The amount of times I’ve come across parenting hack lists rivals the amount of toilet paper our household goes through. Granted, some of ours gets used to wrap around the toilet or to pad the floor, but that’s not the point. A lot is a lot. I fully realize that some of them aren’t meant to be taken seriously but the problem is, not everyone realizes this. Even the stuff that seems brilliant (I’ll admit to being in awe of a few things on this list when pregnant with my first), really is an accident waiting to happen. Or a complete waste of time.
So without further ado, here’s 8 hacks to just say “no” to …
1. Bringing screens to restaurants to keep your kids well-behaved.
We have to teach them how to behave, just like our parents did — or suffer the consequences. No more raising droned-out kids who can’t socialize with family or friends or know how to conduct themselves in public. Not to mention that constantly giving our kids screens to monitor their behavior teaches them that they don’t have to self-regulate, that all of their joy and happiness comes from technology rather than from human interaction. It’s a slippery slope.
There’s no judgement though, because I get it. We used to be those parents and I’ll still hand over an iPhone for a few minutes now and then. But right now I’m just on a really intense wave of awareness regarding society’s obsession with technology, social media, stupid viral videos, sensationalism, etc. and how we’re passing this on to our kids.
Looking for a great alternative? Try a Boogie Board writing tablet. Or better yet, crayons and coloring books. So retro!
2. Signing up for all the online shopping newsletters.
Yes, there’s free shipping and OMG amaze-ball deals, etc. But you will be bombarded with daily emails and end up shopping way too much … or at the very least be tempted way more than it actually feels good to be.
3. Inflatable pools are not playpens, and laundry baskets are not bathtubs.
Just stop it you guys. C’mon.
4. Babymop suits.
This is an actual product. And while you can say it’s cute, in actuality it’s gross. Babies put enough random stuff in their mouth without giving them more options to digest.
5. Putting sprinkles or ketchup on everything just so they’ll eat.
I’d rather mine starve! No but seriously … things are out of hand if this is how you get your kids to eat. It’s totally normal that your kids refuse to eat, especially when they’re picky toddlers. But spoiling our kids with ridiculous acrobatics just to keep them happy/make them eat is an extreme we don’t need to go to. They won’t in fact starve, I’ve learned. They will eventual eat, sprinkle-free.
6. Rewarding good behavior with treats.
Recipe for disaster. All you’ll end up with is a self-entitled, whiny little kid (and we all know toddlers in specific whine enough) who won’t do anything out of a desire to be helpful or be a nice person. They’ll be doing it for a reward. Top that with unnecessary sugar intake and you’ll eventually find yourself wondering how, at this point, you can turn them into self-regulating (rather than self-indulgent), self-sufficient, contributing members of your family.
7. Cardboard box stair-slides.
Wheeeee!!!! BONK! Wasn’t that fun? Sure, sometimes they won’t get hurt — but often enough they will. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time stopping my kids from climbing up and then leaping down from the table, jumping off the bunk beds, slamming each other’s fingers in doors, etc. I don’t need to create a situation that encourages getting hurt. Yes, I am that mom who makes my kids wear helmets when tobogganing, too. Especially if there are a lot of trees around. Not that there are trees in your house, but STAIRS. SLIDE. NO.
8. Using a vacuum to do your daughter’s hair.
I realize this is supposed to be adorable, because it all started with a video that went viral of a dad putting his little girl’s hair up in a ponytail this way … BUT. First, kind of gross, no? Given what that tube is used to suck up … unless you are cleaning it first and even then. Secondly, I think it’s just an open invitation for epic static hair. Thirdly, dads need to stop being portrayed (or portraying themselves), as bumbling fools who can’t figure out how to manipulate their daughter’s hair and a brush. Women don’t have special, more gentle hands and fingers. Men can do this too.
Image courtesy of Selena Mills