Becoming a parent can be super daunting. Kids aren’t just small adults— they’re constantly growing into whole, complete people. They think differently than we do. If we want to get kids to behave properly, we have to think like a kid.
These Reddit users are sharing their best parenting tips and tricks. These tried and true hacks will help you take on life’s greatest and most difficult assignment—being a fantastic mom or dad. Keep reading to learn how you can teach your kids important life skills, and have fun at the same time.
Grocery Shop In Peace
Photo Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
“When grocery shopping with kids, allow them to get one small item (with a price limit). Once they have selected their one item, every time they ask for anything else you can respond, ‘OK, but you’ll have to put back (first item). Is that what you really want?’
This way they get some control, which is what they really want, and you don’t have to spend the entire shopping trip arguing and saying no. This is part of a general child raising philosophy of allowing kids to make choices, but controlling what those choices are.” —u/FilchsCat
One Cuts, The Other Picks
Photo Credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
“If you want to divide something among two people (usually kids), you get one person to divide, and the other person gets first pick on which piece they want. Everyone wins, and it ensures the person who divides is fair.” —u/Nazzapple201
Just let the kids know that this is what you’re doing beforehand so that whoever is cutting knows to make the pieces even.
“Ice Cream” Questions Are Brilliant
Photo Credit: Education Images/Citizens of the Planet/UIG via Getty Images
“Whenever I asked a question that was hard to answer or if I demanded an answer to an awkward question in public [my dad would] say, “That’s an ice cream question.” The rule with ice cream questions was that 1) it meant I asked a really good question, 2) I couldn’t ask the question again or I wouldn’t get ice cream, and 3) he would explain it that day over ice cream.
This worked amazingly because he shut down awkward questions immediately and explained them on his terms, but bad because I had so much ice cream.” —u/octnoir
Show Them The Movie Magic
Photo Credit: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
“If your kids get scared watching a movie, show them the film’s behind the scenes or “making of” clips online.
Sometimes saying “it’s just a movie” doesn’t help. I find showing the making-of clips with the actors getting in makeup or special effects production helps them understand.” —u/CouchLint
Photo Credit: Kirk and Robin Hisko / Barcroft / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
“To avoid getting caught in the ‘Why?’ trap, try this little trick. When a child asks ‘Why?’ about something they most likely already know the answer to, they are seeking attention or validation (or they are bored, and you are entertaining them). So when they ask ‘Why?’ I always respond with this question: ‘Can you tell me 2 reasons you think could be the answer?’
As long as you don’t do it in a condescending or challenging manner, it works great because they usually give the correct answer first and sometimes a very creative answer that reflects a very unique perspective. This technique is a great way to turn their brains back on and recognize them for being smart or intuitive.” —u/Big_Daddy_PDX
Always Give Them Two Choices
Photo Credit: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
“Parents (or anyone who watches a toddler) understand that when you ask a toddler to do the simplest task, it can become a major ordeal. So instead of telling them what to do, give them two options instead.
Children love knowing they have some control over what they are doing. It gives them a chance to use their thinking and reasoning skills in a positive way. So instead of saying, ‘Please put on your pajamas and get ready for bed.’ You could try, ‘Which pajamas would you like to wear to bed tonight, your nightgown or your Dora jammies?'” —u/VersatilityMaster
Reduce Their Sugar Intake
Photo Credit: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
“Water down juice for your kids. They’ll consume less sugar and more water, and they won’t know the difference until they catch you doing it.” —u/jonnysomething
My mom used to do this for us all the time. I just figured I didn’t like juice that much until I tried real juice at a friend’s birthday party.
Make Them Sing For Their Virtual Supper
Photo Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images
“One thing I talk with [parents] about is the idea of having kids write “book reports” on games they want- why they want it, what would be fun about it, and what kinds of reviews it’s received. It gives your kiddos some practice writing, some practice coming up with convincing arguments, and makes sure they’re really vested in the game.
Of course, the most important part of this tip is the “that you wouldn’t mind buying for them” part. It’s up to each family to determine what games are and are not appropriate for kids to be playing and to moderate gameplay appropriately.” —u/Moewron
Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
“To avoid the fake, cheesy smile on young kids when you try to take their picture, ask them to tell you a joke while you take it, but tell them that they should absolutely not laugh while telling it. Beautiful pictures every time of glee.” —u/alwaysanemergency
Kid jokes are the greatest jokes.
