toddler parenting tips

Before having kids, everyone thinks that they know exactly how they'll parent. They read books and make charts and lists and all sorts of plans. Then, the kid finally comes along and all of that goes right out the window.

I'll never forget the time I was in the grocery store and Some Boy started fussing. To cheer him up and distract him, I started bopping his little nose and playfully cooing, “Quit your bitchin! Youuuuu quit your bitchin right now. No more bitchin from the babaaay.” He, of course, thought this was hysterical but I quickly felt eyes boring their way into my skull. A fellow shopper was standing next to me with the most horrified look I've ever seen. I met her stare, shrugged, and went back to my tickling. I suppose I should be more careful what words I use around my child (particularly the ones I specifically direct at him), lest his first word start with an “SH-” or an “F-.”

Here are some of my slightly unconventional parenting tips for toddlers. As with any parenting advice, you can take it with a grain of salt. Or ignore it entirely. Whatever.

Parenting Tips for Toddlers

Problem: Teething
Solution: Frozen celery. I kid you not. Some Boy will gnaw on this stuff for hours. And there's no risk of him inadvertently chomping a chunk off and choking because it's such a sturdy vegetable.

Problem: Whining
Solution: Mimicry. I make a point not to cave immediately and give Some Boy what he wants, because I don't want him to think that he calls the shots around here. A good response to snap him out of his little fits is to just start mimicking him. I kid you not. If he pounds his fists, I pound mine. If he squawks, well, so do I. I don't know if it startles him or just makes him realize that he looks silly or what, but it works every time.

Problem: General mischievousness.
Solution: Spy on them. I've written a few times about how we use fancy monitors to keep an eye on various rooms throughout our house. A high-end security camera or video baby monitor cuts down on a lot of misbehavior. Being able to see them remotely gives you a big leg up in parenting, and they behave a little better when they realize that you're onto their every move.

Problem: Refusing to eat.
Solution: Put it on your own plate. To toddlers, anything from mom or dad's dish MUST be better than what they're being served. The minute I grab Some Boy's food and try to eat it myself, he can't get enough of it.

What weird tips have come in handy with your kids?