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The best parenting advice I ever received

There is no shortage of parenting advice, but not everything is helpful for everyone. However, this single tip has the power to change your family life – in only 10 minutes. Whether you’re dealing with short-fused 2-year-olds, annoyed 8-year-olds or grumpy teenagers – this parenting tip is pure gold!

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“Leave me alone!“-“Oooh, you’re so annoying!”-“Go away!”-“Stop it!”-“I’m moving in with grandpa!“-„You’ll be sorry!”

A while ago, this is what our family life sounded like. All. The. Time.

Parenting advice needed!

Kids were complaining about each other. Whoever was unhappy used us parents as the target for their frustration. Each day felt like I had to walk on eggshells:

What would set off the 3-year-old’s first tantrum today? What would cause dramatic tears stream down the 5-year-old’s face? And just what might trigger my 7-year old to slam doors and yell “You’re so stupid!“?

We did have calm and happy moments. But they never seemed to last long till the next emotional grenade would explode and spread its sharp verbal shreds around the room.

Toddler tantrums and mom meltdowns

Family life was no piece of cake.

I tried empathy and understanding: Of course, the oldest would get upset when her siblings got candy at the supermarket while she was in school. Naturally, the middle child also wants to win every once in a while. And if my youngest is craving sweet potatoes, why shouldn’t I cook some for him in the microwave?

But with an overabundance of jealousy and rivalry, ignoring the few basic rules, insults and ungrateful demands, I realized that I was in a dead-end. No amount of empathy would get this sorted.

Someone moaning about dinner was all it took for me to lose my cool. I didn’t like how I was responding to the situation but at the same time, I felt utterly powerless.

Parenting was anything but relaxed and I really needed helpful advice.

Best parenting advice ever

Five years ago we came across Amy McCready’s Positive Parenting Solutions* as a trustworthy source of parenting advice. And it was Amy’s tip that restored peace in our family.

I didn’t even have to search – I knew what I needed to do: Re-establish Amy’s 10-minute special time. We tried it before but it would easily get lost in everyday life. While it remained challenging with only one child, it felt unrealistic with two and outright impossible with three.

But in my desperation, my husband and I created a plan for how to use the “10-minute special time” in everyday life – and once again, the immediate effect almost knocked me off my feet.

Happy parents and kids in just 10 minutes a day

Amy’s parenting advice is as simple as it is difficult:

Every day, each child spends 10 minutes alone with each parent, with an activity the child chooses – without being distracted by phone or tv.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Huh? That sounds way too easy.” Or you react as I did: „That’s impossible – how am I supposed to do that???”

The parenting style proposed by Positive Parenting Solutions is based on the theories of psychologist Alfred Adler. And it all boils down to this one premise: Every human is looking for affection, confirmation, and meaning.

If these needs aren’t met in a positive way, then receiving the negative form is always better than nothing at all. For children, it means that if they don’t receive positive attention, they’ll take the attention they can get through negative behavior.

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How to integrate the best parenting advice into normal life

After many failed attempts, we finally came up with a system how to implement the tips from Positive Parenting Solutions*.

We need half an hour each day when both parents are at home. Our kids rotate between 10 minutes of special time with each parent and 10 minutes of screen time on a tablet.

We set the timer for 10 minutes and each child can choose how to spend this time with the parent. With younger kids we found it helpful to agree on a list of things that are realistically doable within this time frame.

When we spend a lazy afternoon in the garden, there are plenty of ways to make special time happen outside as well.

If we’re very short on time, then special time might mean spending 10 minutes alone in the kitchen with mom or dad and cook dinner. If time is even tighter, we try to get in at least 5 minutes per child.

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Is the implementation of this parenting tip always fun?

I’d love to say that Special Time is my highlight of the day. But honestly, that’s not usually the case. It can even be downright difficult to spend 10 positive minutes with a child that pushed your buttons all day.

But I do enjoy the opportunity to see each child as if they were my only one. I appreciate having a chance to chat without being interrupted. Or just listen to any struggles they share. If I am particularly exhausted, then I might suggest a calm activity that’s easy for me: read, cuddle, or color.

Calm kids in just 10 minutes

Within a few days of implementing the best parenting advice ever, I couldn’t help but notice its effects:

  • significantly fewer tantrums
  • laughter dominated our time together as a family again
  • differences and arguments were resolved quickly
  • fewer siblings quarrels
  • kind words between children
  • “Sure, Mom!“ as a response to my request
  • cooperation
  • sharing
  • helpfulness

Our children were still children, but we were all more relaxed. And started to enjoy family life again.

As it turns out, those 10-20-30-… minutes are an incredible investment. Not only for building a stronger bond with each child. But also for my mental health, for our marriage, for the future of my children, for our relationships as a family and also for a much calmer daily routine.

Down to earth parenting advice

What I like so much about Amy McCready’s* parenting advice is her down-to-earth approach. She focuses on the needs of both children and parents. It’s not all about your child’s every need. And it’s certainly not all about the rules.

Her loving yet practical style completely matches my vision for our family life. And it lines up with my hope to raise my children into responsible grown-ups. So be sure to check out her website:

But whatever you do – please try this seemingly simple parenting advice. I promise you’ll be amazed at how much something so simple can turn your family life upside down.

In the best way possible.

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