Pizza Cutter Pancakes
Photo Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
“Use a pizza slicer to cut up your kids’ pancakes for them, it saves time, makes for a smaller mess and they love watching.” —u/johnnycoin
Obviously, use the slicer pre-syrup. Trying to clean syrup of a pizza cutter is the worst. Also, you could try just making small pancakes that kids can eat with their hands.
For When They Feel Sick In The Dark
Photo Credit: @ise0kmin_ / Twitter
“If your kids are sick and throwing up, and it is bedtime, give them a barf bucket and put a glow stick in it. That way it will be easier for them to find in the middle of the night.” —u/CantHelpHelping
This is a brilliant idea. Now you just have to make sure that you always have glow sticks lying around.
How To Get Your Kids To Eat Apple Skins
Photo Credit: manosrellim / Reddit
“If your kid won’t eat apple peels, they might like ‘racing stripes.’ Leave a thin stripe of peel on each slice. If this works for your kid (presentation is key), gradually increase the width of the stripe. This pic is only about 10 days into it.” —u/manosrellim
This is pretty funny, but I guess kids are pretty funny too sometimes.
Cool Down Those Seatbelts
Photo Credit: Imgur
This hack can work for kids and adults alike. I hate touching a seatbelt that’s been sitting in a hot car all day. If I had known this hack earlier, I would have saved myself years of nearly burnt fingers.
At least now my kids won’t have to suffer the same fate. Although, maybe in the future we’ll have self-cooling seatbelts or something.
How To Play Chess With Children
Photo Credit: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
“Playing chess against a little kid but don’t want to go easy? Give them the option to switch sides with you during the game. It makes it more fun for both sides.” —u/bennyboy82
My dad never let me win at chess. It was still fun to play with him, but I would have liked to have this option.
Start Making A Memory Box
Photo Credit: @shmoopiepie / Twitter
“Start a memory box now if you haven’t already. Your future self and kids will thank you for it.” —u/gohstyj
If you’re pregnant, or you’re planning on having a kid in the future, start saving important things the day your kid is born. Hospital bracelets, first outfits, footprints, and photographs all make excellent memory box fillers.
Turn Down That Racket
Photo Credit: @BabyExpo / Twitter
“Use Elmer’s School Glue to reduce the volume on that annoying kids’ toy. If you have an excessively loud toy with no volume control, rub a thin smear of Elmer’s glue over the speaker holes. Nothing I have done this to has ever been damaged, but use at your own risk. (Also don’t if your kid might eat it.)” —u/MoopyLoots
Tape also works.
Turn On Those Subtitles
Photo Credit: @letssnortcourt / Twitter
“I turned the subtitles on when my oldest son started watching Sprout, Nick Jr. and Noggin and he is excellent with his verbal and spelling skills. I have also done this with my youngest and he is on the same path.
Many kids’ shows repeat the same words and those words will also be seen by the child equally as much. My sons do not have to sound words out to spell them. They can just recall what it looked like.” —u/Ragezhard
Life’s Better In Black And White
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
“Watch silent movie comedies with younger kids – Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, etc. The lack of dialogue and emphasis on physical storytelling will be extremely fun and engaging for the kids and will keep grownups laughing too.” —u/wowbobwow
All of these old comedies are available for free online. I think kids who’ve seen Charlie Chaplin movies grow up to be super smart and cultured adults.
Are We There Yet?
Photo Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
“Kids asking ‘How far?’ on a long road trip? Teach them how mile markers work.
I tried this with my 7-year-old daughter today and it worked like a charm. She spent the rest of the trip to Grandma’s House counting down to landmarks (miles to Grandma’s state’s line, miles to Grandma’s city, miles to the exit, etc)….instead of asking me, ‘How long until we get there?’ every fifteen seconds. —u/Lover_Of_The_Light
Eat Clean, Cook Often
Photo Credit: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images
“Buy raw ingredients instead of processed foods when you have kids to passively teach them cooking.” —u/lumonix
I love this tip, but you don’t have to just passively teach them cooking— kids love getting involved in the kitchen. Give them small, age-appropriate tasks to do. Have them peel mushrooms or wash potatoes.