Parenting is a difficult thing, and having a child definitely changes your life. That’s a pretty universal truth.
The only time parenting doesn’t change your life completely is when you are a totally self-absorbed human being who cares little for anyone, including people you are technically responsible for creating.
I only know that being a parent is difficult based on things I have been told and stories I have read on the internet. There is little chance I will ever become one, so I’m not exactly speaking from experience here. I honestly can’t imagine the specific set of circumstances that would result in my creating—or even being responsible for—another human’s life. I suppose it is theoretically possible that I could end up having to care for a kid in some sort of post-apocalyptic setting; but that also seems remarkably unlikely.
Still, there is always the possibility, so it is best to be prepared! I have a neighbor who has a small child, and you never know when I might be called upon to keep her safe for an hour or two while her parents attend to matters that are made more difficult by having an active three-year-old in their presence.
So here are thirty-five great parenting-related tips that all of you parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, babysitters, and random neighbors might want to consider.
1. How to Tell the Twins Apart
This is one way of doing it; honestly, I don’t know of a better way. Having twins would be a nightmare for me. My attention to detail is not the best.
There are a couple of sitcoms I used to watch when I was a kid that featured twins. Most sitcoms back in the day had twins portray one child, but there were a couple of them that had characters who were twins—the mom character gave birth to identical twins. I could never tell those kids apart when they were on my screen, and I don’t know how actual real-life parents of twins manage to do so when they are babies.
I think one of those sitcoms was “Full House”, and I believe there was an actual story about how the dad couldn’t tell the twin boys apart. I seem to recall ink on the feet of one of the boys. I can’t believe the reboot of that show, “Fuller House”, is about to have a season four.
Anyway, this hair thing is a pretty good solution.
2. The Kid and the BBQ
This is an interesting way of keeping your kid safe from the BBQ. I don’t know anything about his parenting style, per se, but at the least the kid as a pretty creative father.
That’s one of the things that scares me about ever having a kid. I am sort of clumsy, so I worry I would inadvertently injure it while trying to cook dinner. With my luck, it would be in a permanent way, so my daughter or son would never forgive me.
3. The Sandbox and the Pets
The trick here is that you can use a tent to keep your pet cats out of the sandbox. Cats will, given the opportunity, use a sandbox to do their business, which is both gross and bad for the child.
By the way—in case you didn’t know this—pregnant women should stay away from cat litterboxes. There is a parasite that may be transmitted to the mom that can do horrible things to an unborn child. The dad, if possible, should clean the litterbox.
4. The Igloo
One creative parent used Tupperware to make an igloo. The sons apparently loved it. Kids like snow. I used to like the snow when I was a kid, and I would have liked an igloo as a small child; then I learned to drive, and the snow became my enemy.
It is fun to playfully lob snowballs at people and go sledding, but driving in the stuff is just the worst. People who live around where I do just do not know how to drive in the snow.
Then again, I lived in Los Angeles for a bit, and that driving experience wasn’t fun either. People there, in general, can’t figure out how to drive in the rain.
5. The Stickers and the Plane
According to one parent, these window stickers kept her small child entertained for over 30 minutes while on a plane.
That’s great and all, as I once had to sit next to a little kid on a plane that just would not shut the heck up for the duration of the flight. He was constantly asking me questions about what I was doing with my laptop. Even his mom was irritated by the constant babble.
I wasn’t doing anything interesting with my laptop, either—I was playing the game “Civilization IV”, which is a game I never really got very good at unfortunately. It is also kind of difficult to explain to a kid that wasn’t older than four.
I bet the parent in this case wished the toddler would have been entertained for more than 30 minutes.
6. The Kid, the Tape, and the Cars
One clever parent suggests putting masking tape on the carpeting if your child enjoys playing with toy cars.
This is good advice, as I have never actually met a child who didn’t enjoy playing with toy cars. Isn’t that a thing that literally every small child enjoys? I think so.
In addition, they all seem to enjoy needing to use the restroom at the most inopportune moment.
7. The Felt Balls and the Muffin Pan
Apparently certain parents suggest having your child sort felt balls, or even really colorful pasta, into a muffin pan. I am not sure why.
I guess it is just a way to keep them sort of busy and teach them about the colors. To be honest, I have no idea if such a thing works. As a child, I would have been bored within a matter of seconds; I have yet to meet a child who wouldn’t be bored by such an activity, but then again I am not a parent.
8. The Crayons and the Doctor
One parent recommends bringing crayons to doctor appointments; therefore, the kids can draw pictures and stuff.
Again, I am not a parent, but I kind of thought everyone with a kid knew children like crayons and you should always have a set on your person at all times. Even mediocre, generic chain restaurants know to have crayons available for the kids that might show up.
9. The Sandbox and the Cinnamon
While some of this advice is sort of obvious, this is a tip of which I was previously unaware, but it is good to know in case I ever have to manage a child while he or she is in a sandbox.
