7 Weird but Genius Parenting Hacks You’ll Use Immediately
Part of being a mama is learning on the job. And often, our best support system is fellow parents who are in our postpartum support tribe. Whether you need tips for traveling with a baby for the first time or ways to keep your whole fam healthy during cold season, asking moms and dads who have been there can be so helpful (and time-saving!).
As the executive producer and creator of the popular parenting podcast, The Longest Shortest Time, Hillary Frank asked her audience in a blog post if they had any weird parenting wins born out of pure desperation. Frank loved what she learned, like a dad who pig-snorted in his baby’s ear to calm her down, and compiled some hilarious and heartfelt hacks into a book called Weird Parenting Wins. Frank’s own personal win? “I tell my daughter if she’s gonna whine, she has to sing the blues.” Here, Frank picks some of her favorite tips from her book.
1. Use food coloring for potty training. Transitioning from diapers to the potty can be a bit overwhelming and messy. Frank loves this idea from a mom who found that her son would rather pee in his diaper than the potty. The mom told him he might like to make “goblin pee.” She added one drop of blue food coloring, telling him if he peed on it, it would turn green and become “goblin pee.” Boom! Potty trained.
2. Cultivate adventurous eaters with some clever ideas. Most parents deal with picky eaters despite their best efforts. Here are some suggestions from the Weird Parenting Wins stories: Cut strips of frozen chopped spinach as a tasty frozen treat for teething kiddos. Hold a “crunch contest” with raw carrots and award points for each crunch. One dad uses a tiny medicine cup for dispensing milk to his daughter, calling it “tiny milk.” Transform yourself into the Costco Sample Lady by laying out samples of food on plates with toothpicks and small containers for messier foods, if your kiddo is always curious to try anything at Costco.
3. Bring non-inflated balloons with you. If you’re stuck at an airport with a baby or toddler, stuff a few non-inflated balloons in your carry-on. When your wiggly little needs some play time, inflate the balloon and let him or her bat it around and play with it. This tip comes from a mom in Wisconsin.
4. Try your kitchen appliances for a fussy baby. After a dad in New Jersey heard from a friend that the whir of a dishwasher soothed his baby, he decided to test run each kitchen appliance with his daughter until he landed on the white noise of the fan above the oven that helped lull his baby to sleep.
5. Minimize toy mess with a magic jar. With all the little random goody bag items from kids’ birthday parties, one mom in Los Angeles decided to collect all of them into a big glass jar. If a playdate friend comes over, they get to choose one item from the jar. If your toddler does something great, let him or her pick a toy. Or use the goodies in your child’s birthday piñata.
6. Give yourself a time-out. One mom in Michigan decided to tell her kids, “I am so frustrated. I’d better go to timeout before I get so angry I say something I shouldn’t. I may not talk to anyone until I calm down and I cannot come out until I am ready.” She says her two kiddos were speechless. When she came out 10 minutes later, she felt better and so did her kids.
7. Shower your kid with a round of applause. Two dads in Portland, Oregon, found that their older son would act out when they brought home a new baby. They realized that he wanted their full attention, so they give 15 seconds of full attention and praise, ending with a huge round of applause.
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Your relationship with your finances is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have, and you can't avoid it. That said, for many of us, the pandemic only added to our financial stress. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, just remember that financial insecurity isn't a net-worth issue — it's a mindset issue. And, we happen to have plenty of advice on how to turn your money mindset around so you can take charge of your funds once and for all.
To start, feeling secure begins with a strong foundation, and there's no better time than now to get started stacking the bricks. It's easy to get swept up in the January "new year, new me" mentality, but really? Any time is the right time to get yourself in order. You don't need to wait for a new year, a new moon, the right moment, or a sign from above. You don't even have to start on the first day of the month — you just need to start.
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To help with that, we've put together a list of the just-right-for-you ways that NerdWallet can help you monitor your financial outlook. Haven't heard of them yet? NerdWallet is a personal finance company that helps consumers make smarter financial decisions. Their website and app let you compare different financial products, find articles and tools to make financial decisions with confidence, and keep tabs on your finances (hey there, credit score, I see you!) all in one place. Plus, NerdWallet has over 75,000 glowing reviews in the App Store (and a 4.8 star rating) if you want to read up on any more testimonials.
Tim Chen, NerdWallet's CEO and co-founder, started this financial journey in 2009 after his sister needed help finding a credit card. Even with an economics degree and a Wall Street background, it took awhile for Tim to find the right recommendation (so don't feel too bad when it takes you a while, too). Their mission is to bring clarity to all of life's financial decisions.
So it's safe to say that NerdWallet is a pretty good sherpa for your journey, too.
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Do you have the best credit card for your lifestyle? Some cards give cash back on every purchase, ones with travel perks, and ones that charge way less interest than you're paying now. NerdWallet takes the guesswork out of choosing the right credit card with simple side-by-side comparisons of different credit cards so that you feel confident choosing the right one. Whatever you want to do, NerdWallet can help you find the best credit card to get it done.
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Mortgage rates are pretty low and it looks like they're going to stay that way for awhile, so buying a home might be the move sooner than you think. But there's so much more to a mortgage than just the interest rate! To help you choose a mortgage lender, NerdWallet has in-depth reviews on multiple lenders in a mixture of categories so you get the home loan with the mortgage rate, term, and fees that's right for you.
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