Parenting hacks

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  • If your kid carries around a stuffed dog and is prone to losing it, make a dog tag at the pet store for it with a phone number on it and attach it around the stuffed dog's neck with a hair tie or other improvised collar. --Edward Vielmetti
    • Most large pet stores have machines that will engrave custom metal collar-tags in a variety of colors and shapes. --Rowlock 04:33, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • If your child's favourite stuffed animal is easy to find in shops, you can also buy several of them, and keep the duplicates hidden so that you can produce the "lost" toy from your duplicate store if need be. You will need to rotate them periodically though, so that they wear equally. Thayvian 21:19, 17 Oct 2005 (EDT)
      • Just a thought: that may not be the best way to teach your kid about the world - every time something is lost, it doesn't just magically turn up. Don't underestimate your kid. They will occasionally surprise you by handling loss (and other things!) very well. Duplicating all the favorite toy purchases can get expensive. Teaching them a valuable life lesson (such as responsibility for one's toys, and how to deal with loss) is free. --steph
  • Encourage your young child to ask questions, but make a rule: "No one-word questions." The child will learn more, and you'll stay saner, if she can't just ask "why?" to everything you say. Be flexible about this rule; "where?" can be an acceptable question, and "why not?" can be considered a one-word question, even if it has two. --TomSackett 15:06, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Kids and power tools: The plugs on power tools in the US have a small hole on each prong. To prevent children from plugging these in, put a small luggage lock through the hole and put the keys somewhere they won't find them. --y0mbo
  • Tired of your kids always asking for money? Put a list on the fridge of odd jobs and the pay for each and tell them to check the list if they need some cash. "I need ten bucks for the movies." "Great! The tub needs re-grouting." --J.T. Boofle 23:45, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • The easiest way to sort little piles of underwear is by brand. Pick a different brand to buy for each kid, and avoid complaints about laundry confusion. --Ookpik 18:51, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Sometimes it's easier to leave the kids in the car when all a parent has to do is walk a few feet to return a DVD through the drop-off slot, throw letters in a postal mailbox, or drop library books off, for example. As part of a national news story about a carjacker who drove off with a baby still in the car, I heard a safety tip that I have never forgotten and still practice even though my kids are 12 and 8. When exiting the vehicle for such drop-off type errands, always turn off the car and take the keys with you. If approached by a carjacker, throw the keys as far as you can away from the car to buy yourself time to remove your children. Caffeinated
  • Something that helped me a lot growing up was that my father told me. He said "You cannot do ________." I could fill in the blank with anything I liked, as long as I told him so he could cover for me. That allowed me to tell the truth, but still get out of some nasty peer pressure situations as a teenager -- including some my father probably never dreamed of the first time he told me that. It felt like a real expression of trust -- he trusted me to know what the right thing to do was -- but I didn't have to stand up against the crowd by myself. --Carikate 13:35, Aug 25 2005 (CDT)
  • Contact a local awning supply or commercial tent company for materials to babyproof a banister. They can be up to 3 times cheaper than commercial babyproofing options. Details on how to do this can be found here.

