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The Best Parenting Tips You Never Knew You Needed

The Best Parenting Tips You Never Knew You Needed

There are parenting tips and then there are the best parenting tips. There are tips about how to get your kid to sleep through the night, sleep on their own, eat vegetables, behave in the grocery store, etc. Some work for some parents and some kids and don’t work for others. Even tips about how to get a meal on the table in 30 minutes or make the most of your commute depend on the people and personalities involved.

But then there are the indisputable parenting tips that can work for anyone who uses them. This is my list of those universal truths that may help anyone with young children survive the ups and downs of daily life.

Best Universal Parenting Tips You Never Knew You Needed

  1. Keep a small supply of diapers in the car. Sure they’ll help you out in the case of an unexpected blow out, but more important, a spare clean diaper is the best way to clean up major spills in a pinch. Twice I have used one to clean up an up-ended cup of coffee in my car. For the record, a size 4 Pampers Cruiser will absorb an entire large cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
  2. Keep raincoats and rain boots in the car during the summer. You’ll have them on hand if the weather turns stormy, but even better, you can line the car seat with a rain coat and still transport kids, wet bathing suits on, without soaking the car seat.
  3. Wipes. Wipes. And more wipes. Go nowhere without a decent supply. Clean spit up off your shoulder, erase magic marker from tiny hands, get scuffs off your shoes. I still discover new uses every day.
  4. A nearly magical diaper rash cure. Mix diaper cream, hydrocortisone, and bacitracin. Apply and cover with powder. (Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, but it’s worked for me and everyone I know.)
  5. The washing machine is your friend. Don’t be afraid to run toddler sneakers through a normal wash and dry cycle. Same goes for lunch bags (but zipper them closed before throwing them in the dryer). This is not advisable for shoes with sparkles, lights or other very special adornments. Disposable diapers, however, are the washing machine’s enemy. Even a clean unused one will wreck havoc on your Whirlpool.
  6. Baby powder magically removes sand from stuff. Pour a bunch in the leg of an old pair of tights, tie it up, and keep it in a plastic baggie. Bang it on sandy body parts as needed for easy removal.
  7. Recycle disposable plastic cup lids and enjoy a mess-free frozen treat at the same time. Slide the stick from a new opened popsicle, ice cream bar or fruit pop through the straw hole of the lid and let the plastic cap collect drips, dribbles and melty bits.
  8. Do a clean sweep of your car in the summer. Crayons melted in the door handles are nearly impossible to clean up.
  9. Ditch the pockets. As soon as you learn you’re expecting a little addition to the family, immediately stop investing in clothes without pockets. Acorns, candy wrappers, small toys, random socks, tissues, beads, jewels, bits of string, bird feathers, seashells, rocks, and other untold treasures need a home, and your kids’ pockets won’t be big enough until they’re wearing a size 8, at least.
  10. Goldfish crackers make a perfectly acceptable accompaniment to wine in a pinch. No explanation needed.

Do you have any universal best parenting tips to add?


Working mom and son at daycare


One comment

  1. Ruth September 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Use a Zone Defense. When my twin boys were babies I was sometimes exhausted by the time my husband got home from work. We setup a zone defense. I sat on the sofa and if the boys were in my zone (on my lap) they were my responsibility. If they were anywhere else in the house my husband was in charge. This was a quick cure for my exhaustion.

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