There are so many parenting hacks out there, but not all of them are mainstream. Each parent finds their own unique ways (or parenting hacks) of dealing with the joys and challenges of parenting. Some of mine are on the wacky side – I’d definitely say some of them are unconventional…but they also keep me sane (well, most of the time, anyway). These are the parenting hacks I notice others occasionally give me a raised eyebrow about…but hey, to each their own and I’m glad to say that I’ve found what works for me. Here they are:
1. Zerbert Parties
We enjoy tickle fights, zerbert parties and general silliness on a daily basis. This is to the point that my 1-year-old tries to lift up my shirt to give me a well placed slobbery zerbert on the belly. How is this a parenting hack you ask? Because the more you laugh and play together, the better your connection is and the better you get along. Win!
2. Bath Time
We save time on bath time at our house. My hubby grabs Peanut for their shower and I get to bathe with baby girl. Our shower is quite large, so I place a plastic tub with nice warm water opposite me and she plays while I shower. This saves so much time.
3. You Do It
I let my 3-year-old do a lot of things on his own. He gets his own water, can wash his own hands, has access to his own art supplies, etc. He’s quite independent. He’s almost 4 now actually and has just begun using a sharp knife (yikes!) to help me cut up vegetables while cooking. Scary for some, I know, but he can handle it. So, I let him. I find this emphasis on independence is quite helpful for me and has also helped him grow. We’re implementing similar strategies with baby girl who has her own small table and chair for eating meals so that she can get up when she’s done eating all on her own. She’s also learning to fetch her own shoes, spoon and water when she needs these items.
4. Let Them Figure It Out
The other night we were with extended family and Peanut was playing with his cousins. I saw he and a slightly older cousin started getting a bit rough, “playfighting” but it was clearly escalating. But, did I step in? Nah. There was no blood yet! We’re fairly relaxed about what goes on between kids. They need to figure out how to handle their own differences and manage their relationships.
Sometimes Peanut talks to us about what goes on with his cousins. He’ll say that so and so hit him, etc. So, we talk about the options he has and what his responses can be. If there’s hitting and playfighting going on that he wants to stop, I always tell him to say “Stop, I don’t like that.” We also talk about who he can go to if he needs a break. For example, he can go play with some of his calmer cousins, find an aunt or uncle or, of course, me or his dad.
Of course there are other situations kids have trouble with. Sharing, not sharing, taking things, grabbing, etc. I try to intervene as little as possible. They usually figure it out.
This is a hack because quite frankly, it’s less stressful. There’s no reason to micromanage kids. One minute they’re fighting, the next they’re giggling. They have their own way of working things out. Sure, there are more serious things that go on between kids and we have to look out for it. But, for the most part, by letting them handle it, we show that we believe in them and their ability to socialize.
I have definitely gotten the raised eyebrow from other parents on this one…you know, sort of a “hey you’re kid is fighting…aren’t you going to do something?” look. But, I know how far I’m comfortable letting things go and absolutely step in when I feel it’s necessary. And he always comes running if he’s had enough.
5. You Don’t Have to Eat It
Around meal times there sure is a lot of “I don’t want to eat that” and “I don’t like that” with kids isn’t there? We implement a strict “you don’t have to eat it” rule. It means that there is what there is to eat, if you’re hungry you can eat it, if you don’t want to, then you might be a bit hungry. That’s the basic gist, but there’s more to it of course. Find out more about our end of mealtime struggles strategy here.
This is one of my favorite parenting hacks. I don’t worry and think so much about what to cook, and the kids are actually quite pleasant about eating whatever I serve. Sometimes they complain, but there’s almost always something in the meal they like, even if it’s bread.
So those are my wacky parenting hacks. What do you do that might be considered unconventional?