm

Dewsbury Road Community Hub


190 Dewsbury Road, Hunslet, Leeds, LS11 6PF


9am – 12pm

St Cyprians


Coldcotes Avenue, Harehills, LS9 6ND


10:30am – 12:30pm

Rainbow Junktion

All Hallows Church, 24 Regent Terrace LS6 1NP

1pm – 4pm

Moor Allerton Community Hub

King Lane, Moor Allerton Cen

1pm – 4pm



Richmond Hill Academy

Clark Lane LS9 8PN

9am – 12pm

Gipton Epiphany Church

227 Beech Lane, LS9 6SU


Armley Community Hub

2 Stocks Hill LS12 1UQ

 1pm – 4pm

Halton Library

273 Selby Road, Halton, Leeds, LS15 7JR

 1pm – 4pm



*please note St George’s Centre is open every two weeks, please call 0113 2350276 for details

Old Farnley Community Centre Hillside

Hillside Hall, Cross Lane, Leeds, LS12 5AA

9am – 12pm

St George’s Centre, Middleton Park

St George’s Road, LS10 4UZ


Crossgates and Whinmoor Community Hub

56 Crossgates Shopping Centre, LS15 8D

9.30am- 12pm

Bramley Community Hub

Hough Lane LS13 3ND

1pm – 4pm

Farsley Community Hub and Library

Old Road, Farsley, LS28 5DH




*please note Opal and St Pauls are open in rotation on a weekly basis, please call 0113 2350276 to see on which Thursday the Centre is open.

Opal Community Centre *

55 Bedford Drive LS16 6DJ

9am - 12pm

St Pauls *

St Pauls Church, Raynel Drive LS16 6BS

9:30am – 12:30pm

Ebor Gardens Advice Centre

93 Haslewood Drive LS9 7PS

9am - 12pm

Seacroft Community Hub

Seacroft Avenue LS14 6NX

1pm - 4pm

Meanwood Community Hub

Stainbeck Avenue LS7 2QU

1pm – 4pm



*please note Manorfield Community Hub is open every two weeks, please call 0113 2350276 for details

Woodhouse Medical Practice

Cambridge Road, LS6 2SF

9am - 12pm

Compton Centre

Harehills Lane, LS9 7BG

9am - 12pm

Manorfield Community Centre

Newhall Road, Leeds, LS10 3RR                                     

9.30am -11.30am

Pudsey Community Hub

Church Lane LS28 7TY

1pm - 4pm

Swinnow Community Centre

Swinnow Lane, LS13 4RF

1pm - 4pm



Timetable is subject to change. Please call 0113 2350276 for information

10 ways to help get your child to school on time 

The morning school run doesn't always have to be a mad dash. Follow these tips for getting your child through the school gates on time, fed, clean and with all the right kit. 

Lay out school clothes the night before. Set out your child's clothes next to their bed, including pants and socks. You'll have an early warning that stocks of clean underwear are running low if you organise clothes in the evening. 

  • Keep shoes in one place. Avoid tearing round the house, turning out wardrobes, peering under beds and behind sofas in search of your child's shoes. Find a spot where shoes always live, perhaps next to the front door. Get your child into the habit of putting their shoes there every time they take them off. If you do only one thing to prepare ahead, make it this. 
  • Get your child to bed on time. This may be easier said than done, but you'll be glad in the morning that your child was bathed and tucked up in good time. If your child is in bed at a sensible hour, they should wake up the next morning cheerful and sprightly. They may even do remarkable things, such as cleaning their teeth without being told. If your child goes to bed late, they're likely to wake up groggy and is more likely to drop their toothbrush down the toilet than brush their teeth with it. 
  • Prepare the night before. You'll breeze through the morning routine if you think ahead. When your child or children are asleep, make lunches, put homework in backpacks, and check there's enough milk for the morning. Search through your child's school bag for permission slips and school newsletters too. And don't forget about yourself: choose your outfit for the next day, and if you work, prepare your bag. If you drive your child to school, top up the car with petrol in the afternoon or evening. Trying to fit a garage stop into the school run is bound to make you tight for time, and this will stress you and your child. 
  • Invest in an alarm clock. When your child starts school, let them pick out their own alarm clock. They'll probably choose the biggest, brightest, tackiest clock you've ever seen. But, hopefully, they may feel a sense of duty to get up when it goes off in the morning. 
  • Encourage your child to get themselves ready. Help your child to get as far as they can with dressing themselves and brushing their hair. Not only will they feel a sense of accomplishment, it'll save you valuable time – once they get the hang of it, anyway! 
  • Keep breakfast simple. Don't feel guilty if breakfast isn't an elaborate affair. A breakfast of healthy cereal, a yoghurt and a piece of fruit will do. Make it easy for your child to have fruit by slicing a banana or chopping strawberries into their cereal. Instant porridge is easy and gives a great start to a winter's day. 
  • Take breaks. Give the weekday routine a rest at weekends. 
  • Make time for cuddles. On rushed mornings, it's easy to skip the hugs and kisses. 
  • Make school mornings a positive experience – happy, calm, organised!! 



Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared

  1. Boosting Your Child's Self-Esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.

Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless.

Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like "What a stupid thing to do!" or "You act more like a baby than your little brother!" cause damage just as physical blows do.

Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don't love their behavior.

  1. Catch Kids Being Good

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: "You made your bed without being asked — that's terrific!" or "I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient." These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behavior you would like to see.

  1. Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline

Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed.

You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time out" or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. You can't discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

  1. Make Time for Your Kids

It's often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren't getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they're sure to be noticed that way.

Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a "special night" each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a note or something special in your kid's lunchbox.

Adolescents seem to need less undivided attention from their parents than younger kids. Because there are fewer windows of opportunity for parents and teens to get together, parents should do their best to be available when their teen does express a desire to talk or participate in family activities. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicates caring and lets you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways.

Don't feel guilty if you're a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember.

  1. Be a Good Role Model

Young kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: Is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be aware that you're constantly being watched by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.

Model the traits you wish to see in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.

  1. Make Communication a Priority

You can't expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, "say so." They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. If we don't take time to explain, kids will begin to wonder about our values and motives and whether they have any basis. Parents who reason with their kids allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way.

Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child's suggestions as well. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.

  1. Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style

If you often feel "let down" by your child's behavior, perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Parents who think in "shoulds" (for example, "My kid should be potty-trained by now") might find it helpful to read up on the matter or to talk to other parents or child development specialists.

Kids' environments have an effect on their behavior, so you might be able to change that behavior by changing the environment. If you find yourself constantly saying "no" to your 2-year-old, look for ways to alter your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits. This will cause less frustration for both of you.

As your child changes, you'll gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won't work as well in a year or two.

Teens tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. But continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to earn more independence. And seize every available moment to make a connection!

  1. Show That Your Love Is Unconditional

As a parent, you're responsible for correcting and guiding your kids. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child receives it.

When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.

  1. Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent

Face it — you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — "I am loving and dedicated." Vow to work on your weaknesses — "I need to be more consistent with discipline." Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. You don't have to have all the answers — be forgiving of yourself.

And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you're burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy as a person (or as a couple).

Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.