20 Surprising Parenting Tips

Hope everyone is staying safe and dry! Over the past few years, I’ve heard some amazing (and surprising) parenting tips from friends that I’ve found really valuable, so I’d love to share them here (and hear yours!)…

Two things I’ve learned myself:

1. Carters white onesies are the cutest (and cheapest) ever. Also train conductor overalls. Buy them in multiple sizes.

2. If you think your child may have a temperature, kiss their forehead (instead of using your hand). You’ll immediately be able to tell if they’re hot or not.

From my friend Lena:

3. Give your child a whole, peeled, hard-boiled egg. It’s a fun sensation to hold an egg, and my son likes to break it apart slowly and usually he eats the entire thing. When I cut up the egg instead, he eats some but then gets bored.

From my friend Samantha:

4. If my toddler gets fussy when we are walking, I change up the pace by trying different walks: Marching, waddling like a penguin, hopping like a frog, etc.

From my mom:

5. Consider inviting the same number of guests to a birthday parties as the child’s age (so as not to overwhelm your child). So if your child is turning one, invite one friend. If your child is turning four, invite four friends.

6. Make a special drink when they’re sick: orange juice with sugar on the rim of the glass!

From my friend Lina:

7. Not sure what to make for dinner? Make a “pupu platter”—three olives, two apricots, a lump of peanut butter, a slice of cheese, a dollop of hummus and whatever other random stuff you have in the fridge. It’s fun to eat and will likely be healthier than mac n’ cheese or frozen chicken nuggets.

8. Need 20 minutes to yourself? Put your kid on a stool in front of the sink, hand him/her some plastic cups and turn on the water.

9. Kids can be really good at helping with house chores, and they LOVE it. Give them little jobs: shelling peas, taking clothes out of the drier, pairing up socks. If you don’t have an actual job for them, make up one that feels really important. Like, “I need to to take all these peanuts out of this bag and put them in this bowl.” This will buy you time while you’re actually making dinner or folding the laundry.

10. If your kid HATES getting his hair rinsed in the bathtub, let him hold his own washcloth that he can use to wipe his eyes.

11. Any hair combing/braiding is best done in front of the TV. It’s ok.

12. Justin Bieber on Pandora radio.

From my friend Sharon:

13. Listen to parenting advice from a few trusted friends/mothers/writers. All you need is two or three. The rest just nod and smile.

14. Pull your kids out of school and take them out to lunch without warning.

15. Learn how to draw a few simple animals. I learned how to draw a frog and my kids think I’m brilliant. I beam when they make a request. I can also make a pretty badass paper airplane.

16. Stay out of their way when you take their pictures. If you force them to stop and smile, you’ll ruin the moment.

From my friend Ashley:
17. Read a story at the table after they finish eating dinner to practice sitting for longer times.

18. When heading to the playground, bring at least two small toys—not just one—for making friends. After all, most babies and toddlers play beside one another before they play with one another.

19. Always say goodbye to your child when you leave, even if it means some tears.

From my friend Abbey:

20. Overall, remember you can ask other moms for help and supplies when that diaper exploded, you forgot the sunblock on the hottest, sunniest day of the year, when you realize you don’t have wipes. I’ve been endlessly humbled how generous moms will be to other moms if asked nicely. Motherhood is a powerful shared experience. I was recently traveling alone with Alex, overwhelmed, carrying a 50lb toddler on my shoulders and two heavy bags. Just when I was at the edge of my endurance, a mom came up to me and said, “How can I help.” I almost burst into tears and handed her one of the bags. Even if you’re having an off day, some mother somewhere remembered to pack the snack, the water and the wipes.
Awesome, right? I’d LOVE to hear your tips and tricks that you’ve learned through the years. Sometimes word-of-mouth advice from parents is better than all the parenting books in the world. Please share below! xoxo

  1. Ashley says...

    #9! Growing up, my Nana would let my sister and I “paint” the house while she did yard work. By “paint,” I mean she gave us a bucket of water with a couple paint brushes. We felt like we were doing this great adult task!

    • Kris says...

      We did this at my grandma’s house too! She had a cement (?) wall painted red outside her wash house and we felt so cool “painting” it. Now my daughter does this on our pavers and she screams “I paint!” :)

  2. Hannah Carlson says...

    This article just made me feel better as a mom (which I needed) since I naturally do most of those ideas. Thanks for the encouragement! Also, a mom helped me out recently at Panera when she saw me struggling with my little sons, and got us waters. Moms are awesome!

  3. Ellie says...

    Similar to the special drink when you’re sick idea, my mom always let us pick any salty snack we wanted when we were sick and she would buy it from the store (ie brand name Cheese-its, Goldfish, Wheat Thins, popcorn, etc). The grocery budget didn’t usually allow for these things so it was a treat! The secret motive? The salty snacks made us thirsty so we drank our fluids without complaint and Mom didn’t have to fight us to “flush out” the illness. To this day, I buy whatever I want to munch on when I’m sick no matter the cost or calories :)

  4. These are great! I love reading the “motherhood” post! You seem like a thoughtful and wonderful mom! My mother does #8 a considerable measure with her grandkids (my little girl, nephew, and so on.) and I believe it’s a pointless misuse of water.

  5. jane says...

    When my new baby was born, my 2 older children were six (girl) and eight(boy) They were busy and active and had friends over. I had a playard in the kitchen where I would put the baby in her infant seat. She was safe and protected when the older two had friends overland often running through. The rule also was don’t put anything in the playard and don’t take anything out.
    the baby also ended up loving her playard. I also introduced new toys when she was in it and associated being there w being happy and engaged and safe

  6. T says...

    My mom does #8 a lot with her grandkids (my daughter, nephew, etc.) and I think it’s an unnecessary waste of water. Shouldn’t we be teaching them to save water instead?

  7. Wow. These are actually amazing. Also teared up at that last bit. We really are all in this together.

  8. These are great! I love reading the “motherhood” post! You seem like a thoughtful and wonderful mom!