Inside: First time parent? Here’s all of my best parenting tips; AKA everything I’ve learned as a mother of three.
I clenched my hands in frustration, just trying to keep it together. My 18-month-old was brimming with tears and refusing to follow my instructions.
Potty training was NOT going how I’d planned. Every time I tried to put Hudson on the potty, he just cried and cried.
I had read so many mommy blogs with their amazing success stories and none of those methods were working.
“What am I doing wrong??”
I couldn’t help but compare myself to those other moms. I felt like a complete failure.
Eventually, my son did master potty training, but it didn’t look anything like the blog posts I’d read for help.
It turns out, 18 months just wasn’t the right time for us.
Things finally started to click only after I let go of my preconceived expectations. And, through those failed attempts, I figured out something that has changed the way I parent forever.
Nothing is ever going to be perfect and no two moms are ever going to have the exact same experience, but we can take the best advice available and use it to help pave our own way with each of our unique children.
When you’re a first-time parent (or even a third-time mom like me), figuring things out can seem overwhelming.
“How do I get my kids to sleep on a schedule?”
“Is my child behind on potty training?”
“Why do I feel so judged by other moms?”
This compilation of all of my best parenting posts will answer all of those questions and serves as an easy, judgment-free resource to help you navigate your own unique motherhood journey without all the pressure.
NEWBORN PARENTING TIPS
Newborn Sleep Tips for the First Time Parent
One of the biggest struggles for a new mom is trying to figure out newborn sleep!
Establishing a good sleep routine for your new baby is super important, not only for your baby, but also for you! Make setting a sleep schedule a priority as soon as possible!
To start, check out the best newborn sleep tips for new moms to help you get your baby to sleep on a schedule and sleep through the night, fast!
Why do newborns not sleep at night?
Here are some of the reasons your baby might not be falling asleep or staying asleep at night:
Baby could be hungry.
Baby’s tummy is troubling him.
Mom’s diet is affecting the nursing baby.
The previous waketime was too short.
Baby’s room is not dark enough.
Baby is over-stimulated in the crib because of wind-up toys.
Make sure to read the full post for the sleep training method I use that combats these common sleep problems!
Clever Newborn Baby Hacks
Once you’re healed and feeling more human again, you can focus on enjoying the newborn stage.
This is one of the most precious times since baby is so small and snuggly, but it’s also one of the most difficult if you’ve never had a baby before.
To help you out, try these clever newborn baby hacks!
- Taking advantage of blackout curtains
- Keeping binkies clean in your purse with portion cups
- Keeping diapers and wipes in every room you frequent
- Tying up poopy diapers in a scented bag before putting them in your diaper pail
- Bouncing on a yoga ball to help calm baby
- Putting water in a binky and freeze it for instant teething relief
After giving birth, your focus is going to be on the baby, but you should also make taking care of yourself a priority! I give lots of advice on self-care for a first time mom in this post as well.
How do You Survive the First Week with a Newborn?
The first week with a newborn is tough. Even as a third-time mom, I still had to remember how to take care of a little one. No one is perfect! Just take it one day at a time.
One of the most important newborn tips I can give is to savor the moments! As much as caring for a newborn can be really challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding. Babies grow up fast, so appreciate every stage.
PARENTING TIPS FOR TODDLERS AND KIDS
Life Hacks for New Parents
Even though I’ve been a mom for almost 6 years, I still love hearing tips and tricks from other moms. We have to stick together! Be open to advice from other moms who’ve been there.
Here’s a good one from yours truly: Not all mom hacks are created equal.
I’ve seen some terrible hacks as well as some amazing ones, so I compiled only the best mom life hacks in one single post.
Here are some:
- You can cut those tight elastics out of your little girl’s hair with a seam ripper. (*Make sure the seam ripper is only cutting the elastic and doesn’t catch any hair.)
- Use a cupcake liner to contain popsicle spills.
- Use frozen marshmallows instead of ice for a cold pack for those bumps and bruises. (The marshmallows aren’t as intense of a cold as the ice.)
- If you’re nursing a baby or have to get something done and you can’t physically read, look up the books on YouTube or Storyline Online. Sit the child next to you and have someone else read to them. They are close and still hearing the words from the book.
How Can I Make Parenthood Easier?
There’s no question that parenting is hard work. Why else would there be so many mom hack posts?!
But, the biggest thing to remember throughout every phase is that everything IS just a phase. If you’re going through a difficult time now, it will get better. Parenting has a steep learning curve and every kid is different.
Finding and sharing those little creative, and sometimes funny, mom hacks will help us all get through it together!
How to Stop Finger Sucking
I used to think finger sucking was just a cute thing my kids did that helped them self-soothe. Heck, I sucked my thumb until I was 6 and I turned out just fine!
When our dentist told me my daughter may need oral surgery to correct the damage her finger sucking was causing I knew I had to figure out a solution.
What are the side effects of thumbsucking?
Here are some of the effects of finger sucking. This is not meant to scare, just inform:
-Expensive facial surgery!
Needless to say, I felt a lot of pressure to help my Little Miss break her habit quickly.
I tried LOTS of different methods, but I finally found the one product to stop finger sucking that actually worked!
My Best Potty Training Advice
I’ve already touched a little on my potty training experience with my first child and what a disaster it was.
Lots of moms put so much pressure on their kiddos to potty training and feel the need to rush a particular timeline. That’s exactly what happened to me when I saw my mom friends potty training their 2-year-olds.
Do yourself a favor and just take a deep breath! It will all be okay. It will all happen, eventually.
