Parenting: possibly the toughest job in the world with no right way to do it. Nevertheless, through years of making babies we, as a society, have figured out a few tips and tricks. Here are our tenbest parenting hacks.
10. Be Sensible On Social Media
Yes, it's easier than ever to share your kids' experiences with others -- but exercise a little restraint. Firstly, you'll bore everyone you know if that's all you ever talk about. Second, it's easy for social media pictures to be misinterpreted or misused. Ask yourself: "Is this the best way to share the experience?", especially if you're endlessly uploading pictures.
9. Kid-Proof Your PC and Gadgets
In a time before children, you only had to worry about stubbing your toe on a stray gadget or casually hiding your adult-themed media on your computer from the general public. Now you have a kid to worry about and the house must be safe for their physical and emotional well-being. When you need to prevent a kidpocalypse, attach bumpers to your gadgets, set up parental controls on the computer, block inappropriate online content, and keep the liquids away from your tech. Check out the full how-to for details.
8. Take the Nightmare Out of Travel
Nobody likes a crying kid on an aeroplane -- not you or the other passengers. First and foremost, stay calm when travelling with a child so you don't make any tantrums worse. Try to wear your kid out prior to the flight, schedule your flight during nap time (if applicable), fly non-stop whenever possible, and sit together as a family. Pull out distracting toys whenever you can, don't forget to pack helpful accessories, and read this post for plenty more tips.
7. Say the Right Things
Little things you say affect your kids and some may even stick with them for the rest of their life. In the younger years, it helps to provide focused and constructive feedback on many of the things they do so you foster a good relationship and provide them with the skills they need to handle life's challenges. Read these 10 things you should stop saying to your kids to learn what sends the wrong message and what you can say instead.
6. Learn to Make Kid-Friendly Snacks
Kids make up some of the pickiest eaters, so it helps to have a few healthy snacks up your sleeve that most will enjoy. Dried apples, celery and peanut butter, Gorp, and cucumber boats all work, but so will most anything if you add some fun to it. You can make ants on a log by adding raisins on top of celery and peanut butter. Those previously mentioned cucumber boats have fun built-in because they're boats. As we've noted in the past, you can trick kids into eating healthy food by letting them add a secret ingredient. Keep the snacks fun and your kids will enjoy them.
5. Prepare Your Kids for Restaurant Dining
A trip to your favourite restaurant can feel like a trip to hell when you bring your children, but a few tricks can ease the pain. If you give them a snack first so they don't get too hungry, you'll get fewer complaints and less rowdy behaviour. On that note, go early so you don't have to wait as long -- something your kids usually won't have the patience for. For the times you will have to wait, bring distractions to avoid tantrums at the table. Of course, always treat your wait staff well. They can make your evening much better if they like you and want to help you. For lots of great tips, check out this post.
4. Change Your Schedule to Spend More Time with Your Kids
You have a great impact as a parent when you can actually parent. That involves, first and foremost, showing up. While you might think otherwise, you can often rearrange your schedule to find more kid-friendly time. Just ask your boss if you can come in late and stay late if you want to see your kids off in the morning when they go to school, or get up early to make them breakfast and come home early to see them when they get back. Most companies understand the difficulty of raising kids as a working parent and will adjust your schedule to help you out. So long as you put in the hours and get your work done, a small change makes a much bigger difference to your family than it does to your boss.
3. Teach Your Kids Good Money Management Skills Early On
The insane amount of debt around the globe should demonstrate how desperately your kids need to learn how to manage their money. While you can't force financial responsibility upon them, you can teach by example throughout their life. Starting as early as age three, you can explain how money works and how we use it to get what we need before the extravagant things we want. Later, they can learn good savings skills and how to avoid crippling credit card debt. While not the most fun topic for a child, you can accomplish a lot when these short lessons are spread out over 18 years. We have a schedule of suggestions to help you out.
2. Learn from Other Parents
Nobody figures out how to raise children on their own. We take from a wealth of information published in books and from the people in our lives. Don't fear asking for help -- parenting doesn't come stress-free and other parents know that best. Get their advice for some of the best parenting hacks. Whether you have friends and family to ask or not, you can always get some great advice from our resident mum Melanie Pinola. She discussed the 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent which covers so much you'd want to know, whether you have a kid right now or are planning on having one in the future.
1. Encourage Imagination and Experimentation
Kids utilise their imagination better than adults, so take advantage of that. When they need entertainment, you don't need to spend money or provide them with much. A cardboard box quickly becomes a house, or multiple boxes a fort. Origami and papercraft projects engage the mind and allow your kids to come up with creative ideas -- as do many craft projects. Give them the tools they need to create and let their imagination do the rest of the work. Let them experiment in kitchen, with art supplies, and explore the limited world around them. While children need to spend some time in reality, one of the best parts of being young is the freedom to experiment. It's how we learn who we are and what we love.