Top 10 Parenting Tricks — Babies – Adult
Feeding a toddler:
Have you ever served spaghetti and had to take the time to cut it for your small child? If you have more than one – mine were 18 months apart – by the time you cut up their food, yours is cold. Plus, cutting spaghetti is a pain in the neck! SO….put it in a blender. Pulse the blade a couple of times and the spaghetti and sauce are perfectly mixed and the noodles are cut perfectly. Just pour it on their plate!
Still feeling a toddler: Have you ever cut French toast or pancakes for a little one? Also a pain! Use a pizza slicer!! You can cut the pieces faster than with a fork and knife. You can even cut strips of the French toast so that they can “dip” it in syrup. Fun food becomes eaten food!
Reading to your children:
You should read books that are a little past their reading abilities, in my opinion, at least until they are out of elementary school. When you read to young children who have not yet begun to read, or who are just learning to read; make sure that you are sitting (or lying) side by side and that your child can see the book as well. Point to the words as you read them. This will help your child understand that we read from left to right and even help him begin to learn some letter recognition skills and phonics skills. As your child progresses, keep reading books that are a little higher than his reading level.
Remember – don’t shun the classics! There are many abridged and kid-friendly versions of many of the classics available. If you don’t have time to read aloud every night, invest in some books on tape/cd/digital media. Or visit your library. Audio versions of books are a great way to enhance the written word. Also, if your children have struggles in reading, whether vision related, or just not catching on as fast as their peers, these books on tape can be a life-saver.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a child that is struggling in school, let me first say, “I’m so sorry”. There is nothing worse than when the child who you know is smart and inquisitive cannot seem to “get it” at school. What’s worse, your child’s teacher may not be a big help. (**A note here – if you are a teacher, I am sure you always do everything in your power for all of your students. But every now and again, there is a situation where the teacher is the one who doesn’t seem to “get it”.)
Buy the school’s textbooks – including teacher’s editions, if you can afford them. I’m not saying you should let your child copy all of the answers out of the teacher’s edition of the textbooks. Children who struggle in school often give up at an early age. Do you really think they forgot their math book again? They don’t want to even try because they are spending all that time doing the homework and it’s still wrong and they get an F. If they leave their math book at school, they still get an F. They’re actually learning to manage their time pretty well!! (Just kidding.)
If you have the teacher’s edition – especially in math – it not only has the answers for you to check your child’s work; it also offers examples of how to teach the concepts. Maybe the teacher explained it a different way than the book. Maybe the book way is the way your child is going to “get it”. That’s the important part. For other subjects, like spelling, grammar and reading; it helps to have extra worksheets in case your child is a “misplacer”.
**Another tip here – have workbooks for spelling and grammar spiral bound at a local printing shop. It only costs a couple of dollars and then it makes it super easy for you to make copies of those “missing” worksheets instead of having to ask the teacher for them. Also, if you have a teacher who “won’t accept late work”, then your child will never do those “missing” worksheets. This means he is not held accountable and also that he has missed that skill which he needs to learn. If you have the capability to copy them yourself, you can require the child to do the work, even if the teacher won’t take it. Also, you have all of the worksheets to review before a test.
For reading, science and history, having a book which your child owns and can highlight will help him comprehend and remember important information. It also teaches him a valuable study skill for when he is in high school and college.
One last thing: if something seems like it is wrong, trust your instincts. One thing that I never thought of was my daughter’s eyesight. The school does eye exams. I never knew that those eye exams did not really include close-up vision. Make sure both your child’s close AND far vision are tested. Sometimes children have good vision; but their eyes (like with my daughter) don’t work together. For my daughter, this meant she saw double all the time.
In sickness and in health:
If you or your child has a cold, try plain old Advil. It has a fever reducer, but also an anti-inflammatory
agent. It will bring the swelling in the sinuses down and allow for clearer breathing and no icky side effects of feeling drowsy or loopy.
While a kid is sick, put mouthwash in a small spritz bottle and spray the toothbrush with it after each use. They won’t re-infect themselves and the germs won’t jump to another’s toothbrush. I used mouthwash to clean sports mouth guards and pacifiers as well. Just use caution with pacifiers – you should rinse them before giving them to a little one.
Odds & Ends:
Have a child who’s old enough to play in the fast-food play area, but another who isn’t quite walking yet? Bring a walker into the restaurant. Your child will be able to move around without crawling on the filthy floor.
At the beach or pool: Take an inflatable pool to the beach with you. You can fill it with a tiny bit of water for your baby to splash in and if nap time comes, you can dump the water out and use it as a clean place for her to sleep.
Get sand off your bodies very quickly with baby powder. Sprinkle it on and the sand wipes away.
Make your own baby food from the food you buy for yourselves anyway. Rice Krispies can be put in a blender or food processor until a powder is formed for “rice cereal”; the same can be done with Mini Wheats for “wheat cereal” and Cheerios for “oat cereal”. You can do the same for basic foods as your child is ready. Add a little water to banana and blend. Boil carrots and apples until soft and then blend. Sweet potatoes, spinach, pears, and eventually meats, anything you make for yourself, you can blend the basic food for a baby. As the child gets older, allow more texture by not blending it so much. Store leftovers by putting them in ice cube trays until frozen and then putting in labeled Ziploc bags.
Use Johnson & Johnson “Baby Bath” as “Bubble Bath” for babies through adults. I use this for bubble baths several nights a week, myself. It is gentle enough that it won’t cause bladder/urinary tract infections and it makes pretty good bubbles!
Got bath toys? Use a hot glue gun to seal the holes in them. Otherwise, they get moldy and will
eventually get your kiddo (and maybe you) sick!
To prevent toddlers from trying to climb out of the child seat in the grocery cart, tie their shoes together. They will not be able to bring one foot up to begin climbing.
Use Crayola “window crayons” to write on practically anything. You can write messages on counters – I used to circle the crumbs that people couldn’t seem to “find”. You can write IN the sink – I used to write, “Put it in the dishwasher!” And you can write on mirrors – positive messages, reminders, etc. It all stays until washed with soap and water. Running water in the sink will not wash it away!! You can also write on windows and cars!! Hehe