Raising kids is scary, stressful and exhausting, and anyone who tells you otherwise has never tried to do it. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and totally fatigued by parenthood; in fact, there’s even a condition called DMS: Depleted Mother Syndrome. DMS occurs when moms get so run-down after having kids that they become susceptible to illness, they experience physical pain, constant fatigue, loss of nutrients, depression and more.
At times you may wonder if you can handle everything that comes with being a parent. Spoiler alert: you totally can. And luckily, there are tons of tricks and shortcuts to help you make it through the day in one piece, and maybe even feeling confident about your parenting skills. You know that mom who seems like she has all her baggage in order? Sure, she might be a super-mom, or maybe she just takes advantage of all the parenting hacks out there to make life a little easier.
Let’s start with reverse psychology, because most parents have tried this once or twice, and if you haven’t, you’re missing out. Reverse psychology is when you “say something or respond to something in a way that is opposite to what you really think in order to get the opposite response from the other person.” Confused? When it comes to your kids, it basically means you tell them to do something that is the complete opposite of what you actually hope they’ll do. For example, if you say “do not eat your greens, I only want you to eat your chips” but really you want your kids to eat all of their greens. Or if you say “there is no way you can put on your pajamas by the time I count to 10” in hopes that they’ll work really fast just to prove you wrong. It works. Every time!
When it comes to your kids’ behavior, or more often their misbehavior, here’s a little tip: praise the good and ignore the bad. If your child does something amazing, whether it is something you asked them to do or something they decided on their own, reward them with praise and show your appreciation. When they do something wrong, if it is minor, just ignore it. According to psychologists, giving them attention, even if it is negative attention, is just what they want. Simply ignore their actions and move on. Eventually they will take the hint and stop, and you won’t even have to raise your voice.
If your kids have a hard time completing tasks on time (think brushing their teeth, getting dressed) then bring a timer with you, or use the timer on your phone. Give them a 10 minute warning, a 5 minute warning, a 1 minute warning…and then when it’s time to get to business, put the timer on so they know exactly how long they have to get their job done. Kids work much more efficiently when it feels like a race and they want to win.
Do you struggle getting your baby to cooperate and sit still during bath time? Grab that empty laundry bin, stick it in the tub, fill it with toys and then plop in your baby for a perfect bath-friendly playpen. If you still need an activity to keep the kids busy while you scrub, invest in a set of waterproof (and washable) crayons so they can draw all over the tub.
Want your kids to eat their veggies and drink their milk…without complaining!? It’s a crazy concept, but it can be done. All you need to do is sprinkle the food in question with some colorful sprinkles and VOILA! Your kids will be pretty excited to eat anything covered in rainbow sprinkles.
You know those pool noodles that sit in your closet when you’re not swimming with them? They can actually come in handy in several ways for baby-proofing your house or sleep training your toddler. You can wrap these noodles around everything from trampoline wires, to cement poles to wall corners. And if your child has a tendency to fall out of the bed, you can skip the bed-rail and instead slip a pool noodle under their fitted sheet, so that they cannot roll off the bed onto the floor.
Not forgetting the best parenting hack of all time: bribery. We know you shouldn’t need to bribe your kids to get them to do what you want, but most parents have tried it and it works! We’re not suggesting you bribe your kids with candy and presents all day, every day, but a little coercing can go a long way. Think about what they want and need in their daily life (like, say, the Wi-Fi password, the TV remote control) and promise to deliver those items only when they finish their chores. They will get right to work if you have something they want and need.