August 20, 2007

The Parenting Advice Tip Sheet: Fast Class

Buy diapers one to two sizes larger than recommended for your baby to avoid "blow outs" and not have to change them in the middle of the night.

Keep a box of their favorite meal bars and water bottles in the trunk of your car(s) for an emergency on-the-go lunch.

Instead of candy rewards, buy sugar-free chocolate calcium chews (you can find them at Costco) and use these to reward your little disaster on his/her good days.

Have a waterproof baby mat on the floor of each room where you can lie your puking infant to avoid spots on the carpet.

Buy a white noise machine (my favorite one is the Obus on eBay) to keep in your sleeping children's rooms so you never have to worry about waking them up with your after hours partying.

Wean your baby. You'll thank me.

For the especially pukie babies, put multiple bibs on them during trips out. Remove as they get soiled and hopefully by the time you get home your kid will still have dry clothes on.

Buy and sell your baby gear used. You can usually get the same price for it that you paid so it ends up being "free."

Shop for your kids' toys at the dollar store. They are going to destroy them one way or another, may as well save yourself some dough.

Every six months get rid of at least one trash bag full of toys. Donate them, burn them, just get rid of them! The less toys you have in your home, the less you have to clean up.

Screen your calls.

A dash of food coloring in the bathtub doubles the amount of time your kid will stay in.

When someone offers you help, TAKE IT!

Kid wants a story? Just tell him/her exactly what the two of you did that day using her favorite make believe character as the hero. Save yourself having to think up fresh story lines on demand and I promise they will love every word of it.

If you are staying in for the day anyway, invite over some of your kids' friends. It takes the pressure off you to entertain and builds up good will with your mom friends.

Don't think about how you could be a better mom, remind yourself that you could always be worse.

If Dad isn't home very much while the kids are awake, designate a few favorite games and treats to be given out only by Dad. This way the kids are certain to really look forward to the few hours they have to spend with him.

What are some of your cheats?


Amy said...

never put pants on your child and watch the movie 'Cars' everyday

FoxyJ said...

Keep the extra sheet on your kid's bed/crib. I layer one sheet directly on the mattress (you can put a mattress pad down first, but it tends to get really bulky and the crib mattress is plastic), then the waterproof mattress pad, then another sheet. Then when the baby pukes or has a leaky diaper in the middle of the night you don't have to find your extra sheet and make the bed. Just rip off the top layer and you have a sheet there ready to go.

Always keep a plastic grocery bag or two in your diaper bag. You never know when you'll need to wrap up wet clothes or dirty diapers or trash, etc.

We also seal each poopy diaper in a plastic bag before throwing it in the trash or diaper pail because it cuts down on the stink.

I use plastic grocery bags for so many things--even though I now generally use my reusable canvas bags for shopping I still have a trip or two where I get plastic so I can use them at home...

Summer said...

Remind myself that I could always be worse.
Now that, is brilliant!

Funny, two of the things I was going to say are what FoxyJ already said. If I can think of anything else I'll come back.

Anonymous said...

Remember: The weight on diapers is NOT how much they hold :)

Samantha said...

I have no cheats yet b/c my baby is only 6 weeks old and doesn't do too much...but I will have to look back at these...maybe print them out...b/c these are good ideas.

compulsive writer said...

I'm with amy.

Of course I have teenagers now so my best cheat would be boarding school or boot camp.

(in case anyone is choking on their Cheerios about now I'm just kidding!)

Heffalump said...

Eating chocolate is not self medicating, it is necessary for survival...always keep an emergency supply and NEVER let the kids find out where that is.

When your kids are small deny them horrifying chores like peeling potatoes and doing dishes. Make these chores seem fun, then when they are older they will fight over who gets to do them.

Suzie Petunia said...

Don't take advice from anyone - especially about potty training. (Can you tell I'm in a parenting funk?)

I am intrigued about the food coloring in the bath water. Has your daughter ever come out looking like and Oompa-Loompa or a member of the Blue Band?

Susan M said...

Redirection, redirection, redirection.

Sarah said...

Ha! My favorite advice to give as well is not to take any advice, but I can't keep from giving it so I thought I'd leave that one off my list :)

Foxy, I love the idea about double sheeting the bed. It's such a pain to have to turn on the light, get the kid up and rummage around in the linen closet in the middle of the night.

Heffalump, nice idea about making the yucky tasks elusive and glamorous. That really works, huh?

emma jo said...

Love the ideas, I'm really going to use them!

Melissa said...

I have to agree about the not taking advice... you know your kid the best. If kids were all alike then this parenting thing would be a lot easier!
My best cheats - bribery. What ever it takes.

Magic erasers really are magic. They took metallic permanent marker off Baby Girl's table. Have a stash of these at all times.

Keep baby wipes around even after you don't have a baby. They are very useful in the car and they take kool-aid moustaches off little faces fairly well!

the wiz said...

Pay extra to have your kid's names monogrammed on their towels. That way, the "I hung MY towel up, I don't know WHO left theirs on the floor" argument is null and void. Your name's on the towel, you need to hang it.

Teach your kids how to work the VCR and DVD player from a young age.

Ditto on the baby wipes and garbage bags. Way useful at all times.

For that "throw food everywhere" high chair stage, get a dog. It will cut down on your cleaning immensely. (Plastic underneath the chair is good too, but a dog is much more efficient).