For whatever reason, ground cinnamon will keep bugs out of a sandbox. I have not actually tested this myself, but what harm could it do? As far as I know, cinnamon is a pretty benign substance. Also, it smells pretty good.
10. The Painting of the Floor
If you are looking for a way to keep your kid distracted, find a thing they can “paint” with water; in this case, it is the floor of a fire station. They great thing is that the water quickly evaporates, so the surface will need to be repainted.
I seem to remember painting my parent’s deck with water. It got old pretty quickly, but it bought them a few minutes of peace, which I am sure they desperately needed. I was not the easiest child.
11. The Organizing of the Legos
This is one of those storage bags used to organize shoes; apparently they work for Lego blocks, as well, which makes a lot of sense and is a great idea. Whoever came up with this is a quite brilliant parent.
I used to play with Legos all of the time when I was a kid. I loved them, but it was difficult to keep the various colors and sets separate.
12. The Gloves
A quite clever parent recommends putting disposable gloves over your kids’ mittens, which means the mittens won’t get wet. Therefore, the child is able to play for a little longer before they have to come in for hot chocolate.
That was always my least favorite part of playing in the snow. In theory, the sledding and the snowballs were fun, but the mittens and socks would end up getting all wet and you just couldn’t stay outside any longer.
13. The Yogurt and the Food Coloring
I would have never thought of this one; apparently you can mix yogurt and food coloring to create paint that is safe for kids to eat. I am relatively sure that most paint marketed towards children is safe, and some kids seem to enjoy the taste for whatever reason, but I am sure yogurt-based paint tastes a lot better.
I have no idea if yogurt paint is easier to clean off of walls, though, which is important information to know.
14. The Oatmeal and the Banana
One parent pointed out that she has to put oatmeal inside the child’s banana in order to get the kid to eat that oatmeal.
I am surprised this works, honestly. Way back when, I used to hide my old dog’s medicine inside of peanut butter, and he always managed to figure out what I was trying to do. The peanut butter would be gone, but the pill was on the floor.
15. The Vacuum and the Mad Child
This might be the smartest tip on the list. When a child is actually mad at you, he or she will do almost anything to tick you off a bit. That apparently includes housework, which is a bit of a surprise.
I actually hate the sound of a vacuum, and so does my dog—he freaks out whenever he hears it and barks his little head off until the cleaning stops.
16. The Multiplication Tables and the Stairs
Whoever designed this is a pretty brilliant and creative teacher. Even though the most basic phones these days have a calculator app, kids do need to learn how to do that stuff in their head.
The kids are learning how to multiply and don’t even realize it.
This is a fun way of addressing a rather boring subject matter. I remember learning my multiplication tables quite well, in fact, and it was an awful experience.
17. The Baby Pool and the Shower
If your place doesn’t have a bathtub, you might need to get a bit creative when it comes to your kids washing themselves. A little kid’s pool might be the solution to that problem.
I think it is important to have a proper bathtub, though, if possible; I once contracted MRSA after a surgery, and the doctor’s recommendation was that I bathe in diluted bleach for a half-hour at a time. That would not have been possible if I didn’t have a tub. If you have the option, make sure your home has a bathtub. In certain cases, a shower might not suffice.
18. The Car Seat and the Information
It is a good idea to attach information to the car seat of your child. In the unfortunate event that you are in an accident, you don’t really know what will happen to you. The child could end up perfectly fine, but you could be unconscious. The medics might not know what to do with your kids.
The information could definitely save the child’s life!
19. The Shower Caps and the Stroller Wheels
This is a pretty decent way of keeping your home or business clean, I suppose.
It also looks kind of cool. I just hope it is safe for the child.
It seems sort of unnecessary in my mind, honestly; if you have a little kid, don’t you just expect your home to be sort of filthy? Small children are definitely not the neatest creatures in the world.
20. The Creative Father
I honestly don’t know how safe this is for the baby; I’m not exactly an expert in regard to that matter. The kid certainly looks secure, and the kid also looks pretty happy, so I am guessing everything turned out perfectly fine. Kids are definitely kind of squirmy, though. I hope the dad didn’t take his eyes off of the child for very long.
I really like the kitchen. Everything is in place, and the tile on the wall is quite nice.
21. The Baby and the Washing Machine
One parent suggests putting your baby in front of a washing machine; it will entertain him or her. I can only assume a dryer, depending on the model, will work equally as well.
I have no idea why. I assume it has something to do with why babies are comforted by car rides and the sound of a vacuum. It must remind them of the womb or something.
22. The Parent and the Headphones
I can’t really fault this parent. I would probably do similarly if I had a child. I am relatively sure my parents pretended not to hear me one in a while, and I can’t blame them for that. I was a whiny creature who thought every little thing that popped into my head was worthy of their attention. Most of them were not; I appreciate the fact they humored me, however.
Once in a while, parents need time to themselves. I am assuming “Red Hairing” is, in most cases, a very good parent to her daughters.