[edit] Diapering Hacks

  • If at all possible hang a mobile or a colorful toy just out of reach over the changing table. The baby will want to reach for it, and thus stay in the correct position for diapering, while also occupying his attention with something other than the diapering and the squirming. For maximum benefit, swap out the mobile/toy once in a while, and move it up as baby's arms get longer. (Those plastic/toy chain links are great for hanging toys like this.)
  • When changing a diaper on a squirmy kid, keep the bottom of the onesie out of your way by pulling the bottom up to one of their shoulders and snapping one snap. Also handy if you're toilet training.--Otterbyte 14:30, 6 May 2005 (EDT)
  • When changing the diaper of a young boy, keep a pile of paper cups around. Cover up his "naughty bit" to save yourself being the victim of "target practice." --J.T. Boofle 17:00, 6 May 2005 (EDT)
    • "Naughty bit"? what is so naughty about it? I hope that a young boy doesn't hear his penis referred to as a naughty bit. That can really cause confusion in a toddler.
  • With what free hand? (Especially with a squirmy baby!) Just learn to be fast enough with the diaper or baby wipes. If you need to lift his behind to clean him, put the fresh diaper over his "naughty bit;" it has the added benefit of being able to absorb at least some of the fluid - unlike the paper cup which would just let it run right back on him! (It helps to give him a toy for his hands to avoid him pulling off the diaper.) Get peed on a few times and you'll learn to be fast. Kat2 01:23, 25 Jun 2005 (EDT)
  • Boys aren't the only ones who can make fountains. The arc may not be as dramatic but you'll still need to change your shirt if you're not watchful and quick. Do as much as you can to prep everything before you get the child to the changing surface. Slide the new diaper under the child's bottom before you unfasten the old one. Drape a baby wipe over any solid waste to serve as a barrier to spreading the mess. Once the worst of the mess has been cleaned, you can quickly slide the soiled diaper out of the way and the fresh one is there and ready for business. --MysticSpiral 22:14, 27 January 2006 (EST)
  • Use a carabiner to attach your child's coat (winter, raingear, what have you) to your belt loop in public restrooms while performing a change. Put the carabiner through the loop for hanging the coat up (or the collar tag) and then attach to your belt. This is also useful for diaper wallets and pouches, like the Diaper Valet, that include a loop or tag that you can attach things to .

[edit] Pre-schooler Hacks

At about 3 years old, kids start wanting a lot of control over their environment and activities. Below are some hacks you can use to give them some control and independence (and education) while also getting your way. --steph

  • Offer choices. When picking something to eat or something to wear, ask, "would you like to wear the blue dress or the pink one?" or at dinner, "macaroni or rice?" They're much less likely to protest if they were included in the decision. Be careful to only offer choices that are available and acceptable.
    • This works GREAT with things kids hate to do, speaking from personal experience. "Do you want to put your jammies on during the commercial break or after the show?"
    • This works beautifully for preparing your kids to transition from one activity to the next (leaving the park, stopping playing and putting away toys, etc.). "Do you want to do --- now or in five minutes?" Cuts way down on transition-related meltdowns.
  • Let your kid help you cook. There are lots of things even a 3-yr-old can do: adding salt or spices, mashing potatoes, stirring, even basting meat on a grill (which my daughter particularly loves). Look for simple tasks your child can try, and give them a job. They will enjoy being included, and are (this is important) much more likely to eat their dinner. And they will learn how to cook!
  • Keep them on task. To keep kids from making too much of a mess with arts and crafts, give them a specific project. If you give a 3-yr-old a pair of scissors and paper, you'll get a bunch of little bits in a hurry, but if you give her a pair of scissors and the latest zoo newsletter and tell her to cut out pictures of the animals, she'll likely stay on task, with less supervision, and much less mess.
  • Use the library. Kids are so quick to change their mind about favorite books and movies that it is hardly worth it to buy all the ones your kid wants to read/watch. At the library, you can borrow a movie and watch it 3 or 4 times and return it with no money out of pocket. Also, kids love going to the library - it's an adventure. (The only problem I can see is that sometimes library movies are damaged or worn out.)
  • Chores. Kids need to learn to help with housework, but at this age they get overwhelmed with big tasks such as "clean your room." Start by giving them smaller, more specific tasks, like "pick up all your bears and put them in the toy basket." Check in frequently to make sure they don't get distracted and start playing. Once they've completed the first task, praise them, and then move to the next task. Don't expect cooperation for longer than thirty or forty minutes (and you may have to work up to that!), and follow up with something fun - a treat, a movie, or some play time. Important: don't give up and do it for them. If you can keep this up, you will have some help around the house, and you will build your child's self-confidence and concept of personal responsibility.
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