Get a stroller with a cup holder. It can be either for Mom's Diet Coke (or watever) or kid's sippy.

Have snacks with you at all times.

If your baby needs Mylicon (gas drops that always worked really well for me) put a little on the binky. It tastes good, and your baby will just suck the binky better plus get the medicine without you having to put a strange dropper in her mouth. Ditto for infant Tylenol or Motrin when feverish.

(Works EXTREMELY well for airplane rides when you want them to suck the binky for their ears but they don't want to. (NO HONEY))

s'mee said...

Never argue or debate with a child.

Never take a hungry child to a restaurant. Give them a small sammich in the car so they can wait for the SMALL meal they will have delivered to them in 45 minutes.

Find a flannel covered, 2'x3' water proof mattress pad and always use it under anyone who may leak. (not to get gross, but keep that for when your girls become 'ladies')

Colour code your children. As with the monogram you'll know who's whatever is on the floor. Seriously for years my poor kids only wore variations of their colour.

Never take them anywhere expensive they will not remember being at.

Only invite as many guests as the child is old to their party.

Assign them a day of the week to be the helper, the prayer giver, the trash taker outer, the front seat rider, the music chooser, etc. It's your day -you get the goods...ALL the goods.

If you have a white plastic tray on your high chair, give the kid a dry wipe marker and let them go at it while you do your thing. If you don't, wrap the tray you do have with paper and give them crayons.

Take crayons with you to the dr. office. When they have to wait on the paper table this will give them something to do while they wait.

I also agree with amy, let your kids be naked as much as possible.

And to concure with heffalump, if you do it right your kids will BEG to help you when get to a certain age.

Teach your kids to dust and vacuum by hiding nickles and pennies under things in that room. Tell them there is $XYZ in the room, clean to find it and it's yours.

Teach your kids their colours by having them sort laundry.

ALWAYS always always have some form of cookies or whatever for them when they come home from school or when there friends come over.

Have the friends come to your house not the other way around.

Make dancing with your kids for 15 minutes mandatory...until they graduate from high school.

When your kid wants you, hang up the phone. They need to know they come first.

And one last word of advice. Watch out on the calcium chews. Some people are "cyst" builders and calcium can cause/wreak havoc on those who do not process it out of their systems normally. Been there, done that, bought the hospital gown for a little guy. Not a feel good mommy moment.

Jessica G. said...

Whenever taking a long (more than an hour) car trip with a semi-potty trained little person, bring the training potty with you! Keep a small bottle of water and a stack of napkins, too.

Bridget said...

DH is a pharmacist and says to check with your pediatrician or pharmacist about the calcium chews. Also, the thought of the kids getting into the bottle of chews and downing the whole thing kind of scares me. (We have called poison control about five times in the last three years which has resulted in my being uber careful/kinda freaky.)

My best cheat: DVD player in the car. We live out in the sticks and drive about an hour and a half each way once every couple of months to do the big Costco, Target, and Trader Joe's shopping. We wouldn't make it without DVDs.

Ditto on the color coding.

kelsey said...

I like all these ideas from experienced mothers! Thanks, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Just one tip:

I have a one year old that drinks milk from sippy cups 4 times a day. I don't like washing 4 sippy cups everyday, so after he's done, I rinse it out, stick it in the fridge, and then it's ready for the next 'milk session.' Then I wash it at the end of the day. At mealtime he uses other sippy cups because they get messy.

Janell said...

I'm just going to echo the concerns about encouraging the perception that calcium chews are treats. Two of my earliest memories is having my stomach pumped at the age of two because I overdosed on colorful, tasty vitamin chews and having all of the subsequent blood tests.

Sharon said...

Coming out of longtime lurkdom to recommend that - if it works for you - giving each of your children a name that begins with a different letter of the alphabet REALLY helps when you're labeling and identifying whose stuff is whose later on. We have an "E," a "K," an "M," and an "A." I don't know how the Duggars do it with all those "J's," but with our four it has helped immensely! Think twice before matching initials!

Sarah said...

To address the calcium chew issue -

It's not big deal folks. I give her HALF of one chew once a day. It's pretty much just what's in those silly little Flintstone vitamins (which she won't eat) but instead I get to be this magnanimous mother bestowing her vitamins upon her in the form of chocolate chews. I wouldn't just put a bowl of them out on the table for snacking.

Yes, I am a bad mother in some regards, but with the calcium chews, not so much.

LeiGul said...

Don't even think about potty training unless your child can actually say, "I need to go potty".

Bribery works...on almost anything.

If your child loves to do something you wish they would spend less time doing (playing video games) trade one minute reading (or practicing piano) or one minute of video game. They get in a lot of reading/practice and you don't mind them spening that time playing video games.
(And having them read to their younger sibling kills two birds with one stone)

Don't bother buying your kids expensive toys...they never play with them anyways. However investing in boxes would be worth the investment. :)

Tease with your kids, no one likes uptight children that don't know how to take a joke!

Give your kids one chore...their room...that has to be done before school or breakfast. Then what ever else needs to be done you ask them to do it. If they complain about doing it or just don't do it, then it is their chore for the entire week. It works wonders on getting things done when you ask.

Don't let your little ones help clean up. When they are about 4 they will be begging you to let them help. After a year of showing them how to clean, they will be ready and willing to do it themselves. My 5 year old cleans his room (including under his bed) every morning by himself.


Love this list...I am going to print this out for future use!!!! Brillinat moms!