Parenting is not easy! There is no manual for parenting and not only do you have to learn as you go along but by the time you have got it sussed the children have grown out of that stage and it’s time to learn again!
It takes a village
Decades ago we would have been surrounded by other mums, we would have seen them raising their children, seen what worked and what didn’t. When it was our turn to raise our children we would have a village to offer support. Now we have no village, just the internet.
With this in mind I chatted to some friends and we came up with a couple of parenting tips and tricks that you might not have thought of if you are new to the game. As I am sure you can tell, while there maybe some tips and tricks that are useful, the most useful tool for parenting is our sense of humour so we threw a little silliness in with our suggestions.
These are in no particular order:
1. Always keep a bag of lollies hidden in the pantry. Sometimes bribery is the only thing that works. Editor’s note – it is much more socially acceptable to say ‘positive reinforcement’ instead of bribery! Also, I like to keep a bag of lollies hidden in the pantry for me so that means there is never any left for bribery – see point 2.
2. Stickers are amazing rewards for younger children. Honestly, have you seen how excited little ones get when they get a scratch and sniff sticker! A couple of tips here:,
- First is get some stickers! I’ve never been tempted to eat the entire packet of stickers that I hid as a ‘just in cast’ I need to offer my kids an incentive (see point 1).
- Make friends with a teacher and get yourself a stash of scratch and sniff stickers!
- My last and most important tip about stickers. Use the scratch and sniff wisely! Don’t give them too freely, they are SPECIAL! Honestly I don’t think there is much my kids wouldn’t do for a scratch and sniff sticker. You don’t want to risk diluting their power!
3. Buy all the same colour and style of socks! This was not my suggestion, it was a friends. I honestly think there is a magical place somewhere where all the odd socks and Tupperware lids go to hide from me. I can never match socks. In fact my kids all say ‘life’s too short for matching socks!’ When my older 2 were little I bought 20 pairs of plain white school socks, threw them in the wash. Guess how many came out? 40 white socks and at the end of the first month I could find 1 sock! Where the other 39 socks went I will never know. In theory buying all the same style and colour SHOULD make matching socks easier and quicker otherwise my suggestion is embrace the odd socks or maybe think about sandals???
4. Layer the mattress protector and sheets on the bed. When your little one is toilet training (or just prone to leaking nappies or accidents) layer up the bed. Mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet etc. This means in the middle of the night you aren’t having to worry about stripping the sheets and remaking the bed. It’s as simple as pulling off the top sheet and mattress protector and you are set. It is much quicker and everyone is back asleep much sooner.
5. Entertainment for restaurants. We don’t eat out at restaurants very often but for when we do I have a ‘grab bag’ that comes with us (actually I have a similar one that comes for long car rides too). It is a bag filled with paper, textas, stickers, pens and pencils. That bag has entertained my kids (and often other adults who are dining with us) for hours. It is amazing how everyone gets into drawing or colouring.
6. Check out the menu. One of the reasons that we don’t eat out often (other than I’m a cheapskate) is that little kids struggle to sit still and wait for their food. The grab bag helps with the sitting still part but the wait is still difficult. One thing we do, is look at the menu before we go out and know what we are going to order. When we are shown to our table we ask to order straight away as we don’t need to look at the menu. It cuts the wait time down significantly and we find that kids can tolerate a wait (aka Daddy is chatting) much better at the end of the meal when they have a full tummy than at the beginning of the meal when they are (and I am) hangry!
7. Baby wipes clean anything! No matter what age baby wipes are wonderful. EXCEPT – don’t clean your leather couch with baby wipes! They strip all the moisture out and they are really not good for it. This does kind of make me wonder what is in them and what it does to skin but if I don’t think about that then it’s fine! Make sure there are baby wipes in your grab bag, something always gets spilled or someone gets sticky fingers and no one wants tomato sauce on their drawings!
8. Don’t have a spray tan while breastfeeding. My 12 week old baby ended up with a 5 o’clock shadow goatee and moustache as a result of feeding after I had a tan done before my brothers wedding. Tricky to explain 😊 If you do have a spray tan done and accidentally dye your child, Sorbelene cream is pretty good at removing spray tan!
Do you have some amazing tips that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you. Send through your tip via our FaceBook page (while you are there why not like and share it with your friends!)
This was a light hearted look at parenting, but often parenting can be overwhelming. If you are feeling isolated or you are struggling with this role of parent (and like me you can’t find anyone who is willing to accept your resignation from adulthood!) then our counselling service may be of help. Remember you are not alone!