The Best Parenting Advice I Have Ever Received

Parenting advice is very easy to find. Parenting books abound in bookstores.They are universal in Christian bookstores. And parenting tips are seemingly ubiquitous on blogs and articles. I find it helpful to read widely on this topic. I never agree with everything, but I usually come away with at least something that was helpful.

But today I thought I would give you the two best pieces of advice I ever got. One is practical, and the other, philosophical.

Well-rested babies make for happy babies.

When Stefan was just a few days old, my mom told me something like “sleep breeds sleep.” In other words, a well-rested baby during the day, ends up sleeping better at night. And when they have slept well, they are happier. And when they are happier, they in turn will sleep better.

It is a wonderful cycle to be in. Keeping your babies up so that they will sleep better later, rarely works. They need their sleep, and sleep (and milk!) makes them happy.

I still think of this often. When my kids miss too much sleep for too long, they actually have a more difficult time falling asleep at the end of the day. So yes, we make sleep a big priority in our home. And, yes, we are all happier because of it. Thanks, Mom!

God gave them to us to raise. 

With articles, books, and opinions abounding on the parenting topic, the most freeing advice I have received is the reminder that my children were given to me. I love asking other moms for advice and opinions. I love reading about parenting. I have found amazing, useful information about the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of my kids, that have contributed to how I parent.

But at the end of the day, I don’t follow a book or method. God gave my children to me to raise. The ultimate decision about how we parent is something my husband and I have to come to. No book, no philosophy, and not even another really great parent is responsible for our children.

If I were not confident that with that responsibility, God also gives the grace to seek out counsel, help, and wisdom, and to sift through the myriads of opinions, it would be frightening. I am confident that God is the God of all wisdom. And with that confidence, and the reminder that God chose to give me my children to raise, it is the most freeing advice possible. I don’t have to worry about what others think. And since I am a people-pleaser by nature, that is extremely liberating.

What is your best parenting advice?


  1. Yes to both pieces of advice! I’ve definitely found that sleep begets sleep. And you’re right, God gave us our children to raise and we can be confident that He will graciously give us wisdom for our parenting decisions (though we’ll surely need help and make mistakes along the way).

  2. “Don’t do it all. Let your husband help!” from my MIL about her son. :) Best advice ever.

    • Johanna says:

      Love this advice! I wouldn’t know what to do if Brian and I didn’t share the parenting/household load.

  3. “Give that kid a drink.” One of my friends said that whenever a child was cranking her dad would tell her to give them a drink. It is such a little thing, but I can’t tell you how often this has met a felt need.=) Meres can’t tell me she is thirsty, but if she is crying and I give her a drink, she just guzzles it. And, I have done it with my other kids too. Anyway…=)

    • Johanna says:

      Great tip! I need to remember this more. I realized recently that I wasn’t given my Silas enough to drink. He always takes it willingly when I offer it, so I need to do more. Would also be good to offer a drink before a snack. :)

  4. Awww, that is sweet. I am glad that I gave you a little good advice :-) You are a great Mommy and I am proud of you. I think the drink idea is important, too. Dad always thinks to give kids a drink but I rarely do :-(

  5. Trust your instincts and always ask “why am I doing x,y,z or making this decision …” and – Don’t be afraid to try different things. Each child doesn’t always respond/adapt the same way in certain circumstances.

    • That first line sounded contradictory. The gist is to know why you’re making decisions. Because everyone else does it that way? The books say to? or You and your spouse have chosen x,y,z for specific reasons that you feel confident in. Make sense?

      • Johanna says:

        Totally understand. I agree. Knowing why I am doing certain things is so helpful. And, yes, different children need different things. I am already finding that out and my kids are still young.

  6. “You cannot change your children’s hearts; you cannot make them ‘turn out right’. God is the one that must work in their hearts and bring them to Him.” This increases my faith and dependency on God, and decreases the extended guilt trips over mistakes made and also decreases the tendency to manipulate behaviour, etc.

    • Johanna says:

      So true, and so encouraging!
      “decreases the extended guilt trips over mistakes made and also decreases the tendency to manipulate behavior.” ~excellent! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Yup. Mom and Dad had both the sleep and drink thing down. Shows they were good parents AND that kids need two parents.

    • MTnewmom says:

      Why does this show kids need two parents?

      • Well, it’s not conclusive evidence. Merely supporting evidence subjectively assessed. However, my main point was that it’s ideal for kids to have a mother AND a father who consider parenting a team effort.

  8. Yesterday Corban was getting cranky and didn’t know how to explain his attitude. I remembered Grandpa Bixby and went to get a snack and drink. Transformation!

    • Johanna says:

      My motto: when in doubt it is sleep or food and drink, lol!

    • The same thing happens with our youngest–much more than it did with the older 2. Took awhile to realize what was going on. Don’t know why I was so dense–I’m the same way :).

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