23 Parenting Tips from 23 Years of Parenting — and Over 30 Years of Teaching
I once heard someone say that parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever love. What an understatement! I thought with my master’s degree in education, lots of years of judging parents in public, and being an in-demand Godparent, I would know what to do. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
No child is perfect, and neither is any child. My kids may have been raised in the same house, but they came out day one as separate and unique individuals. It was frustrating that I couldn’t apply what I knew from one child to succeed with the next one.
I’ve listened and learned. Here are some of my favorite things I know for sure about parenting.
- Contain the stuff: Stuff needs limits. One of the best things we did with Lego was get a plastic pool. If they wanted to make a creation, any Legos they use need to stay in the tub. Bins are your best friend. The toys they want will change over time. Never buy a toy too big to fit into the containers you get. Kids are entertained by large toys briefly, and then they’ll clutter your space.
- Make things easy: Feed your kids outside as often as possible. Using the hose to clean your kids off after a spaghetti dinner is a delight! Let them go crazy with washable paint in the tub! Get outside — and stay there — as often, and for as long as possible.
Put a Dirt Devil in their bedroom, their playroom, and the car. They’re priceless workhorses, and kids can work the vacuums themselves.
3. Blame other things and other people. A timer is your best friend and is a tool you can blame for some things. When it goes off, say, “The timer says it’s time to clean up!” Never underestimate the power of 10, 5, and 2-minute warnings.
In the same way, get your child’s teacher onboard for rules. Say, “Mrs. Smith said children need nine hours of sleep. It’s time for bed so you can get up on time.” Teachers don’t mind, as long as you give them a head’s up.
You can also blame the temperature for when to wear a jacket. Put an outdoor thermometer on the wall and mark a spot for jacket and coat weather. As a bonus, your kid will…