Tagged With parenting hacks

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Psssst. Want to make your kid think you're a sorcerer? I've got a trick. First, you will need a magical machine called a printer. Then when the child is near your computer, ask, "Hey, what would you like to colour right now? It can be anything. Your favourite character? Spain during the Cold War? A hot dog?"

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Everyone who has a child in a competitive hobby knows the types: The boy who disputes every call the referee makes, the parent who hurls invective from the sidelines, the girl who can barely bring herself to shake hands after her team loses. Playing sports and games is hugely valuable for child development: They learn teamwork, strategy, patience, and get a workout to boot. But things go awry when kids can't place winning and losing in the proper perspective - when a loss is devastating or a win is cause for unseemly gloating.

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Before you have kids, the beach is easy. You amble down with nothing but a towel and a bottle of water; maybe you bring an umbrella and stick it in the sand with the ease of Zeus tossing a thunderbolt. Sun protection is a big hat and a dab of sunscreen. But once you procreate? Hannibal crossed the Alps with less effort and gear than it takes to get kids to the shore.

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Rock climbers have long hailed the beloved carabiner, a tool unmatched in versatility. But did you know that it's also a baby registry staple? About 10 years ago, some marketing genius took the ubiquitous metal clip and rebranded it with a terrible name: The Mommy Hook. What it is: Uh, still just a large carabiner clip. What it can do for parents: So much, actually! If you have one of these things - whether you choose to call it by its mummy-fied name or not - here are some ways to use it to make your life a little bit easier.

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Parents of young kids, you might know it as The Decision. After shopping for milk, string cheese and squeezy pouches with your little ones in tow, you walk back to your car and realise: Crap. What am I supposed to do with this shopping trolley?

Do I leave the kids in the car for 23 seconds (which is illegal, don't get me started on that), or do I bring them with me to the return receptacle, only to have to lift them out of it and dangerously Frogger our way through a busy parking lot back to the vehicle? Or should I be the arsehole who recklessly leaves the trolley next to the car?

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I am not a parent, but as someone who has a hard enough time feeding and clothing myself, I have a lot of respect for humans who take care of other humans. When I see parents travelling with their kids, it looks like so much fun. But travel is stressful enough when you're alone -- how do they pull it off with little ones?

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If you have kids, you have crying. They cry because their brother got to the door first, because they tried to ride two scooters at once and fell, because they are dressed as Batman but do not want to be addressed as Batman by other shoppers in the supermarket.

There are so many reasons to cry! And when you've had it up to here with the squabbling and fighting and crying -- especially about some nonsense you don't have time for, like who pressed the elevator button -- it's really easy to say (or scream) "stop crying!"

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Childbirth injuries are no fun. These are our tenderest bits we're talking about here, places we generally want to be treated with kindness and respect. But what do hefty little babies know about kindness and respect? Not much. They're coming out, by hook or by crook, and it can feel like they actually used a hook and a crook while fighting their way down the chute.

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"Failure" is a major buzzword in parenting today: In order to raise successful, resilient kids, we need to let them fail. If your kid forgets his homework or his sports uniform at home, don't bring it to him. If she's struggling with building a block tower or, later on, an essay, or even later on (heaven forbid), getting to her first job on time, don't step in. Only by struggling, and sometimes failing, do kids learn exactly what they must do to succeed.

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When I envisioned having children, my happy fantasies included curling up and reading my childhood favourites to my kids. I pictured evenings of Little House on the Prairie, Pippi Longstocking and Little Women. When my two boys came along, I worried that their affection for board books about farm equipment meant that they wouldn't even consider reading, say, Anne of Green Gables, because that was a "girl's book" and they might be interested only in boys' stories.