My Favorite Parenting Tips Picked Up From Other Parents
I’m a big proponent of the “it takes a village to raise a child” mindset. My parents raised my brothers and me using their village and while I don’t have the same type of village, I definitely have my own version of one. I have mom friends from my oldest son’s preschool, mom friends from elementary school, friends who are now moms and lots of cousins who are now moms. I have a lot of people to tap into for parenting tips and believe me, I use them!
I love my kids and had many ideas of the type of parent I’d be, until I had kids. Ironically, I’m a far more laid back mom that I thought I’d be. I had all of these plans about how I’d parent my kids, but it turns out, different kids need different types of parenting.
My boys are polar opposites and what works for one kid doesn’t necessarily work for the other kid so I’m always asking other moms what works for them to get ideas for my family. I have to say, pretty much every parenting tip I’ve picked up from friends has been a slam dunk in our family.
Favorite Parenting Tips
If you’re a new parent, don’t have a village yet or are just seeking out new parenting tips, here are my favorite parenting tips I’ve gotten from other parents that have worked in our home.
No child has ever gone to college in diapers.
I’ll be honest, this parenting tip came from my pediatrician when my oldest son was struggling with potty training. Both of my boys were incredibly difficult to potty train – like really bad.
I don’t really have any slam dunk potty training tips since they both took forever and I tried many different tactics, but the one thing that got me through was knowing that eventually, potty training would happen. A child will get it when they get it and barring medical issues, every child eventually does.
Reward systems work.
This parenting tip should have been stolen from preschool teachers since they all use it, but for some crazy reason, I was really resistant to reward charts. Last year I was complaining to a mom friend about how hard it was to get my son to do his homework and she told me that she gives her daughter a sticker for every day homework is stress free and at the end of the week, her daughter gets $.50 per day for each sticker.
We implemented a reward chart this year for homework (along with a “getting ready in the morning” reward) and it has transformed homework time in our home. Two weeks ago, my son forgot to write down his homework twice in one week and was indifferent about it until the end of the week when he realized he lost money for not doing his homework twice during the week. So far, no forgotten assignments since.
I’m not big on giving an allowance to my kids or paying my kids for chores, so this is a great way for them to earn money so that they can learn to manage their money.
Fit In Reading Time When You Can.
I love, love, love reading. It is my favorite pastime. Unfortunately, my oldest son doesn’t love reading. He used to like for me to read to him, but now that he has to practice reading, he tries to avoid it at every turn. Part of the problem is that he is a bit of a perfectionist and reading doesn’t come easy to him. The other issue is that reading is competing with more interesting (to him) things like playing with Legos or watching videos on YouTube.
I shared my reading frustration with another mom in our class because we have to log their reading and it was becoming a battle. The last thing I want is to make reading feel like a punishment, but I know that the only way he can improve his reading is by reading. She shared a life-changing parenting tip with me. She has her son read to her on the drive to and from school. That way, he always gets in his 20 minutes of reading time but it doesn’t feel like a punishment since he isn’t missing play time to read.
This has been a game changer our house. My son is very physical so sitting down to read for 20 minutes is another reason he resisted. He now happily reads on the drive to and from school and doesn’t feel like he has to sit still even longer. His reading went up three levels once we started doing this.
Quite frankly, as a parent, I was hating making him read for 20 minutes when he already spends 5 hours sitting still in school, thirty minutes to an hour on homework every night and then an additional 20 minutes of reading. On nights when he had an extracurricular activity or aftercare, it felt like he really had almost no unstructured play time. Now, at least we save 20 minutes a night in addition to the arguments!
Sleep Is Critical And Sometimes Our Kids Need Help Sleeping
Sleep is my youngest son’s nemesis. This has been a really big parenting challenge for me since I know how important sleep is and I never struggled with sleep issues with my oldest son. In fact, my oldest was sleeping through the night at eight weeks so I stupidly thought I was an amazing parent.
Then my youngest came along and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old and really, was a pretty bad sleeper even then. He would get up at 6 a.m. and many nights be in and out of my room until 10:30, 11, or even midnight! I’m not going to lie, it was a very unhappy time in my house. I need a lot of sleep and wasn’t getting it and he wasn’t getting the rest he needed.
A mom friend told me that she gave her child melatonin here and there for sleep. It sounded like a good idea since it is natural but I still checked with my pediatrician. She confirmed that it can help regulate sleep and so long as you don’t do it for an extended period, it could help my son. I was still a little nervous so I did a little online homework and decided to give it a try.
I found a 3 mg Melatonin (*affiliate link) supplement and decided to just give him one gummy after dinner. It.Was.Magic. For the first time in his entire life, my son went to sleep at a normal time and slept a reasonable amount. We did it again for two more nights and then opted to stop to see what would happen. He still went to bed at a reasonable time. It was like his body finally figured things out. The best part is that his behavior has changed completely. He was/is less cranky and is better at managing his emotions now.
We now only use Melatonin when he is struggling with sleep, so maybe every month or so. I really wish I had listened to this parenting tip earlier because my son is so much better rested now (as am I) and he is much happier. We even used it with my oldest son when it was time to go back to school. He had gotten in the habit of staying up until 11 p.m., so we used it for the two nights leading up to back to school to help him reset himself.
I’m so glad I have made so many mom friends because I have learned some great parenting tips from them. Every child is different and every parent has to find a way to work with their children so if you find someone who has a similar child, I highly recommend trading parenting tips.
Do you have any magic parenting tricks up your sleeve?
Bonus – Here are a few of my tried and true parenting tips in case you’re struggling with these issues. I have the benefit of having a four year age difference between my kids so I have learned a thing or two.
- Picky eaters won’t always be picky eaters, I promise. Apparently, I was a really picky eater. According to my aunts and parents, I sometimes went an entire day without eating. Guess what? I eat everything now. My oldest was a picky eater who only ate a handful of things. Around 5 years old, he turns a corner and now his favorite cheese is blue cheese and his favorite vegetables are mushrooms and asparagus. I’m currently waiting for my youngest to turn a corner, but I have far less stress over it this time around.
- If your kid is outgrowing naps but still taking naps, which causes them to stay up late, cut out the naps. They’ll be cranky in the early evening for a while but they’ll start going to bed at a normal time. If they are in daycare, you may be stuck (I am), but you can at minimum cut out naps on weekends.
- What worked for one kid might not work for the other kid. This took me way too long to realize. My kids are very different and require very different parenting methods.
*affiliate link – This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.