The parenting tricks that are *really* worth knowing

Mumsnetters have learnt these parenting tricks the hard way, after years of trial and error (trial being the operative word). The good news is that now YOU get to benefit from their travails. Enjoy! 

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How to minimise craft stress, mess and strife

Peeling sticker sheer
"Peel the negative space off a sticker sheet, and then your small child can peel off the stickers independently. Without ripping them. Yes, even cheap stickers. WHY didn't anyone tell me this one?!"

Child colouring in cardboard box
"Use old cardboard boxes for colouring games. My two-year-old is only allowed to use felt tips when colouring inside an old box. She loves it, and I don't need to worry about mess." 

Egg paint palette
"When painting, use an empty egg box for a palette - use the shaped bits for different colours and flat bits to put paint brush down. Then recycle it when you're done!"

How to make kids eat their greens

Glittery veg
"Sprinkle edible glitter on top of broccoli."

How to get a baby to sleep

Sleeping baby
"Put the shirt you've been wearing all day in the cot with your baby - if they stir in the night, they think you're next to them. Works a treat." 

Baby sleeping in cot
"Warm the cot mattress with a hot water bottle. Remove it just before laying baby in the cot. This way the cold doesn't shock them awake."

How to stop toddlers falling out of bed

Toddler in bed
"One I learned on here is to put a toddler's duvet sideways and tuck the ends in at each side, to stop them falling out! Still using it for my two-year-old daughter."

How to cut down on squabbling in the car

Dancing child
"Give your kids music and headphones for long journeys. Shuts them right up. My eldest is 10 and I've only recently learned this."

Children in car
"When you pull up to traffic lights, make everyone place bets on how many seconds it will be before they turn amber. Then everyone has to count until they do, and the closest wins. It keeps the peace in the car, and helps the smallest learn their numbers." 

How to make nappy changes a bit less... shitty

Nappy change
"My sister-in-law taught me to rebutton vests over one shoulder when changing nappies. It keeps clothes and dangly bits from outfits out the way of any sudden wees."

Water sprinkler
"Lay a towel on a plastic change mat to stop any errant wees from running all over their clothes. I'd rather wash a towel than a whole outfit."

How to reduce potty training accidents 

Bed sheets
"Double-layer bed sheets in case of an accident: a normal cotton sheet with a waterproof terrycloth sheet on top. Just whip the top sheet off and return child to bed. Saves trying to fit a new sheet in the middle of the night."

Child on potty
"When potty training, ask them to slowly count to 10 when they’ve finished peeing. Helps to make sure it all goes in the potty, and not on the floor."

How to teach kids to put their own coat on

Child in coat
"Lie the coat on the floor with the inside of the coat facing up. Child stands at the hood end, crouches down and pushes their arms into the sleeves as far as they can, then stands up and whips the coat over their head. Job done!"

How to avoid juice carton tsunamis

Juice box
"Lift the flaps on the sides of juice cartons so the kids can use them as handles and not squeeze juice all over themselves. Took me until my third child to work that one out."

How to get drugs into a stubborn child

Child drinking milk
"I recently advised my friend to give her Calpol-refusing, cold-ridden 18-month-old Calpol in her milk. It was her road-to-Damascus moment."

How to treat the sniffles when they’re tiny

"If your little one has a cold and is struggling to breath when breastfeeding, rub a small bit of vapour rub on the top of your boobs while feeding."

Sneezing baby
"A dab of Vaseline on the bridge of a baby's nose will unblock it, if it's stuffy."

How to deal with vom like a champ

Exorcist vomit
"My son has awful colic and reflux, so I used a diaper with the leg around his neck. The curve of the diaper caught nearly all of the liquid and it was absorbed easily. It was a huge time saver, especially at night as normally both the feeder and my son would need to change clothes."

How to make your kids go where you jeffing well want them to

Light switch
"I learnt my favourite tip from Mumsnet. To get your children from one room into another, just switch the lights off and switch them on in the room you want them to go in. I think the phrase 'like herding moths' was employed."

Pulling out a plug
"My variation on that is used when I want to summon my teenagers downstairs - I switch the router off and wait. It doesn't take long."

How to motivate kids without them even knowing it

Sooty the puppet
"If your young child won't tidy up when asked, sit down comfortably and get a puppet to give the instructions instead. Works a treat."

Child running
"When trying to chivvy a slow/grumpy/uncooperative child to hurry UP on the way back to the car, simply utter the six magic words, 'Bet you can't beat me to…'"

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Last updated: 5 months ago