23. The Apples That Look Like the French Fries
This is a tip from someone who has a toddler who does not like apples.
I find it hard to believe that any child under the age of three doesn’t like apples, but apparently some do—just cut up apples to look like French Fries. Pretend that you made fries out of apples.
That’s a pretty clever, albeit deceptive, strategy.
24. The Dad That Is Trying To Eat
I don’t know how great a tip this one is, really. In my travels, I have seen many parents have to figure out a way to eat at a restaurant while their fussy, tired kid wants to curl up on their shoulder.
The napkin serving as a blanket is kind of amusing, though. I think that is pretty clever.
The food looks pretty delicious.
25. The Pool Bumpers and the Walker
If your kid has one of those walker things, you can use a few of those pool bumper things to protect your walls—and possibly your pets.
I am not sure how safe this is, honestly. I actually read somewhere that walkers aren’t actually good for babies, especially if your house has stairs. Most babies will eventually learn to walk on their own and don’t need the extra help. They also don’t look very comfortable.
26. The Plastic Toys and the Dishwasher
I really like this idea; as adorable as small children may be at times, their toys are just nasty. Apparently, they can be cleaned in a dishwasher if everything is arranged properly.
As mentioned above, I don’t have a small child, but I live near one. She has offered me her toys to play with, and I am reluctant to touch them because she goes to a nursery school with several children who are apparently just tiny germ factories. Last winter, the kid was eating snow with a spoon and wanted me to eat snow with her. To the mom’s credit, I was warned that the child was recovering from a cold, but did the mom really think I would actually put the spoon in my mouth? How dumb did she think I was? I let that child play with my Nintendo Switch once—I was sick for a week! At least she didn’t break it.
27. The Frozen Sponge and the Lunch
You can apparently stick a frozen sponge inside a lunch box to keep your kid’s lunch cold, which is good to know if you have a school-aged child or four. You might need to invest more money than you would like in sponges, as children often lose things.
It seems like a bit much, honestly; my mom would lovingly prepare school lunches for me, but she never did anything like that, and I managed to grow into adulthood.
28. The Bathtub as the Playpen During the Shower
If you are one of those fancy people who have the sort of bathrooms where there is a bathtub and a shower, you might consider keeping your kid in the tub while you shower. Obviously, the tub should not be filled with water, and you should probably be quick about your showering. An empty tub seems like an okay way to briefly restrain your small child, but I can also see many ways in which a child could injure himself or herself. Bathrooms can be very dangerous places.
29. The Suitcase For Sleep
For whatever reason, parents are looking for non-traditional ways to store their small children; apparently you can keep them in suitcases. The suitcases, obviously, should not be closed, and you should never attempt to board an airplane with a child in your luggage. I think the authorities would notice that, and it probably is not very good for the kid.
30. The Spy Window
It isn’t a bad idea; if you live in a place with more than one floor, you can’t lug your kid or kids up and down the stairs fifty times a day. I suppose you can when they are very small, but after about the age of two it isn’t a very practical idea. They start to get really heavy after a while.
31. The Sippy Cup and the Car Seat
The advice here is to attach your kid’s sippy cup to his or her car seat so that you’re not constantly being forced to pick it up.
It is a wise idea. I swear kids toss those things on the ground just to get attention. They think it is hilarious when you’re forced to bend over and retrieve their objects for them.
32. The Shopping Cart and the Sippy Cup
As mentioned above, sippy cups are a huge problem when it comes to toddlers. Kids will just toss those things on the ground as some sort of primitive prank. They think they are being very clever, but they are not. They’ll continue to do so, however, as long as sippy cups exist.
Fortunately, many shopping carts have restraints, and you can use them to restrain both your child and the sippy cup.
33. The Out of Order Sign and the Toy
One parent recommends carrying around an “out of order” sign; that way, you won’t have to deal with the obnoxious whines of your small children when they want to ride those silly and surprisingly expensive rides one might find outside of a store.
It is an idea, but I don’t know how practical it is. Typically, the sort of kids who ride said rides aren’t particularly literate, so telling them to read the sign is sort of pointless. Also, where are you supposed to keep this piece of paper? Are you just supposed to walk around with it in your wallet or purse?
I wouldn’t do it. I have enough trouble remembering to bring my phone and wallet with me when I go to the store. If I had a baby, I would probably forget to bring it with me when I went to the store. Even worse, I would probably leave the baby at the store at least once—unintentionally, of course. Honestly, I might do so intentionally once if it was being particularly obnoxious. It is hard to imagine a kid could wind up with a worse parent.
34. The Improvised High Chair
This doesn’t look very good for the baby. I would not be happy if I was this baby.
If you are going to have a baby, you have to accept you are going to need to make adjustments to your life. For example, I know of several wonderful establishments that are great for single people and childless folk; they don’t have high chairs available, though. It just is not practical for them.
If I had a small child and didn’t hire a babysitter, I would not go to them—and if I did I would expect to properly hold my child throughout the duration of the meal.