What age should a child be potty trained by?
Each child is so different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to knowing when to potty train. Some of the signs Hudson showed were:
- He told us when he needed to go (probably the biggest indicator they’re ready!)
- He was dry after naps
- He rarely had accidents in his pull-up
- He wasn’t afraid of the potty anymore
- He was taking his diaper off himself to go to the bathroom
Pay attention to your child’s cues and let them lead the way.
What To Do When You’re Caught in the Consequence Trap
I‘ve found myself in the “consequence trap” more times than I can count.
You know the one.
It’s that situation when you’ve tried rewards, negative consequences, even taking away everything a child has and nothing seems to work.
So you try and find bigger and better consequences for talking back or lying or arguing, believing that the right consequence will finally be the solution to all of your problems.
The Importance of Relationship
The truth of the matter is, when relationships are damaged, even the very best techniques fail.
Nothing will change until your relationship does, regardless of what consequence you throw at a child.
And this is true not only for children who talk back, but also for those who argue, lie, beg, or are downright disrespectful.
It’s not the type of consequence that makes a difference, but the loving relationship that gives the consequence its power.
So how do you rebuild a relationship with your child?
Try the 4-step approach listed below:
- Make every “hello” and “goodbye” special
- Notice something about them once a day
- Love them even when they’re not so loveable
- Neutralize arguing
Teaching Kids Responsibility
As much as we may want our kids to be perfect, the truth is they will make mistakes.
And as much as we may want to correct those mistakes before they turn into big problems, kids who are allowed to learn from small mistakes early on are less likely to make tragic mistakes later on.
The affordable and unaffordable mistakes you’re willing to let your children make will be different for everyone, but the point is that children who are allowed to learn from their mistakes when they’re young will surely save themselves from tragic mistakes in the future.
So how do we help our kids learn from their mistakes and what are the tricks to teaching kids responsibility?
The Power of Empathy
The most effective parents understand the importance of displaying love and understanding before holding their children accountable for their actions.
So how do we do that?
With an emphatic statement that conveys our love to our children before we deliver the consequence.
To be effective, it must be said before laying out the consequence.
Here are some examples for you to start implementing:
- This is so sad…
- Oh man.
- This stinks.
- Oh, that’s never good.
The key to helping our kids learn from their mistakes is empathy, as well as logical consequences.
Here are a few examples of logical consequences to get you thinking:
- A child doesn’t pick up their toys, so they lose their toys until they earn them back.
- A teen doesn’t get up in time to take the bus, so they have to walk to school or reimburse their mom for gas.
- A child doesn’t want to eat dinner, so they don’t get anything else to eat until breakfast the next morning.
But what should you do when you can’t think of a logical consequence because you’re too angry to think straight or you can’t come up with something on the spot?
You delay the consequence.
My Controversial Experience With Unwanted Parenting Advice
Have you ever experienced unwanted parenting advice? It’s never a pleasant experience!
Whether it’s from well-meaning family or complete strangers, it’s usually a punch to the gut. No one wants to feel judged or that they don’t know what’s best for their own children.
I hope you never have to go through it, but chances are you will. When it happens, be kind but firm; you know what’s best for your kids.
I’ve shared my experience with unwanted parenting advice in hopes that you can gain some confidence and pointers from my encounter with a random stranger.
Here’s a peek:
There are some situations when I think it’s 100% OK to tell my child what to do:
- If they’re in danger. Yes, if I’m not around, please tell my child not to jump off of the playground onto the cement.
- If they’re breaking something or being disruptive in the store.
- If you’re their teacher or I’ve left them in your care. I think that goes without saying that you can tell them what to do.
If you want to set boundaries with family and friends, this is a great guideline to have them follow.
PARENTING TIPS FOR TEENAGERS
My Best Advice for Teenagers
I haven’t parented a teenager yet, but I sure remember what it was like to be one.
A few years ago, I joked with friends about all the things we would have changed during our teenage years.
That experience prompted me to write down my best advice for teenagers to share with my kids when they get to that age.
In retrospect, there are SO many things I would have done differently! Hopefully, that knowledge will encourage my teens to always be thoughtful about their decisions.
Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice:
- Don’t date exclusively in high school! I am going to enforce this rule 100% with my kids. It’s just not worth the heartbreak and the trouble you can get yourself into being that young.
- Don’t hide stuff from your parents. Moms aren’t dumb. They’ve been there before. Instead, I wish I would have just talked to my mom about WHY she didn’t want me to wear eye makeup in 8th grade. Parents always have a reason and it’s usually because they know more than you do 😉.
- Love yourself. This is one of the most crucial pieces of advice for teenagers: I wish I would have loved myself more. I wish I would have had more confidence in my body. We all come in different shapes and sizes. Love yourself for who you are and treat your body well so it will treat you well in return.
What is the best thing about being a teenager?
The best thing about being a teenager is having a whole world of opportunity ahead of you! It’s a fun, crazy time and one that helps set you up for the rest of your life.
Make sure you choose those things that keep your future open and pointed towards your best goals and dreams.
What is effective parenting?
While effective parenting looks different for everyone, I think we can all agree that the most successful parents are those who raise responsible children that they have a good relationship with.
My hope is that these parenting tips give you encouragement and serve as a resource to help you learn what works for you and your family.
And, to help you make the transition to parenthood as seamless as possible, I’ve created a library of printables including baby sleep schedules for the first year.
As a bonus for joining my weekly-ish newsletter, you’ll get access to all of those printables (plus a few more!) Click here to download and subscribe or you can use the nifty box below.