Along with the beloved pool noodle, the tension rod is one of those highly versatile items that make you feel like a true MacGyver every time you discover a new off-brand use for it. Parents can hack it to make their lives easier, more organised, and more fun. Here are five ways to do just that.
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I suppose there are some couples who feel as though divide household chores and childcare exactly 50-50 and are perfectly happy all the time and give each other foot massages every night.
But for most people I know, every day is a particularly exhausting combination of whack-a-mole, an obstacle course and a flogging. And it can be difficult, while in the midst of the flogging, to not feel resentful if you think you’re taking on more than your fair share.
Video: My seven-year-old son is not keen on learning to tie his shoes. He doesn’t have any problems with dexterity, he just gets easily frustrated doing things he isn’t already good at (which is a lot of things when you’re seven). So I’ve been coaxing him to practise with me, patiently waiting for him to come around — and continuing to buy Velcro-close joggers.
When you have a preschooler, you learn that simple tasks can be quite complex. Take putting on a jacket, for example. I always see parents standing in doorways, holding up little coats and windbreakers while instructing: “Right arm! No, the other one! OK, now the other arm! Stretch! You’re almost there! Got it. Now onto the buttons.” It is a process.
Video: Forget fancy toys. If you have kids, keep them busy with painter’s tape. Yes, painter’s tape. Here, we show you how the versatile item can provide endless family entertainment — children can design roads for toy cars, create a game of hopscotch, or make a hallway spiderweb. For parents, the best part is that it’s all temporary.
We know we should heed Monica Geller's instructions for pen and marker care: "You want to push the caps until you hear them click." But kids forget, and when they come back to use them, they are sad. There, there. Dried-out markers need not be sent to the art supply junkyard just yet. You can revive them as vibrant liquid watercolors.
Over on our Facebook page, we recently asked readers to give us their best parenting hacks. The entries were so clever, so thoughtful, so immediately useful that we've decided to share some of our favourites.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?