Everyday Situations Where Little Hacks Can Help

Being a parent is hard work. It’s something everyone knows, but people sometimes find it difficult to acknowledge! As much as you love your kids, and treasure experiencing every moment of them growing up, they can also drive you up the wall. Many of the most common problems that new (and old) parents have are so well-known they’ve almost become clichés. The tired parent who’s not getting any sleep, the children refusing to eat their green veg, running away before a trip to the dentist, asking ‘why’ to every statement… the list goes on! Yet these clichés exist because they describe something very real - the wonderful, demanding, crazy reality of raising a child.





You may encounter these problems every day, and sometimes more than one, and it can be hard to know how to counter them. They are the kind of situations where little life hacks, little ways of making everything a bit easier, can go a very long way. These hacks certainly can’t solve everything, and they’ll work better for some than others, but they’re worth giving a try - you never know, it could change your life! 

Bedtime

Ah, bedtime. That magical hour, when the house is quiet and dark, all your kids are safely tucked up, and you can finally get a bit of time to yourself for rest and relaxation… or maybe not. Some young children have notorious difficulties getting to sleep (and staying asleep), leading you to feel stressed, irritated, and unsure what to do about it. This can have massive effects on every other area of your life, as your tiredness keeps you from operating at maximum capacity! But how to solve this problem? It’s a tricky one; kids are kids, and any parent will know that once they get that night-time second wind of energy, there’s almost nothing you can do. But can you stop them from getting it in the first place? Don’t resort to herbal medicines like Melatonin quite yet (though you can get options that are perfect for children) - instead, try good old fashioned exercise! Introducing a game that involves lots of running around and activity immediately after dinner is a great way to tire your children out naturally and increase the probability they’ll fall straight asleep when the time comes. What about daily catch, or tag - or you can invent a game to suit your own household! 

The Hair Problem

How many of you have experienced the groans and tears of your child as you accidentally snag at a knot whilst brushing their hair? And how many of your kids now treat this necessity as a cruel form of torture? Hair brushing should be a beautiful, bonding experience, and yet for so many, it turns into one of stress and even screams. Luckily, there are some great little hacks that can help. Learning how to painlessly detangle hair is one of the most important tasks for any parent to master, yet it can be made easier with a few careful considerations. Always brush after hair has been conditioned for example, as this helps to loosen tangles and makes everything much smoother. You can always use hair detangling sprays for particularly tough strands - and, a must game-changer, always give your child an activity to occupy themselves with during the process, whether it’s doing a puzzle, reading a book, or playing a video game. This will stop them from fixating on every little pull, and help you get the job done painlessly! 

Eating Greens

This is the big one, the one that all parents struggle with. How to get your children to eat healthily when they act as if eating green foods might poison them? It’s an age-old question that has stumped parents for years… but luckily, a simple psychological trick could be here to help. Simply telling your child that a foodstuff is ‘good for them’, or even saying they can’t have dessert until they’ve finished their greens, only risks making them even more stubborn. It turns veg into a ‘chore’ - and we all know how kids hate chores. The hack here is reverse psychology. Tell your child that vegetables are a ‘grown-up’ food, make a show of really enjoying your own, and even steal theirs from their plate if it looks like they won’t finish it. Turn vegetables into something to be coveted, and wait to see the results... 

Trips to the Dentist

Why is it that trips to the dentist are so dreaded? You all know the stories; parents having to lie to get their children into the car, the complaints going on for days, the bribes getting steadily larger and larger… but where does this come from? The sad truth is that it’s learned behavior - most kids who hate the dentist have actually picked it up from reading subtle signs from their parents that this is an event to be feared. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle that only you can stop! The simple hack is this: don’t make a big deal of it. The dentist isn’t a big deal, and your child isn’t automatically frightened of it. Treating it like one makes it so. If you can find a way to make it feel like any other activity - like going to school or the store, you’ll find the dentist-related tantrums fall to an absolute minimum. 

Device Time

With the modern world come new and evolving challenges in parenthood. The most prevalent of these is… yep, you guessed it, phones! Or iPads, or tablets, or any other device your child uses to occupy themselves. Many parents are eager to limit the amount of time their child spends on these devices, fearing it will limit their attention spans and limit their learning. Firstly, it’s important that you don’t worry too much about this - devices are part of life now, and many people’s fears about them are just like your own parents were about you watching television, or listening to the radio… and centuries ago, people even worried that reading fiction would soften the mind! It’s all about what content they’re watching or playing, and you can have more control over this than you think. Many apps exist that allow you to limit what your child can see, and even put an automatic shutdown timer onto devices. This is a great hack, as it lets you control your child’s device time automatically, without you having to intervene and physically wrest it away from them! No more arguments, no more peering over their shoulder - let the device do your job for you. 

School Mornings

Finally, we come to school mornings - or indeed, any mornings. Getting children up in the morning for school can feel like a thankless and impossible task. And with good reason! Research has found that children’s body clocks work very differently from our own - they need more sleep, and this sleep tends to run later into the morning. Our early school start times are biologically difficult for children to manage. It’s not their fault, and it’s certainly not yours. Having said that, you do still need to get them to school on time. The hack here is that shouting and pulling back the covers won’t work as well as a gentler approach. Give your children the motivation to get out of bed themselves, without you having to force them. Is there a healthy breakfast that they particularly love, that will make them want to get up in the mornings and eat it? Can you promise that if they get up in time, they can watch half an hour of their favorite show while they eat? Finding ways to make mornings work for them is the most important thing, and it’s a hack that they can use themselves as they become fully independent humans. 

1 comment

  1. Love the Device time hack, great idea! wish I had this years ago

    ReplyDelete

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