Word of Mom! The Best Advice We've Had From Other Parents
What's their secret? Real moms share their top parenting tips and tricks for newborn on through the big kid years.
Establish Early Where Kids Sleep
Kids sleeping in the bed with you is a slippery slope that can end up with you and a squirmy child seven nights a week. If you don't want that to happen, when a sleepy kid walks into your bedroom that first night, don't cave: walk them right back to their own room and console them there. You don't want to set the expectation that they sleep anywhere else.
Sleep When Baby Sleeps?Sleep when the baby sleeps, and clean when the baby cleans. (Translation: Make peace with not being able to get everything done. And with wanting to get stuff done while the baby naps.)
Ask the Right Questions
Give them two choices ("Do you want to wear the blue one or the red one?") versus asking them, "What do you want to wear?" since they'd then say "shorts" on a winter day. This lets them feel some control without starting a fight.
Feed Yourself First
Suppers can be stress-free--if you eat first. My daughters were horrible eaters during infant and toddler stages. My little sister (who also has kids) asked me, "Why don't you eat before you feed them?" I was horrified that she suggest I eat before my babies! 'What kind of a mother do you think I am?' I asked her. 'A hungry one!' she answered; and I realized that she was right. So one day I served myself first, while the girls continued with their games. Having satisfied myself, I found a limitless well of patience to pursue the impossible task of getting them fed, and that was refreshing! But what really baffled me was how the girls little by little came to the table when I sat to enjoy my own meal before them, and sooner than later, they were sitting next to me nibbling their own food.
-- Susan Violante
Play With Their Food
"If your kid doesn't eat breakfast, try a peanut-butter 'lollipop' (little scoop of peanut butter on a spoon). It's a quick source of protein and she'll eat it because it's a lollipop." (Safety note: Use this only with kids ages three or older, as peanut butter can be a choking hazard for younger ones.)
Replace the bad behaviour
Replace the behavior; instead of saying, 'Quit hitting the dog,' say, 'Let's pet him gently.' Tell them what to do instead of what not to do.
Give Babies a Chance to Go Back to Sleep
The best advice I got was to put the baby in the crib, go out, close the door and then 'treat her like a lit firework: Don't go back in there unless you hear a very loud noise'. The point is that if parents can ignore the little noises, then babies have the chance to learn how to self-soothe and will go back to sleep on their own.
If you tell your kids you are going to send them to their room or take something away, do it!
-- Susan McMullen
Know the Sand-Removal Secret: Baby Powder!
Instead of washing or toweling off sand, rub baby powder over it -- it brushes right off! (Safety note: Avoid using baby powder on infants and, generally, keep it away from your kid's face as it can irritate the lungs.)
Use Common Sense for Safety
When we were kids we all used to learn that, if we ever got lost (say, in a department store), we should find a policeman to help. But how often is a policeman just standing there nearby? A friend told me that, instead, I should tell my kid she should look for a mom with children, since it's more likely that person could help. It makes a lot more sense to me!
Don`t Trash the Trinkets: Repurpose!
You know all those little toys (like from McDonald's) cluttering the child's room? The ones that she/he lost interest in? Round them up, put them in a closed-in container, then keep it in your vehicle. This is your 'restaurant toy box.' When you take your child to a restaurant, bring the box in with you. The toys will be new again and will keep your child entertained.
-- Kimberly Llewellyn
Prevent it: Juice Stains are not Inevitable
Pull up the corners of a juice box and it's less likely to spill if your kid squeezes it. (It reduces the pressure inside.)
Give Girls Shorts or Leggings Under Dresses
When dressing little girls in dresses, put shorts or leggings underneath. Always. It allows them to play without exposing themselves, and it helps to instill a sense of privacy.
---- Tara Gerner-Ziegmon
If Your Kid is in Real Danger, Yell ``Freeze!``
Use the word "freeze" when they're in real danger, like running towards the street, instead of "stop," which they may hear a lot and tune out.
Set Up a Spot for Smart Snacking
Reserve the bottom shelf of your refrigerator for healthy kid-portioned snacks; apple wedges, fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt and veggies and dip or hummous. That way your kid can learn to manage his hunger independently, making healthy choices.
Avoid the Paper Pile-up
"Keep all your instructions for toys and gear in one neat binder. You'll always be able to find them when you need them, and the papers won't be cluttering up your cupboards and drawers.
Know that Cold Turkey Means Cold Turkey
If you're trying to get your kid to give up the bottle or the pacifier, keep the contraband out of the house! Otherwise, it's very likely you'll cave and make the process longer and harder.
Try Not to Panic at the First Wail
"If your baby is crying, it means he's breathing. Finish your shower."
Kids are sort of for rent. Enjoy every moment with them when you can!
The Best Thing
The best thing you can do for your child is do your best.
--Marina: *Brunna Peretti Loureiro*/flickr (CC)