We’ve all heard the same tips when we were expecting: sleep while the baby’s asleep, limit children’s TV viewing, read books to them, etc. Here are some helpful pieces of advice that I’ve picked up from friends that you may not have heard yet:
1. If you’re thinking about traveling after giving birth, the best time to do it is when they’re 4 or 5 months old while they’re still happy in their baby carriers. Most people think to wait until they’re 1 but by then babies want to wiggle out of your arms and explore on their own. They will also break your back if you plan on putting them in your Ergo Baby/Baby Bjorn while walking around all day. Your only option would be to use the stroller. Riding public transportation with even the slickest Mclaren isn’t fun at all. Trust me.
2. Talk to your kids like you’re talking to adults. Instead of being afraid of using “grown up” words (PG and below of course) that your children won’t understand, try defining them within the sentence (e.g. “He is modest – you never hear him bragging or boasting”). Kids usually figure out the meaning of new words from the context in which we use them.
3. When giving your kids instructions, bend down to their level and look them in the eye. Bending down to their level and keeping eye contact makes it less intimidating for them and much more personal. Also, they tend to focus more on what you say and really listen to it.
4. When giving your child a bath, do the shampooing last because it will lessen the chance of your child rubbing soap into his/her eyes.
5. When water gets in your child’s ears (after swimming or a bath), dont use cotton buds to remove the water because it can push the earwax deeper into the ear canal. Use a sheet of facial tissue with twirled ends instead to absorb the liquid inside.
6. While my baby drinks her milk, she loves that I stroke her hair or head gently many times. This helps her fall asleep faster.
7. This advice has been handed down from my grandma, which my mom passed on to me. When my baby was a month old, she came down with a cold causing her to have a hard time breathing and sleeping and she was becoming really fussy. My mom told me to apply a thin layer of Vick’s on both her feet and put socks over it and surprisingly – she slept straight and her breathing improved! Now everytime our baby comes down with a cold, I would do this. Even my husband and I and everyone in our household does it too!
8. Be kind to yourself. I heard this from someone, and it rings true in this mommy life. Forgive thyself. It’s ok to make mistakes, to allow ourselves room for mistakes. We can admit that we are not perfect. This took the pressure and undue stress off me.
9. Invest in quality time with the Lord. Not only for our sanity but also so we won’t get to the point of having an empty emotional tank. To give love, we need to connect to the Source of love. The same goes for patience, grace and strength of heart.
10. Have weekly date nights with the hubby. Make sure to always nurture that relationship because it also serves as an example to kids. And also in general, spend time with friends. It’s good to have conversations with adults regularly because most of the time you converse with kids.
From my friend Em:
11. It is easier to clean a toddler’s (for those who do not know how to blow their noses yet) nose if you first use a nose contraption (like Nosefrida), before cleaning with a cotton bud, (better outward pull than pushing inwards).
From my friend Sarah:
12. Don’t give iPads to kids immediately. Allow them to be bored. Boredom forces them to play creatively.
13. Kids and even babies are stronger and smarter than we give them credit for. Allow them to explore freely, fall down and recover on their own.
14. Read books to kids. It improves their vocabulary and stimulates their imagination. Try to make their favorite books come alive by re-enacting scenes, painting the characters, etc.
15. Invest in costumes and props. We love to play pretend games. We have costumes that range from princesses to astronauts and firefighters, to lobsters and dragons.
16. Correct attitude problems immediately. We don’t allow them to whine, sulk, or even be shy. We tell them complaining is not allowed and they have to smile and ask nicely before giving them what they want. We don’t give them toys to stop their crying. They have to stop crying first and ask nicely then we give the toy. Of course we also have to watch our own attitudes around them and each other to model the right behavior.
17. Teach them how to keep their bodies healthy because “God made our bodies and we have to take good care of it.” Teach them the difference between healthy and unhealthy food. We dont allow them to be picky with food too.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks you’ve learned through the years. Sometimes word-of-mouth parenting advice from parents is better than all the parenting books you can read! Please share below!